MediaApril 1, 2019

The worst April Fools ‘jokes’ of 2019


Is it time April Fools was abandoned as a public holiday? The efforts so far for 2019 have been dismal. Alex Braae casts his eyes over the worst efforts.

In this morning’s edition of The Bulletin, I put out a call for good April Fools jokes. “If you see any that are actually funny, please feel free to send them through,” I said. Normally calls for feedback come back with dozens of emails. I am yet to receive a single one today.

Almost every effort has seemingly missed the mark – an April Fools gag has to be all of plausible, outlandish, and funny all at the same time. They should be the ultimate pieces of clickbait – people should be compelled to see if they’re really true. But this year, it feels much more like brands and publications are just doing low-effort shit-posting instead. They’ve mostly just come across as a bit tragic.

So who has elicited the loudest groans of despair? Here are some leading contenders.

NZ Rugby signing Jason Momoa and The Rock

If anything, the photoshopping on this makes it less plausible, not more. It’s hardly the work of a deep-fake artist.

It’s understandable why NZ Rugby would want Dwayne The Rock Johnson. He’s a former American footballer, and was an elite athlete during his WWE days. As well as that, with Sonny Bill Williams likely to retire in the next couple of years, the All Blacks will need a new player to fill the role of ‘massive dude who is also a good human’. So that makes sense.

But would Jason Momoa really be on their target list? After utterly misinterpreting the meaning and kaupapa of the haka, is Jason Momoa really the role-model that NZ Rugby wants All Blacks to be?

Dominos release spaghetti pizza

A mere 18 months ago, everyone felt the need to have an opinion on spaghetti pizza, thanks to then-PM Bill English making it a core feature of his re-election campaign. But where is Bill English now? Not walk-running the country, that’s where.

This one almost feels like it could be a real thing Dominos are trying to get going – this is after all a company that sells pizza with potato wedges on top, and a spaghetti pizza would be exceptionally cheap to produce in bulk. My theory is that this isn’t an April Fools gag at all. It’s just something they would be doing anyway, but if everyone hates it they can roll it back in a matter of hours.

Kiwi Onion Dip ice-cream

Actually, it’s not Kiwi Onion Dip at all – they presumably couldn’t get the rights to the name, so went for the much less impactful ‘NZ Onion Dip.’ Have you ever eaten NZ Onion Dip? I haven’t, and I’m willing to bet it’s disgusting, unlike the classic Kiwi Onion Dip.

Pineapple lumps on pizza

My theory about the spaghetti pizza absolutely does not apply here, literally nobody wants or needs this to be in the world.

Sal’s Pizza do something something pineapple post

It’s 9.30am on a Monday, and you’ve only just realised everyone is doing April Fools jokes, and you just have to put literally any piece of content into the world, and so you come up with…. this.

Bedazzle your Vayjay(zzle) with Libra

Perhaps this one is acceptable as a searing indictment on consumer culture that simultaneously encourages women to hide or be ashamed of their periods, while also ruthlessly selling them solutions at ever increasing prices. But I don’t think it is.

Pic’s Peanut Butter do Easter Eggs

This one just feels like too much of a wink and nudge – like they’re daring you to check the date when you see it. I’ll admit, if they were using small eggs, I would have absolutely been sucked in, though more than anything out of a sense of actually wanting to eat that.

The ODT pretends an iconic fountain is coming back

This one was actually quite good, but was perhaps taken slightly too seriously. They managed to slip some up to date references in there (e-scooters!) while also maintaining an overly buttoned down tone throughout. It is quite possible that someone at Morning Report was fooled by it, because Guyon Espiner revealed on air that the Dutch consultancy firm mentioned in the story didn’t exist, which someone would have had to look up.

Max Key leaves the country

Wait, this one is actually real?

Keep going!