The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

89° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Prankster profits from dirty deeds

    Jeff Goldblatt is probably not a name you know, but you may have called his phone number before. I know I have. Creator of the Rejection Hotline, Goldblatt operates Humor Hotlines, a business dedicated to the creation and dissemination of phony phone numbers. He is responsible for many crushed suitors who have been denied access to a fair maiden’s cell number.

    Goldblatt’s career trajectory is a bit of a cosmic prank. In a phone interview, he said, “”I put up the rejection hotline as a joke. My friends thought it was funny and told their friends, and they thought it was funny. Next thing we knew, it was getting thousands of calls a day. It just took off virally. I’ve always been a little bit of a wise-ass, and I kind of just turned that into my profession.””

    After a few years, Goldblatt created more funny hotlines for the newly minted company Humor Hotlines. Now they have about 100 hotlines and receive 59 million calls a year. With hotlines ranging from How to Keep an Idiot Occupied to the Outsource a Friendship to India hotline, the company reaches a large cross-section of humor styles.

    Naturally, April Fool’s Day is one of the company’s strongest showings. Goldblatt has even created a number specifically for the day.

    “”Last year, we put up the official April Fool’s Day Assistant hotline, which is just a number that anybody can use. It’s more of a broad number that, no matter what they were told to call the number for, they realize they were the victim of a prank,”” he said.

    The company continues to grow, launching three new humor hotlines every month. It notifies its fanbase with a text message, alerting the deviant youth of the world that new numbers are available for their twisted means.

    The growth of social media has provided pranksters with new opportunities. Goldblatt related such a story: “”We had one random Thursday in December of last year where somebody made a post on Twitter that Best Buy was giving away $500 gift cards to the first 5,000 people who called the number. They posted the number to our How to Keep an Idiot Occupied hotline and people kept retweeting it. It got retweeted like 3,000 times. We ended up getting 1.8 million calls that day.””

    Perhaps Goldblatt’s greatest prank is the propagation of his company through its basic premise. When someone gives out one of Humor Hotlines’ numbers, they are providing not only business but advertisement. It is business if the victim of the prank calls the number. But if that victim likes the joke and chooses to pass it on, the original act was one of advertising.

    Despite creating such an insidious company, Goldblatt said he does not even pull that many pranks. “”It’s been a while since I actually pulled a prank on somebody. I usually just provide the outlet for other people to prank someone,”” he said.

    Be wary tomorrow. Goldblatt’s work is everywhere, whether he admits it or not.

    —-

    IF YOU CALL:

    April Fool’s Day Assistance Hotline:

    413-497-0033

    Outsource a Friendship to India:

    267-436-5128

    How to Keep an Idiot Entertained:

    401-285-0696

    The Original Rejection Hotline:

    212-660-2245

     

    More to Discover
    Activate Search