Because you are a comedy connoisseur, I don't have to tell you that Cleveland is the funniest city in America — you already know that, based on the existence of the sitcom "Hot in Cleveland," the existence of the animated series "The Cleveland Show," and the former existence of the sitcom "The Drew Carey Show." But even if you somehow didn't know that all the little chicks with the crimson lips love Cleveland's jokes (Cleveland's jokes), you'd be able to tell just how critical comedy is to the city's culture by its clear positioning as the NBA's 2013 April Fools' Day Capital.
Why, just check out this riotous rib-tickler from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Oh, man — LeBron James leaving the Miami Heat to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Could you even imagine? (Um, yes, actually.)
The "LeBron back" headline isn't really a prank in and of itself — rather, it's one of several locally motivated quick-hit gag headlines (because when it comes to setting up pranks, "really, who has the time anymore?") that you can cut out and paste on the front page to try to get over on an unsuspecting friend, partner or co-worker. That's good, because on its own merits, it's more of a lie than a joke, which — although we tend to forget this every April 1 — are two different things. (It's about structure, as Eugene Mirman taught us on "En Garde, Society!")
One thing that is both not a lie and definitely a prank: what happened to the truck of Cavaliers rookie Dion Waiters.
Ah, the old "fill your car with popcorn" trick — a classic bit of rookie hazing that serves quite nicely as an April Fools prank, too. Waiters joins the likes of Jason Thompson, Donte Greene and MarShon Brooks as rookies who have, for one reason or another, seen the sodium and butter content of their whips increase significantly after veterans have gotten bored.
While Waiters wasn't thrilled — "I hate being a rookie I'm not gone lie I'm mad as helllllllll right my whole truck full of pop corn," he wrote on Instagram — he did seem to handle the popcorn prank much better than Kenyon Martin did when a former Denver Nuggets ballboy targeted the interior of his white Range Rover back in 2010:
Martin discovered the damage as he was about to exit Denver's Pepsi Center. At the time, he had no idea who had pulled the prank. Angered, he went back to the locker room spewing profanities and threats at teammates and other members of the organization.
"That ain't no [expletive] joke," Martin said. "I'm going to find out who did it ... put my [expletive] hands on one of y'all. I'm going to put my hands on whoever did it. You better believe that. It's [expletive] personal. You better believe it."
Martin, who has missed 15 games with a torn patella tendon in his left knee, threatened to boycott the postseason if he did not find out who was responsible.
"How 'bout if I don't play in the playoffs until somebody tells me who did it," Martin said more than once.
Luckily for Waiters, he and the rest of the Cavaliers had already planned to boycott the postseason, so this doesn't change too much for him. The detailing fee's probably going to be a beast, though.
In conclusion: Great job, City of Cleveland, and great job continuing to be a thing, April Fools' Day.