Punk’d is a popular TV show where a famous celebrity pulls jokes on some other famous celebrity. Though there is a lot involved in the setup and execution of the pranks, I would not call these “elaborate pranks”. They are, rather, grade school level.
Real pranks involve intelligence, knowledge, and dedication. The resulting prank should live on, admired by others, and provide fodder, incentive even, for better pranks.
In other words, it take a geek to pull off a truly outstanding prank.
In the annals of academia, the top tier of intelligentsia come from schools such as, but not limited to, MIT and Caltech. And MIT has a tradition of pranking that goes back over a century. Alumni even make donations to a standing fund designated specifically to pranking. (THAT’s dedication!)
The top pranks? Well, you’ll have to go here to check them out….
Pranks are not confined to the student body, either. Mature scientists are given to practical jokes, some of which are documented in the book, “A Random Walk in Science“.
And, of course, there are the well known Easter Eggs in programs, DVD and video games.
And pranks are not just for fun. Operation Meatball in World War II, documented in “The Man Who Never Was“, was a deadly serious prank foisted on the Germans by the Allies prior to D-Day.