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The Jokester and the Jerk

On April Fools Day, There IS A Difference...

By Natasja RosePublished about a year ago β€’ 3 min read
Top Story - April 2023
The Jokester and the Jerk
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

While the origins of April Fool's Day are disputed, ranging from Geoffrey Chauncer and The Canterbury Tales, to folk tradition, to now-lost Pagan festivities, by now it's a fairly common tradition.

On the balance, April Fools is a good thing. It's easy to get lost in our own heads, and a reminder not to take everything too seriously and laugh at the little things can be beneficial. Setting aside a day to play tricks is, in many ways, less nerve-wracking than being on edge all year round, and the degree of planning and co-operation that go into some of those pranks is honestly inspiring.

From a BBC announcer in 1957 testing his old teachers' proclamation that people were foolish enough to believe that spaghetti grew on trees, to groups of people co-ordinating a single prank.

However, as with all things, it's possible to go too far.

Shared laughter over a moment of gullibility, or a well-planned joke, or a light-hearted tease, is a wonderful feeling.

Rather less wonderful, are pranks that cross the line to mean-spirited or traumatic. Some things should not be joked about, and the unhappy victims do not appreciate being told to lighten up because it's "Just a joke!"

There have been multiple instances of bad-taste jokes being broadcase by News Hosts, and accidentally causing widespread panic, or even National Security incidents. A reputable news site reporting a UFO lead to a mass evacuation of thousands before they could clarify that it was a joke. Police and Emergency Services have been mustered over prank calls about murder or robbery.

People have been left feeling hurt or uncared for because they made a big announcement without checking the date, and were laughed off before the listener realised they were serious, amid a flood of other such 'Joke' announcements.

As a benchmark, ask yourself whether the person you're pranking is likely to laugh at your joke, or take you seriously.

People who have lost loved ones to Cancer, or survived it themselves, are unlikely to find jokes about a Terminal Illness funny. Members of the LGBTQ+ community will not laugh at fake Coming Out pranks. People who struggle with fertility issues won't appreciate your 24 hour baby announcement.

Stunt proposals, break-ups or deaths in the family might be funny between two people with a shared sense of humour, but probably shouldn't be shared on social media.

Humans are social creatures, who poured our survival stats into community and connection. Humor is part of that; a punchline shared followed by a huge grin inviting you to join in the laughter. But the true art of humor is just that: an art. The best jokes are ones that genuinely entertain without hurting or offending.

Another facet of our shared humanity is compassion. Today, many people will post requests to social media that they not be involved in jump-scares, or list the things that they will find triggering, rather than funny. Take those requests into account when planning your April Fools Day.

Respect for your listener doesn't ruin a joke, it enhances it. There is a difference between punching up and kicking down, and at the core of it is the knowledge that different people find different things funny. Some people can laugh at their own trauma, others can't.

Mean-spirited mirth isn't funny.

Be a jokester, not The Joker.

By Lee Jiyong on Unsplash

While I've probably cemented my reputation as an un-funny kill-joy with this article, I'd love to hear any April Fool's jokes in the comments.

If you liked this story, leave a heart, a comment or a tip and share it around, and check out my other work on Medium and Amazon.


About the Creator

Natasja Rose

I've been writing since I learned how, but those have been lost and will never see daylight (I hope).

I'm an Indie Author, with 30+ books published.

I live in Sydney, Australia

Follow me on Facebook or Medium if you like my work!

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Comments (17)

  • Rene Peters4 months ago

    This is so true! If it isn't funny to both people, it isn't a joke.

  • Oneg In The Arctic4 months ago

    Spot on here. Meanness ain't funny.

  • Wise counsel most of us probably need to hear, at least from time to time.

  • Shaziaabout a year ago


  • Christopher Jubaabout a year ago

    I love the exposure this gives to how far people like to take things even so far that it becomes dangerous

  • Testabout a year ago

    Jeesh. Some of the pranks people come up with really aren’t funny, are they? I don’t understand the people that think faking illness and death make great pranks. Thanks for sharing!

  • Muhammad Aliabout a year ago

    April Fool's Day can be a fun tradition, but it's important to make sure pranks don't cross the line into being mean-spirited or traumatic. Respect for others' feelings and sensitivities can enhance humor, rather than ruin it.

  • Dana Stewartabout a year ago

    People born on March 31st are the easiest to get on April Fool's Day - they were literally born yesterday - that's my joke for you. Congrats on Top Story!

  • Wayne lawsonabout a year ago

    Well Written.

  • Nice workπŸ‘πŸ’― Congratulations on your Top Storyβ—πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a year ago

    Congratulations on top story!! Hearted

  • Syed Ahamedabout a year ago

    Very Good

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Well done!!!! Congratulations onTop Story!!!πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’•

  • Congratulations on your Top Story

  • Dana Crandellabout a year ago

    Good advice, and much-needed by some. Well done!

  • Fun article with some sage advice.

  • ❀️

Natasja RoseWritten by Natasja Rose

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