Newspapers faced a backlash today as seasonal prank stories, which ran in virtually every title this morning, were condemned as ‘just not very funny’.
The April 1st stories, which have become a Fleet Street tradition, allow journalists who are bored with the credit crunch and Middle East crisis to try their hand at gentle humour in a bid to make readers chuckle.
But some readers have failed to see the funny side.
“Look. I love comedy,” said one reader.
“I like ‘Peep Show’ and ‘Black Books’ and all the classic US imports from the nineties. But this is all fucking weak.”
“I mean, ‘Scientists breed tartan sheep’ – it’s hardly Popbitch, is it?”
Another man commented: “Yesterday we had the Home Secretary’s husband caught beating off at home to ‘Red Hot Big Meat’. That was funny. What’s the point of trying to compete with that with some ‘electric salmon’ crap? It’s a complete waste of space.”
“Plus,” he added, “they always provide some shit byline made-up reporter, like ‘Avril Loof’ or whatever. It’s an embarrassment.”
Some readers, however, did appreciate the effort put in by their favourite newspaper.
“I’m a big fan of the humorous panel games on Radio 4,” said one, “and this really worked for me. I read it on the train and I smiled all the way in from Esher.”
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to compose a smug contribution for tomorrow’s letters page, congratulating the newspaper on its April Fool, but citing a genuine report that illustrates some mistake or whatever in the public services, and thus creating a misunderstanding for comic effect.”