The year was somewhere between 2002 and 2007. It was before smartphones all but completely eradicated the landline, as well as our sense of privacy and our democracy. In other words, despite caller ID boxes and *69, it wasn’t completely impossible to call up strangers, pretend to be someone you weren’t, mess with them a bit, and not have them find your number in retaliation. And in this glorious epoch, Crank Yankers — the Comedy Central (and, briefly, MTV2) show about puppets making such “prank” phonecalls — ruled supreme.
Even in our reboot-happy era, one would think reviving Crank Yankers would be an impossible task. And perhaps it is. Maybe it’s that dare that has caused Comedy Central, as per Deadline, to revive a show that burned bright but briefly, helping those last few years when prank calls were still fairly easy to make go out with a bang.
The revival won’t ignore the technology that’s taken over — and, in many ways, destroyed — our lives over the last dozen years since it went off the air. According to Comedy Central, Crank Yankers 2.0 will embrace our digital hellscape, in which “the world’s favorite profane puppets will be pranking on phones, social media, e-sport platforms and any venue where trouble can be made.”
Crank Yankers was created by Man Show alumni Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla, along with Daniel Kellison. All three will return for the reboot, even though Kimmel is busy with his increasingly progressive and thoughtful (read: anti-Man Show-ish) late night program, and even though Carolla is…co-starring with grey-haired far right pundit Dennis Prager in a documentary about the alleged evils of progressivism called No Safe Spaces? No, seriously, that’s an actual movie Carolla made using crowdfunded cash.
The original Yankers emerged during what is now apparent was the Golden Age of Prank Calling, following in the hallowed footsteps of the Jerky Boys, who once headlined a movie co-starring Oscar-winner Alan Arkin. Crank Yankers boasted a who’s-who of improv greats voicing the puppets, from Tracy Moran to Sarah Silverman to Wanda Sykes to Carolla and Kimmel themselves to (that’s right) rapper Biz Markie.
“Crank Yankers has always been my favorite show to make,” Kimmel said in a statement. “Nothing is more fun or makes me laugh harder than a great crank call and I am thrilled that Comedy Central asked us to do it again. At this time, I would like to ask all Americans to disable their caller ID. Thank you.”