Punk'd was an
American hidden camera practical joke television series on MTV, produced and hosted by Ashton Kutcher, which first aired in
It bears a strong resemblance to both the classic
hidden camera show Candid
, and to TV's Bloopers & Practical
, which also featured pranks on celebrities
. Being "Punk'd" refers to having such
a prank played on oneself, and to "punk someone" refers to making
someone else the victim of the show's style of prank itself.
The series finale aired on MTV
on May 29, 2007.
The series culminated in early June with the Punk'd Awards.
Candid Camera format
The show begins with a description by Kutcher of which celebrity
will be punk'd, why he feels the celebrity deserves to be punk'd,
and what the setting of the joke will be, including the premise and
the accomplices. As the show is usually set in Los Angeles, the pranks often take place in common locations
such as parking lots, restaurants, hotel rooms, or residences.
Occasionally, Kutcher will engineer the prank at a celebrity event
at which the target is a prominent guest, as when he led actress
to believe she had been
barred entry to the premiere of her film, Gothika
, because the number of the people in
the theater exceeded the fire code, or when he pranked NBA
star Allen Iverson
thinking he could not enter his own 30th birthday party because the
inside. Kutcher will also sometimes use real-life current events as
elements in his pranks, as when he pranked tennis player Andy Roddick
, who was scheduled to appear on
The Tonight Show
convincing him that his automobile was trapped by the Los Angeles
. Kutcher sometimes sets his
pranks where his targets work, such as on the sets of movies, TV
shows, and music videos
. As one example,
Kutcher pranked The Rock
, who was
filming Be Cool
, by convincing him
that his trailer was destroyed. As another example, Kutcher pranked
by convincing him that he
could not shoot his music video for "Jesus
" on Sundays without a permit. Kutcher has also done
holiday-themed pranks, as when he punked Beyoncé Knowles
into thinking she
knocked over a Christmas Tree, or when he pranked Fall Out Boy
into thinking he derailed a train at a Christmas
festival. After the joke progresses to a point, usually with the
celebrity having become angry or frustrated at the outrageousness
of the situation, Kutcher or one of the actors will announce to the
surprised victim that they just had a practical joke played on
them, usually with use of the catch
, "You just got punk'd!", or by revealing a large sign or
banner to that effect. Each half-hour episode usually features
3, Ashton Kutcher and his crew went
to the Smithsonian
Museum in Washington, D.C., at an event tied to the release of the film
The Prince and Me, and
pranked actress Julia
season 5 road trip to Tony Hawk's hometown
Carlsbad, California, Hawk was pranked by son Riley, who destroyed a
park restroom with an M-80,
supposedly injuring a bystander played by an actress.
6, Kutcher sent crew members to Moorestown, New
Jersey, the town of residence of football player Terrell Owens, in order to prank him
The crew staged an auto accident in which Owens,
believing it to be real, attempted to assist elderly men from an
Red carpet format
A frequent segment during the first two seasons was a Punk'd cast
member pretending to interview celebrities at red carpet events,
only to mock them instead. This segment closely copies what
originated on The Howard Stern
in the 1980s, when Stern and his writers began
sending interns (most notably Stuttering
) to ask celebrities embarrassing questions on the
red carpet. During the first season the show had then
fifteen-year-old Ryan Pinkston
on the show they claim he was only eight) do the interviewing,
where he would pretend to be a reporter from a kid's show who would
then hurl insults at the celebrities. During Season 2, the
producers then chose a foreign interviewer accompanied by her
interpreter who would then ask insane questions to the
The following is a list of stars interviewed on the red carpet in
all 4 segments.
Ryan Pinkston- VH1 Big in 2002 Awards
Ryan Pinkston- Diesel Party
Foreign Interviewer- Entertainment Weekly
Foreign Interviewer- Gothika Premiere
- In December 2003, Kutcher attempted to "punk" then-WWE wrestler Bill Goldberg by having a truck run over an
exact replica of his prized motorcycle, but the stunt went wrong
when the truck clearly missed the bike. When the bike spontaneously
exploded without any visible reason Goldberg realized what was
going on, and asked, "Who do I get to kill first?" as Kutcher
revealed himself, knowing the joke had failed. It aired on the
Season 2 finale.
- In June 2005, Kutcher's unsuccessful attempt to prank musician
Lil Jon resulted in the musician telling
Kutcher, "You can't Punk the King of Crunk."
- Kutcher has claimed that he himself is "unpunkable." In the
first season, his crew attempted to punk him using Britney Spears, but Kutcher discovered the
plot and convinced Spears to help him turn the tables on his own
Controversy and conflict
- On The Late
Show with David Letterman, Kutcher mentioned punking
David Spade in one of the show's first
episodes. However, Spade refused to sign the release papers. The
same prank was then used on Seth Green
for the same episode.
- Alias star Michael Vartan reportedly refused to sign the
release after being pranked by Kutcher, preventing the prank from
airing. However, Vartan denies ever being pranked, and claims that
the story was completely false.
- American Pie star
Shannon Elizabeth filed for
divorce from her husband Joe Reitman, a year after her appearance
on the show. She was reportedly furious over his involvement in the
prank, which involved leading Elizabeth to believe that they had
been filmed on a celebrity porn tape.
- Pamela Anderson also denies ever
being fooled by the attempted prank on her, which involved
convincing her that a porn movie was being shot in her back garden,
explaining that she realized it was a prank when she confronted a
nude model on the premises.
- During his interview of Kutcher for Interview, actor Brad Pitt advised Kutcher not to prank his
co-star George Clooney, a notorious
expert prankster himself. Pitt told Kutcher, "Don't do it. Don't
ever go near it. Clooney will kill you and everything you love. I
know it's tempting, but don't do it."
- Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres
has stated that she does not wish to be Punk'd, and is so paranoid
that she often assumes she is being Punk'd whenever any suspicious
or out of the ordinary mishap occurs, as when, for example, a valet
gives her the wrong car when leaving a restaurant, which Kutcher's
crew members did to Simon Cowell during
the Season 5 Premiere.
- Scrubs star Zach Braff was involved in a prank with teenagers
vandalizing his car, Braff was so furious that he proceeded to, in
his own words, "almost beat up a five year old".
Pranks not aired
|Name of Prankee
||The prank was never seen on MTV but was released on The Complete
First Season: DVD
|Black Eyed Peas
||Claimed in an interview that they were pranked. They noticed
the "police" featured in the prank were not real and got into a
fight because they suspected the fake police not of being Punk'd
staff, but criminals.
||Denied Punk'd broadcasting rights. (See above)
||Was featured in the Season 4 previews featured in Episode 1 but
her punk was unexpectedly dropped for the rest of the series
||Denied Punk'd broadcasting rights (See above)
||Denied Punk'd broadcasting rights
In addition to the obvious influences of past hidden camera prank
shows such as Candid Camera
and TV's Bloopers
& Practical Jokes
, Scherzi a parte
, and the
"Jamie Kennedy Experiment
of the Upright
had a hidden camera celebrity prank show on
MTV called Stung
in 2002, a full year before the
introduction of Punk'd
. Whether this was a direct
influence on Punk'd
is unclear. In an issue of the
Vol. 9, an interviewer asks Redman about the
similarities between Stung
, and the
rapper replies, "Fuck you, Ashton Kutcher!", to the delight of the
audience, who begin to chant the phrase.
Parodies and derivatives
Shows derived from Punk'd
- Singers Michelle Branch,
JC Chasez and Season 1 Punk'd
Nick Lachey guest starred in another
prank show called Faking the Video during the 11-month
- Ryan Dunn created another prankshow
a show that mixes aspects of Punk'd and Extreme Makeover: Home
- Tony Hawk, Vivica A. Fox,
and Tichina Arnold, who all appeared
on Punk'd, later volunteered on another prank show
Hi-Jinks on MTV's sister network
- During the 2003 NFL Season,
Monday Night Football aired a
Punk'd-type program during its Halftime segment entitled
You Got Sack'd.
- In May, 2006, O.J. Simpson released a candid camera show for
pay-per-view and DVD
called Juiced. One of the pranks showed Simpson trying to
sell a white Ford Bronco like the one he
made famous in the slow speed
chase in 1994.
- From February to April 2006, England and Manchester United
footballer Rio Ferdinand hosted a show
called Merk'd in which he pranked
fellow national squad members Gary
Neville, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, David James, Peter Crouch, Shaun Wright-Phillips, and David Beckham. After each punk, Ferdinand said
to the camera "You got Merk'd" - "Merk'd".
- In March 2008, E! premiered another Kutcher
show, Pop Fiction, in which
celebrities fabricate stories and situations in order to fool the
paparazzi and tabloids.
- On Chilean's Channel Megavision was made a Punk'd-type program
called Golpe Bajo starred by Cristian de la fuente.
- The Italian version, Scherzi a parte, aired on
Canale 5 and hosted by some TV presenters
like Simona Ventura and Diego Abatantuono and others. The idea
first came out in 1992. The pranks were mainly played on Italian
actors (like Carlo Verdone, Leo Gullotta, Sophia
Loren), TV stars (Maria De
Filippi, Paolo Bonolis, Alessia Marcuzzi, football personalities
and foreign players playing in the Serie A.
Victims include members of the 2006 World Cup-winnig squad -
Gianluigi Buffon, Luca Toni, Filippo
Inzaghi, Massimo Oddo, Francesco Totti, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Marco
Materazzi and coach Marcello
Lippi - as well as Romanian Adrian
Mutu, Argentine forward Ezequiel
Lavezzi, Dejan Stanković,
Fabio Quagliarella, Amauri, former Inter manager Roberto Mancini and former A.C. Milan manager
Carlo Ancelotti. Other high-profile
victims include actor Diego
Abatantuono, singer/songwriter Gianluca Grignani and TV
presenter Corrado Tedeschi.
Parodies and references
- On various occasions during episodes of the Dr. Phil Show, Dr.Phil has jokingly asked "Am
I being Punk'd?" usually after a guest makes a ridiculous remark or
- On his sketch comedy show, Chapelle's Show, Dave Chappelle parodied Punk'd,
Ashton Kutcher, and The
Jamie Kennedy Experiment in a skit that he called
Zapped. He also used a poem on Def Poetry Jam, titled Fuck Ashton
- The That's So Raven
episode "Skunk'd" is a parody of
- In 2003, Justin Timberlake
spoofed Kutcher and Punk'd
when he hosted Saturday Night
- During the National Hockey
League season, the Los Angeles
Kings broadcast on Fox Sports West
produced a handful of segments called Puck'd featuring
practical jokes on various Kings players. The segments were created
for pre-game and between-period entertainment. Luc Robitaille, who was retired from the NHL
after the season, played the role of Kutcher. Puck'd made
a return later in the season.
- Stephen Colbert parodied the
show in his well-known segment on The
Daily Show, This Week In
God, introducing a new fake program called
Baptiz'd and promising one for the following edition
- In the television comedy Will and
Grace, Jack McFarland, an
executive of a gay television network, invents Pink'd, the gay
equivalent of Punk'd, in episode It's A Dad, Dad, Dad,
Dad World. The first person to be "pink'd" is title character
- In the 2005 Martin Lawrence
comedy Rebound, junior high
school school principal Megan
Mullally asks if she's being punk'd when disgraced college
basketball coach Roy McCormick (Lawrence) is suggested to coach her
school's junior varsity team.
- In the 200th episode of the sketch
comedy show MADtv, Will Sasso, impersonating Kenny Rogers, did his own version of
Punk'd. The jokes involved Kenny botching his pranks,
forgetting what to do next, and simply kicking the celebrity in the
- In the Family Guy episode
"I Take Thee Quagmire", Peter
remembers that one time he pranked Kutcher by throwing an axe at
him and saying, "You've just been Tomahawk'd! That's my show,
- In the movie Just Friends,
ditzy pop singer Samantha James (played by Anna Faris) had microwaved a plastic tub
containing food and aluminum foil while traveling on an airplane
accompanied by music producer Chris Brander (played by Ryan Reynolds). The aluminum foil caught fire,
and the plane was forced to land. When Samantha gets angry about
the plane landing, she calls her father and starts to complain. In
a ditzy moment, Samantha forgets completely that it is her fault
the plane has landed, and states suddenly, "Oh, my God! Am I being
punk'd!? (Laughs) Ashton!? Ashton!?"
- The film High School
Musical refers to Punk'd in one scene with
Lucas Grabeel and his on-screen sister
Ashley Tisdale. When Grabeel's
character, Ryan, finds out that Troy and Gabriella (Zac Efron and Vanessa
Hudgens) have made it into the callbacks, he says, "Maybe we're
being Punk'd...maybe we're being filmed right now! Maybe we'll get
to meet Ashton!" Ashley Tisdale and
fellow co-star Zac Efron have since been
- In 2006, novelist Todd Brendan Fahey created the term
funderbunked, indicative of a particularly vengeful and
retaliatory strain of the phenomenon.
- In an episode of The Adventures of Chico and
Guapo, the two title characters decide to come up with a
prank show called "You've been Guapo-sized", in order to become
stars in the next Punk'd.
- On his sketch comedy show Mind of
Mencia, Carlos Mencia
parodied both Punk'd and Dateline NBCs "To Catch a Predator" feature in a sketch
called "Dateline Punk'd."
- The Ronnie Johns Half
Hour parodied Punk'd on a sketch, instead naming
- In the episode of Hannah
Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Favorites", the Queen of England remarks
after Hannah's rather speedy rendition of "The Other Side of Me",
"Simon, have we just been punk'd?"
- A Star Wars fan film was made completely parodying Punk'd with
the Star Wars edge to it called " sith'd"
- In the video game Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories,
when the main character Adell attacks Axel, before the battle Axel
asks the question, "Hey, am I on 'Screw'd'?"
- In the film Epic Movie,
after Edward, played by Kal Penn, is kicked
by the White Bitch, played by Jennifer
Coolidge, David Lehre, along with a camera crew, enters the
scene dressed like Ashton Kutcher and annoyingly tells Edward again
and again that he has been "Punk'd" (exaggerating how Ashton reacts
to the celebrities he has punk'd), until eventually Edward knocks
him out in annoyance. Lehre did a Punk'd parody himself for his own
- In the September 25, 2006 and February 19, 2007 editions of
LAMB!, a Michigan-area magazine, the art news column
featured an editorial on the "Ashton Kutcher of the art world", in
which the world-famous Leonardo da
Vinci's American Horse, a high bronze horse at internationally
renowned Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, fell victim to
a sculpture punk called Paletta Grande ("Big Shovel").
- On the TV show Reba
the titular character pranks her son on Halloween, later saying,
"You got Reba'd!"
- On the TV show Boston
Legal the character Shirley Schmidt asks if she is being
Punk'd while at her ex-husband Ivan Tiggs' latest wedding.
- On Nick Cannon's MTV show, Wild 'N' Out, several jokes
have been made at the expense of both Ashton Kutcher and
Punk'd, including one skit which makes fun of what is
perceived as the show's terrible acting, predictable pranks,
uncreatively hidden cameras, and prosaic humor.
- In the comic strip Get Fuzzy, Bucky's friend, comedian Snatch
Limelight, says that he hosts a show on MTV called Puk'd,
in which he "vomits in the laps of
differents celebs every episode".
- On the sitcom Drake &
Josh, on an episode after their house has been robbed, the
father asks if he has been Punk'd. In another episode of that
sitcom, when Josh is bonding with his mom, Walter says "Am I being
- Season 3 of Entourage features an episode
titled "Gotcha" that
revolves around the premise of Pauly
Shore hosting a Punk'd derivative named
Gotcha! with the catchphrase, "You got Got!"
- In the House episode
"The Jerk", Dr. Foreman
accuses Dr. House of canceling his job interview at another
hospital. House suggests it might have been Ashton Kutcher.
- On an episode of The Daily Show with Jon
Stewart, Jon Stewart referenced
the show when he said, "Tonight's guest is former President
Bill Clinton, unless I'm being
- On the Australian TV show The
Shak, an episode parodied Punk'd with the
derivative tagline "You've been Shak'd".
- In the 2006 film Black Christmas, Kyle says
that the girls are getting punk'd after the threatening phone
- In a sketch on The Late Show with David
Letterman, staff member Biff
Henderson goes around town doing random pranks to people,
saying, "You Got Biff'D".
- In the 2007 film Knocked Up,
when Katherine Heigl's character's
interview with actor James Franco
begins to veer into oddity, he says, "If this is one of those
fucking joke shows then I'm not into it."
- The web cartoon site Liquid Generation produced a flash
animation called Decepticon'd which was hosted by the
fictional character Starscream. This
animation first appeared close to the release of the 2007
live-action film Transformers.
- In the premiere episode of the Australian TV series
Summer Heights High,
when questioned about an incident in which he threw a younger boy's
bag over a railway line, Jonah says, "We weren't bullying him. We
just Punk'd him." In the following episode, he pretends to be hit
by a car by his teacher, then gets up and says, "Miss, you got
- Comedian Chris Rock poked fun at
Punk'd during MTV's 2003 Video Music Awards, remarking that
African-Americans would never be Punk'd, hypothesizing that rapper
DMX would respond to such a prank with
violence, saying, "You've been stabbed!"
- In the 200th episode of Stargate
SG-1, Cameron Mitchell sarcastically exclaims that he's
"being Punk'd" after the other members of SG-1 briefly joke that
Jack O'Neill fathered Mitchell during the team's adventures in the
Season 2 episode, "1969".
- In an episode of Ben 10, Rojo
exclaimed at one point "We've been Punk'd!".
- In the 2004 film Win a Date With Tad
Hamilton!, Tad Hamilton's manager and agent convince him
to open his motel room door by shouting, "Come on, you're not gonna
- In a first season episode of Viva La
Bam, Bam Margera's uncle
threatens to contact Ashton Kutcher and punk Bam.
- The porno series Spunk'd is a parody of
- On an episode of Back at the
Barnyard, Otis is shown watching a TV show called
- On Chilean's channel Chilevision, were made a lot of parodies of
Punk'd in his program Sin Verguenza, but all the episodes
were just acted.
- In an episode of Red vs.
Blue, Sarge is reciting one-liners, one of which is "You
just got "Sarged".
- In the song Run Harry Run by band Lemon Demon
Harry receives a letter informing him Hogwarts has burned down, and
after trashing his room Dumbledore appears and informs him, "You've
- On a upcoming show called Aaron
Stone, Aaron is talking to a spy from Hero Rising and says "I'm
being punk'd right?, I knew it!"
- On the bonus features for Home Movies disc 2, H. Jon Benjamin
and Bill Buckendorff host a fake show called "Baby Pranks," where
they prank babies by gluing a bottle to a table, and bringing in a
fake grandmother to greet a baby.
- In a sixteenth season episode of The Simpsons, actor Jason Bateman's car is
- In the one episode of the sixth season of One Tree Hill when
Brooke Davis finds out that the girl she took into her home,
Samantha, was shoplifting at a supermarket (she was really covering
for her friend, Jack,) she says angrily before scolding Samantha,
"Please, tell me I'm getting Punk'd right now!"
- There is an episode of Disney Channel's Sonny With A Chance called
Prank'd;Chad's new show is 'Celebrity Practical Joke'd'.
- In the movie Aliens in the
Attic, one of the aliens in the preview said "You've been
- In the fourth season of the American version of the reality
Kitchen, chef Gordon Ramsay
asks if he's about to be Punk'd after Matt tells him he put
white chocolate in his signature
- In the Disney XD comedy series Zeke
and Luther, When Mr. Rucker tells Zeke he is an actual
skateboarder, Zeke then laughs and says "Am I on some sort of
hidden camera show? Am I being Punk'd?"
- In Phineas and Ferb, after
Doofenshmirtz tells Agent Double-00 his plan, Agent Double-00 asks
Perry "Am I on one of those hidden camera shows?", referring to
- The phrase, "Am I being punk'd?" is brought up a few times
during the second season of The Spectacular
Celebrities who have been Punk'd