What's with the blandness of prank culture in India? We introspect!

Piyush Singh
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Have you ever scrolled through YouTube and stumbled upon those bizarre prank videos and wondered why the prank culture in India seems so bland? Let me tell you, I understand.

Do you remember that one episode of Bojack Horseman where Bojack plans a prank for Jurj Clooners? He planned to play Jurj’s driver and then, out of nowhere, hit him on the head with a baseball bat. You may ask, “Where is the prank in that?” That's precisely the point of Bojack. Apart from supporting the show’s unique brand of humor, it’s a witty commentary on the ridiculousness of pranks themselves. Bojack believes, and I quote, “Pranks are dumb,” and hence, he was eager to pull off the dumbest prank in history. Considering the kind of comedy the show has, this was one of those moments where the comedy lies in the exaggeration of common things. Pranks are a thing; most of the time, they are also funny. However, I think many people do understand that a prank can only be called a prank when it's funny. But to make it fun, you cannot hit or hurt someone.

Also Read: Check out these movie pranks that will make you LOL

With it being April Fool's Day, I wanted to write an article about pranks, but, like Bojack, I also think pranks are dumb. I had no idea what people are into these days. I searched on YouTube and came across some very questionable thumbnails and video titles. I watched a few videos, and to be honest, I don't understand the appeal of these videos. But I know there is an audience for them and the views speak for themselves in contrast to most well-edited educational videos on YouTube. Talking about the type of content these prank videos offer, it's bizarre. It's bizarre to the extent that you question if anyone is even watching it. The jokes are generally made about harassment, making people uncomfortable in a public space, and invading someone’s personal space. It's difficult to find humor here, yet these prank videos will come on top of your feeds if you search for Indian pranks on YouTube.


When it comes to prank videos, the spectrum of content is diverse. While some pranksters aim for harmless fun and witty humor, others are more into the controversial and discomforting territory. A fine prank video should strike a balance between entertainment and respect for the participants' dignity and well-being. I have seen harmless pranks on the internet, and while I still believe that “pranks are dumb,” they are genuinely fun to watch. However, the internet is filled with prank videos that push the boundaries of decency, resorting to vulgar content and potentially harmful antics for views and clicks. While these videos may get the attention they are made for, they often come at the expense of others' discomfort or even distress. Most of these videos are scripted, and we can assume that at least the people participating in the prank have given their consent for it. You may wonder if the people participating in the prank have no problem with it, why am I being on a high horse about it? Well, the very popular case made against a Delhi-based YouTube prankster Sumit should answer it. Sumit got into legal trouble because of his prank videos in which he kissed unsuspecting women in public. Despite no official complaints being filed, an FIR was registered, leading to his detention by the cybercrime cell. But despite the case and the hate videos like it still receives, the trend continues. 

The YouTube algorithm is about pushing content that it thinks is being watched and liked by people. And the views on these vulgar pranks tells much more about the bland humor of people. We know that the people who are creating, watching, and sharing these videos have a very questionable sense of humor, but does that justify people finding the questionable videos entertaining? Many of these videos are filled with misogynistic and racist remarks, showing us how the creators consider these deeply rooted stereotypes to be 'funny'. The trend of vulgar YouTube pranks in India can be attributed to several factors. Some people post these videos to attract attention and increase their viewership, and it doesn't surprise me how well it plays out for them. While creators may profit from such content, it's crucial to consider the impact on the audience consuming these videos. The popularity of such material can inadvertently reinforce regressive attitudes and behaviors in the long run. So, it's up to the audience to decide what they call funny.


In light of what contemporary comedy has become, I think Bojack's devised prank against Jurj Clooners stands funnier and more relevant (except for hitting someone with a bat, of course). 

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