On 1st April 1996, Taco Bell spent $300k on ads saying that they had purchased the Liberty Bell and named it the Taco Liberty Bell. The White House Press Secretary responded, joking that the Lincoln Memorial was bought by Ford and would be named the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial.
Charles Vance Millar, a rich Canadian financier, made his will one last practical joke. In it, he left three men who hated each other a joint lifetime tenancy in a villa, some protestant ministers $700,000 in Catholic beer stock, and anti-horse racing advocates $25,000 in Jockey club stock.
During the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission, to help USA/USSR relations, astronauts and cosmonauts played smuggled audio recordings of glasses clinking, laughter, and many female voices. Houston radioed to ask what’s going on. “Oh nothing,” they said. “We finished work, just having a party up here.”
The FBI spent years investigating an anti-goth cult that didn’t even exist. Official investigation on ‘Church of the Hammer’ and their Yahoo group ‘GodHatesGoths’, continued for over 2 years before they realized the entire thing was completely fake and intended to be a joke.
Pre-dissolution Soviet comedians had to have all their jokes approved by the Department of Humor. Jokes about politics, religion, and sex were banned, which left mostly jokes about animals.
Frequent making of jokes, including puns, can be a diagnosed disorder, possibly caused by a stroke.
There was a toilet paper shortage in the USA in 1973 caused by a joke on a talk show that convinced people to hoard toilet paper.
On a trip to China, Prince Philip joked to students that “If you stay here much longer, you’ll go slit-eyed.” After initial concerns of offense, Chinese officials responded that they also warned their students of going “round-eyed” when studying abroad.”
A Japanese interpreter once translated a joke that Jimmy Carter delivered during a lecture as: “President Carter told a funny story. Everyone must laugh.”
Every year the British Medical Journal publishes an issue full of joke science, like one paper that said men die before women because they are stupid. But years later these articles are cited by scientists as real, and this is causing a lot of problems.