Crank Yankers Returning

Ever since caller ID came along and people started blocking unfamiliar phone numbers on their cell phones, prank calling became a relic of the past. But Comedy Central doesn’t think so, because they’re bringing their prank call series Crank Yankers back to cable with an order for a 20-episode revival.

For those who may not be familiar, Crank Yankers was a comedy series that featured comedians making prank calls to unsuspecting businesses and people. But the prank calls themselves were recreated with puppets and the real audio from the actual prank call.

Variety has word from Comedy Central announcing Crank Yankers returning at their Television Critics Association winter press tour on Monday. However, since prank calls aren’t exactly easy to pull off nowadays, the series is being updated for the digital age. While there will still be prank phone calls, it will also have puppets fooling people on social media, e-sport platforms and other forms of communication. Comedy Central president Kent Alterman said (via our own Fred Topel on the ground at the TCAs):

“We’re excited to really explore all the new ways that people are communicating. So it’s everything from landlines and cell phones to eSports platforms and dating apps, and it really feels endless.”

Jimmy Kimmel will return as executive producer of the Crank Yankers revival, and it will be the first project under his new Kimmelot production banner. Kimmel’s fellow comedian and The Man Show co-host Adam Carolla will also executive produce along with Daniel Kellison. Here’s what the late night talk show host had to say about the return of Crank Yankers:

“‘Crank Yankers’ has always been my favorite show to make. 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.”

Kimmel is also keeping things in the family by having his younger brother Jonathan Kimmel act as showrunner and executive producer. The younger Kimmel previously worked on the original iteration Crank Yankers, but he’s also written for the Comedy Central shows Drawn Together and That’s My Bush.

The original Crank Yankers aired from 2002-2005 on Comedy Central, but it re-emerged for a bit in 2007 on MTV 2. The series was famous for featuring comedians likeKimmel, Carolla, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, Seth Green, Dane Cook, Wanda Sykes, Bob Odenkirk, Seth MacFarlane and Sarah Silverman as the prank callers. Even Jeff Goldblum and Eminem got in on the fun. Hopefully the new Crank Yankers brings some of them back and has a new roster of comedian pranksters. Here’s one of the old gems featuring Tracy Morgan placing a raunchy personal ad as Spoonie Luv:

However, Crank Yankers will likely have to make some changes from the original iteration of the show beyond their methods of pranking. One character in particular isn’t likely to make a comeback, and that’s Special Ed (the puppet at the top of the page wearing a helmet). The disabled character was the younger cousin of another puppet character named Bobby Fletcher. When making phone calls, Ed constantly repeats himself, makes non-sequitur comments, and frequently says “Yay!” That character isn’t exactly politically correct anymore (and wasn’t back in the 2000s, either), so I wouldn’t expect him to make a comeback.

It’s not clear when Crank Yankers will return to Comedy Central yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out.

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