This is by far not an exhaustive list of all the pranks pulled on/by Seattleites but these are a few of our favorites. From fooling a New York Times reporter to spreading panic through the city, these pranks are legendary in our book.
🤘 The lexicon of Grunge.
Back when grunge music catapulted Seattle into the national eye, a New York Times reporter called the record label Sub Pop for a story on the culture of grunge. Founder of Sub Pop, Jonathan Poneman was sick of fielding these sorts of requests so he decided to let the recently laid-off receptionist of the label, Megan Jasper handle it. Jasper, who is now the CEO of the company, decided to have some fun with the NYT reporter thinking someone in the editorial process would spot the slew of nonsense that she was about to spew. No one did. And so Jasper’s “lexicon of grunge” was published in the NYT and would live on as one of the greatest pranks to have ever been pulled in grunge. You can find the lexicon of words here, they’re pretty fun in our opinion. That is if you’re not a complete cob nobbler. (KNKX)
🌊 A prank that paid tribute to one of the greatest local pranksters of all.
Back in 2009, Ivar’s pulled off a prank that would fool basically the entire city. In a stunt that would make the company’s founder Ivar Haglund smile in his grave, the restaurant planted a large underwater billboard that they hired a team to create and “uncover.” The company claimed that the billboard was a part of Haglund’s plan to install a series of them underwater, thinking that in the future Seattleites would be traveling by submarine. They even had documents faked on a computer and the respected Seattle historian Paul Dorpat to lend the whole stint legitimacy. As they say, “keep clam and carry on.” (The Seattle Times)
😨 Sending all of Seattle into a panic.
The sketch show, “Almost Live!” — which you should check out if you haven’t already — scared the city on April 1, 1989, when they announced that the Space Needle had collapsed. In the middle of its regular programming, an actor they hired, interrupted the show for a “special report” that the landmark had fallen. They even created a fake scene that helped sell the whole thing. Despite the date being put at the top of the screen and members of the cast showing up in the bit, people really panicked. According to the show’s host, so many people called 911 that it shut it down. (KING)