April Fools Day is for amateur wits the way that St. Patrick’s Day is for amateur drunks.
- Chris Stuart, @pomodrunkard
The problem with April Fool’s is that real life keeps creeping up on it. How can a prank be funny if it’s close enough to something realer and, often, uglier? It’s not like this is a new problem, but it does keep getting worse, especially if you live in a country where people are fast losing the need, let alone the incentive, to talk to each other and share experiences from outside their little cliques. Everything outside their experience starts to seem completely ludicrous. (I’m not just talking about the United States, either. Everywhere, people are losing the ability to discern between what could be a joke and what could be real.)
It’s a real problem, and not just for the satiremongers among us. How often has Stephen Colbert or The Onion mentioned some completely insane and hilarious concept, only to have some Tea Party buffoon read it and try to one-up them in the actual world? Sure, it’s funny the first time, but then Louie Gohmert or Michelle Bachman or someone says it for real, and baby Jesus weeps.
No, it’s best to avoid the hoaxes completely. The bar is so high for those that unless you have a real killer idea, and you execute it completely and perfectly, you’re pretty much bound to be overtaken by the future in ways you didn’t expect. Like Jon Stewart often says to serious people who come on his show and try to be funny, Comedy Is Hard. Millions will continue to do it, of course. All the world loves a clown. Just be careful out there. You can expect, as every year, to step through your First of April like it’s a dog park full of little turds. The best you can do is save face. Just stay cool, and enjoy the better-executed jokey bits, and you’ll get through to the end of the day in one piece. Tomorrow (and tomorrow, and tomorrow) is when the real hoaxery can begin again.
 Not actual clowns, though. Does anyone still like clowns? I’ve asked this before, and I’ve yet to find someone who thinks clowns are cool, funny, or otherwise worth following anymore. Did John Wayne Gacy kill that industry for all but the biggest circuses?