I recently came across a very funny video of a famous prankster in Pakistan. I found the video extremely hilarious. As someone who observes keenly, I often wonder what makes these pranks such a joy to watch.
It can also be observed that pranksters in Pakistan receive a lot of attention and love (along with subscribers and likes on the Internet). YouTube, TikTok, and other social media platforms are full of videos of pranks in Pakistan, and the number of these pranksters is increasing. Some of these pranksters, I reckon, receive more views than even serious, thought-provoking podcasts or lectures.
Is there something that we can learn from this? What exactly do we find amusing about these pranks? Why are some pranks a hit and others a flop? Why do we tend to enjoy these pranks more than other forms of comedy? Human psychology can answer these questions. Based on my understanding, I believe that pranks also have something to teach us, and those lessons can be applied in real life too. Some of them are:
It is all about the “reaction”
First and foremost, the most obvious fact that can be deduced from pranks is that, in reality, viewers enjoy the reaction of the people who are being pranked. The prankster attempts to get a reaction from other people. That reaction could include anger, frustration, sadness, annoyance, or aggression. It is this spontaneous reaction that viewers find so entertaining. If the one being pranked does not react in the intended way, the prank fails. In addition, viewers also enjoy how the prankster, in turn, reacts to the reactions of those people.
The way I see it, this applies in real life too. Many people in our lives are “spectators” who want to see how we react to other people, situations, and circumstances. Whereas some of the “spectators” wish us well, others may be indifferent to our problems. Nevertheless, if we react “positively”, we become an inspiration for these “spectators.” The other way to look at it is that life itself tests us to assess our reaction to setbacks, difficulties, and obstacles. However, if, through optimism and determination, we successfully deal with these challenges of life, it is sure to reward us.
Natural is always better
Another noteworthy fact about pranks is that they are likely to be more enjoyable when they are natural, real, and original. By natural, I refer to the genuineness of the “prankster” as well as the person (or people) being “pranked.” Just as natural “acting” wins the spotlight, so too do pranks that have naturality draw the public`s attention. On the contrary, if the prank appears fake or scripted, it loses all its charm immediately. In fact, one of the reasons why pranks are preferred to “comedy shows” is that they have an element of spontaneity in them.
In the real world, too, naturality is always attractive and respected. Why is it that we find “babies”, “children”, and even “domestic animals” so cute and adorable? I believe this is because of their real expressions, which demonstrate innocence, selflessness, and purity. In practical life, people who do what they say and say what they mean are regarded as credible and reliable. For personal and professional relationships, they are always the preferred choice. Thus, naturality is not only appealing but is also an important ingredient for personal and professional success.
If we carefully examine these pranks, we can observe how they implicitly (and silently) demonstrate what should not be said or done. In other words, these pranks point out the ethically wrong beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, and happenings that are prevalent in a society. They indicate whatever shouldn`t be there or shouldn’t be happening. For instance, if a “prankster” (disguised as a salesman) misbehaves with his or her customer, the prank implicitly conveys that one`s customers should be treated courteously and respectfully. The reason we find it funny is that the prankster boldly and openly deviates from what is considered normal or right.
Likewise, throughout our personal and professional lives, we encounter different types of people. Whereas some people can be arrogant, selfish, and impolite, others can be humble, generous, and courteous. Whenever we encounter the former in life, we should resolve that this is exactly how and what we should not be. For instance, a friend who betrays us teaches us the meaning and importance of loyalty in relationships. The lesson is that we should never betray or mislead anyone. This is how life and the people in it should be approached. Instead of correcting, reprimanding, and reforming immorality, one’s focus should be to improve oneself morally and ethically. Ultimately, it has a greater impact and pays off in the form of individualistic as well as collective reform.
In Pakistan, as we tend to take delight in watching these pranks, we should also try to understand the philosophy behind them. Laughing at comedy or jokes is a healthy, advantageous experience that we all normally go through. However, it is also equally important to learn from what makes us laugh and apply those lessons in our daily lives. Doing these can primarily benefit us in two ways. First, we gain in the form of amusement and laughter. Furthermore, we simultaneously gain insight into ourselves and others. Hence, let`s begin today.“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” (Victor Borge)