“Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to somebody else.” -Will Rogers

Are you a practical joker? Are Sharpie markers, shaving cream, hot sauce, and toilet paper a regular on your grocery list? Do you get a charge from all the attention you get while pulling off a bit of mischief? Does it make you feel big to be in control of the prank and one-up on everyone? Then, hello, Prankster!

The Prankster lives to mastermind scenarios in which all will be laughing, except perhaps the one with a proverbial pie in the face. This type is often also the alpha male, asserting his status and demonstrating control over his environment, but alpha females have been known to be Pranksters, too.

Whether it’s clipping clothespins to the butt of people’s pants, fixing the water nozzle on the kitchen sink so the next person to turn it on gets sprayed in the face, or going Post-It crazy on someone’s car, the Prankster just loves getting multiple people involved as either victims or audience to the prank.

Prankster Superpowers

  • Dreaming up new pranks
  • Enrolling people in a plan
  • Gathering an group of snickering spectators
  • Commanding the environment
  • Annoying, inconveniencing, and possibly harming victims of the prank

A Happy Prankster
When the prank goes right, the Prankster is momentary elated. But what kind of a person is happiest when someone else is being made a fool of? Perhaps a deeply insecure person. The Prankster likes to think it’s all in good fun and that these pranks come from a loving place. But it could also be argued that the need to intimidate and be seen as a clever master-mind of other people’s folly is something that truly powerful and secure people don’t share.

Famous Pranksters
The Joker, Alan Funt of Candid Camera, Ashton Kutcher of Punk’d, Noel Godin (who put a pie in the face of Bill Gates), Aziz Ansari (who sent a lookalike to his interview with Anderson Cooper), Banksy, the mysterious graffiti artist

Prankster Entourage
Pranksters will prank anyone, but they especially love to pull one over on the Believer, Victim, Goof, Nerd, Geek and Know-It-All.

Prankster in Love
Some Pranksters use pranks as a gestures of endearment to their loved ones. They consider all the time effort and attention that goes into the prank to be kind of gift to their sweetie who hopefully has a sense of humor and a taste for revenge.

Prankster Challenge
Pranksters are challenged by the boundaries of good taste. Determining how far to take it is crucial to a good prank. Not far enough and it’s not funny. Too far and people could get humiliated, fired, hurt, or even killed. Accurately reading the personality of a potential victim and the culture of a group is a must as the Prankster navigates the line between humor and cruelty.

How to Play It
If you know a Prankster, stay on your toes and be sure to keep this person in line by letting him or her know when their mischief is not funny but mean.

If you’re the Prankster, consider whether practical jokes are really the best way to share humor and fun with your loved ones. Maybe they are. Or maybe you’re trying to assert yourself as a leader in some backward way that never quite works to give you the power you desire. Would your time and energy be better spent building relationships in another way?

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