Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's April, fools!

Remember in the last post, when I said I was done with the holiday-themed posts? Well...April Fools'! Actually, I'm back to blogging about current events, and today happens to be a holiday, so there you go.

Do we have any serious pranksters out there? If so, leave your April Fools' Day story in the comments, or write about it on your blog and let me know.

I don't usually do much for this "holiday", but two years ago I pulled a good one on the friends in my improv comedy troupe, Laugh Out Loud. First I sent everyone this e-mail, just after midnight so it would seem like I sent it on March 31:

"Well, I hope the girls' show was a big success, because it may be the last show we get to do for a while. Allan got a letter from BYUSA today, and it was bad news. He asked me to send out this e-mail to let you all know what's going on.

It seems that BYUSA has been compiling a list of complaints about our club and our shows. According to the letter, most of the complaints fall into one of three categories:

1) Inappropriate jokes: Some people have been offended at some of our shows; according to the letter, most of the detailed complaints indicated that the offensive jokes usually happened during one of our "line-up games" (I assume they mean jump-up games).

2) Players' appearance: A lot of people have apparently complained about the facial hair seen at our shows.

3) "Discriminatory practices": The letter said our girls' show violated BYUSA's policy of inclusion by "deliberately excluding a segment of the campus community" and making non-LDS students feel unwelcome. This, after all of the other complaints, was the "last straw."

By "last straw," they meant that LOL is officially on probation. That means that we can't have any more official club meetings or performances until Allan meets with BYUSA people to discuss the issues outlined above. The letter indicated that if we are reinstated, some changes will have to be made, including a policy that only current BYU students are allowed to perform and that all performers must be in compliance with the dress and grooming guidelines in the Honor Code (of course, this contradicts the third complaint category, but I guess that's BYUSA for ya).

Obviously, we're going to appeal, and I like our chances. Allan should be able to handle most of it on his own--he'll contact you if he needs your help (basically, I'm saying it probably won't do much good at this point if we randomly call up BYUSA to complain or start wearing t-shirts of protest).

Hopefully we'll get this taken care of quickly, and we won't have to cancel any practices or shows. For now, keep letting me know of your availability for shows on the 13th and 14th, and keep responding to Brendan's e-mails about fortune cookies. We'll get you an update as soon as we can.

Keep laughing,


The key to believability, I think, was my use of fake quotes (well, that and BYUSA's general incompetence). I waited three days, then sent this e-mail (gosh, I'm clever):

"Guys and gals--

Okay, here's an update on the status of LOL.

Today Allan and I met with the folks at BYUSA to try and get our probation lifted. Unfortunately, the meeting didn't go very well.

You may be surprised to hear this, but the BYUSA people were stubborn and uncooperative. They refused to discuss specific shows or jokes which resulted in complaints, or even to give a clear definition of what an "offensive" joke was. Basically, if someone was offended enough to complain, then that joke was offensive. Love the circular logic there.

Allan did most of the talking, and was amazingly patient as he tried to discuss the complaints against us...but then out of nowhere, they mentioned that they had looked at our club accounts and wondered why we needed to make so much money, and indirectly accused Allan of using the club's money dishonestly. I was stunned, and Allan was too, for a moment. I don't know if they were ready for what came next but I know I wasn't...


Allan basically freaked out on them. I think he used the word "Nazi" more than once, and that was about the nicest and cleanest thing he called them in the next 60 seconds. I'm sure it felt good to vent, but it probably didn't help our cause much. They asked us to leave and come back when Allan had calmed down.

Probably about ten minutes later, Allan had mellowed enough to go back in front of the Gestapo. They didn't let us say anything else in our defense; they said they had come to a final decision (something tells me they had reached that decision before the meeting even started).

Ready for this? Here's what they decided: our club charter is immediately revoked; we can reapply for one at the beginning of Fall Semester, but only if we meet a few conditions: we can only have a maximum of one club fundraiser ( i.e., one show) per month; only BYU students and alumni can be in the club, and they must abide by the Honor Code's dress and grooming standards; before our first two shows, a BYUSA official has to approve every joke (we tried in vain to explain what improv comedy is, but they didn't want to hear it); and Allan cannot be an officer in the "new" club.

Immediately after hearing this, Allan stormed out of the office, tossing a few more "nice" remarks over his shoulder as he did so. They asked me to tell him that they would be referring him to the Honor Code office.

Looking on the bright side (it's a small one, but still), they said that if the planned audit of our club accounts didn't turn up any improprieties, the money would be available to us again in the fall--enough to spearhead a pretty good anti-BYUSA advertising campaign, I think.

Folks, LOL is on life support, but it isn't dead. Here's what'll happen next:

Obviously, we'll exhaust any other appeals processes that may be available.

Organizations other than BYUSA sponsor clubs. Divine Comedy, for example, left BYUSA, I think in part because of money, and is now a departmental club. This may be a viable option for us.

Last of all, if it comes down to it, there's always grassroots protest. People are rallying around that Hendricks guy that got fired a few weeks ago, and few if any of his supporters knew him before. We're a popular, talented, affordable comedy troupe that is being persecuted by "the man"--we shouldn't have trouble drumming up support for our cause. We will make people laugh again!

So come to practice Thursday (our club no longer officially exists, but I doubt anyone else has scheduled the room yet), and we'll discuss our plan of attack. If we go down, let's all go down like Allan, in a blaze of glory. So all together now:

!&#$*%@ you, BYUSA!


P.S. Go back to the top of the e-mail and read the first letter of every paragraph. Thanks."

Not bad, eh? Oh, and for those of you who read this post's title and hoped there would be some Mr. T content, don't worry, that was NOT an April Fools' prank (if you watch the videos, know that they are also not pranks--sadly/awesomely, stuff like that happened all the time in the 1980s).


rachel said...

that is a pretty good one. my april fools pranks have never been so well planned or executed, and mainly involve me telling ridiculous lies to people who are dumb enough to believe them. one year i convinced everyone in my dorm i was pregnant with the ra's baby, and in middle school i told my best friend that mormons believed in arranged marriages and i'd been engaged to a boy named john in maine since i was 3 years old. i'm not even sure i did that on april fool's day, but i thought it was hilarious.

K-town said...

That was a cruel, cruel joke. I was stunned into silence, and then profanity. When you told us it was a joke, the process repeated itself. ;) Happy April Fools day!

Thomas said...

Jeff, I want to do an allumni show!!! If you arrange one, I will let you know the april fools joke that led lynsey to believe I had kissed Chalyce and Brittany in the same night.

jeff said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to acknowledge these comments.

After hearing at last night's FHE everything guys and girls do to indicate they like someone, or don't like them, and how it's pretty much impossible to tell the difference, maybe arranged marriages aren't such a bad idea.

K-Town, I'm sure you weren't the only one that had to write stuff on our big imaginary board that week.

Thomas--I want to do an alumni show too, if you're in it! When are you in Utah? We'll try to make it happen. And is this Chalyce's cousin Brittany you're talking about? She was sort of strange.

Muerte said...

Very clever, Jeff. Did BYUSSR ever catch wind of this prank?

jeff said...

If they did, they never said anything to us about it. Our troupe members did a good job of following my directions and not making any public complaints or demonstrations.