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NYC's 36th Annual April Fool's Day Parade

Cat Smith, Host: What do Donald Trump Jr., Ted Cruz with a suitcase, and something called the Q Anon Marching band have in common? They were all scheduled to attend the 36th Annual New York City April Fools’ Day Parade. Reporter Renée Roden was covering this annual prank celebrating the most hoaxish of holidays.


Sounds of Intersection

RENÉE RODEN, BYLINE: According to a press release online, the 36th Annual New York City April Fool’s Day Parade was scheduled to kick off at noon at the corner of 59th St and 5th Ave. But just before noon, no one there seemed to know about it.

JOSE CADME: I didn’t hear about it

RODEN: You didn’t come to the parade?

CADME: No I didn’t come to the parade. I just came to chill.

RODEN: If you see the parade, let me know. It’s supposed to start in 6


RODEN: This year, the parade’s organizers are inviting members of the public to dress up as corporate leaders, celebrities, and to build floats...all to celebrate his year’s theme: “DENY, DENY, LIE, LIE!”

SKAGGS: There’s probably 500 people are working on submissions

and building the floats and doing all the entertainment and the whole


RODEN: Joey Skaggs is chair of the parade planning committee. He says the event began in 1986 as an important contribution to New York’s civic life.

SKAGGS: It's a necessity. And as the world spins into absurdity, we

needed to have more absurdity to illustrate it.

ZOLTEN: Jokes are medicine. They make us feel better.

RODEN: Jerry Zolten is a professor of pop culture at Penn State Altoona, and as he puts it, a “recovering stand-up.” Zolten says pranks are an easy way to let off steam.

ZOLTEN: If you think about it, pranks are like the easiest kinds of

jokes. They require no talent - you don't have to memorize a joke with a


RODEN: But pranks can backfire. Caleb Warren is a contributor to the Humor Research Lab, a project dedicated to the scientific study of what makes things funny.

WARREN: I'm a little bit hesitant to say it's April Fools day go nuts. A

prank has a victim and it's usually a specific person.

RODEN: Because they’re often made at someone’s expense, Warren says pranks aren’t always as therapeutic as other forms of humor.

WARREN: This kind of comedy can be very enjoyable, especially for

the pranker. But it's less likely to like strengthen a relationship

between the people. It's less likely to lead to emotional benefits. It's less

likely to help people cope with a problem.

RODEN: Joey Skaggs, the brains behind the April Fool’s parade, says New Yorkers need satire and practical jokes now more than ever.

SKAGGS: We need to be able to express something that we all feel about how stupid people are - corrupt, irresponsible, gullible. That's what the parade is all about.

RODEN: But while talking about the parade with Skaggs, I began to feel less like reporter and more comedic foil.

RODEN: How much of this conversation has been you pulling my leg?


SKAGGS: [Laughter] Well, Renée, in the tradition of the April Fool’s Day Parade, you are now a participant.

RODEN: From the 36th Annual April Fool’s Day Parade, this is

Renée Roden, Columbia Radio News


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