The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
Hoaxes Throughout History
Middle AgesEarly Modern1700s1800-1840s1850-1890s
1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s21st Century2014
Abu Sharmouta and the Gag Name Prank
The classic example of the "gag name" prank is to tell a reporter your name is "Haywood Jablome" — and hope the reporter doesn't think too long about what phrase that name sounds like.

Haywood Jablome digging out a snowdrift. Fargo Forum - Dec 27, 2009

An older example: back in 1930, students at Cornell made headlines by getting politicians to praise the legacy of one "Hugo N. Frye" (you go and fry), supposed founder of the Republican party in New York state.

A more recent version of the prank occurred earlier this year when San Francisco station KTVU reported that the pilots of the crashed Asiana Airlines Flight 214 were "Captain Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk," and "Bang Ding Ow." The station had apparently been told those names by an NTSB intern who was subsequently let go.

And the gag name prank has now again been in the news — but this time with an Arabic twist.

Following an armed robbery at the University of Houston, a TV correspondent for KTRK news interviewed a student who claimed to have been a witness. He told the reporter his name was "Abu Sharmouta."

Footage of this interview has become an "internet sensation" in the Middle East, because "Abu Sharmouta" was not the interviewee's real name. The phrase means "father of a whore" in Arabic. (I'm guessing it's the Arabic equivalent of "S.O.B.")

Not only did the interviewee give a false name, he also lied about having witnessed the crime. He was a U of H student who later explained he pulled the prank on the spur of the moment as a way to blow off steam during finals. []

I'm giving this prank the thumbs down. It seems to me that the gag name prank becomes meaningless if you use foreign phrases that a reporter can't reasonably be expected to know. Though evidently it was humorous to Arabic speakers to hear this bogus name repeated on the news.
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 19, 2013

What's not funny about using an insult like that? I've used a choice phrase much like that as a name (French - "Go screw your mother") when dealing with a collection agency that would not take my word and a copy of a death certificate that my mother was dead and would not be paying a debt.
Posted by KDP  in  Madill, OK  on  Thu Dec 19, 2013  at  03:20 PM
My favourite website (not spam, read the name)
Posted by Mr R  on  Fri Dec 20, 2013  at  03:30 AM


Note: By becoming a member you can bypass the captchas, and also post in the Hoax Forum. But because the automated member registration process was being overwhelmed by spammers, we're now forced to sign-up new members by request only. Email "curator at" if you'd like to be a member. Or use our Contact Form.
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.