As one of the great pranksters of our time, Joey Skaggs has tricked many newspapers, television stations and other media into reporting on... well, nonsense. The Cathouse for Dogs never existed. Nor did New York City ever intend to sell the Brooklyn Bridge in a lottery. The Celebrity Sperm Bank Auction never took place. And yet the Today Show, ABC, The New York Times and many other media outlets fell for the stories Joey Skaggs made look real.
Cathouse for Dogs
Back in 1976, Joey Skaggs placed a small add in the Village Voice, offering ‘a savory selection of hot bitches’ for the sexual gratification of dogs. The phone rang off the hook as hundreds of people called to talk to New York's first and only dog pimp. Many dog owners expressed ideas about how their pet might be given enjoyment.
Then the news media called. So Joey mobilized 25 friends who were actors and they found a SoHo loft where they could receive a television crew. There, 15 dogs were paraded back and forth across the room as Joey and his friends explained the Cathouse for Dogs. Nothing dirty happened, but enough material was shot during the performance to provide WABC TV with input for a documentary on animal rights. A documentary which was awarded that year’s Emmy Award.
The Bureau of Animal affairs and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were enraged about the dog bordello, thus evoking even more attention from the press nationwide. Then Joey decided the hoax had lasted long enough and in a press conference, he announced that the whole thing had been a conceptual performance piece. Once again, the media were full of the Cathouse, this time to announce it had never existed. Only WABC TV never had the courage to retract the story.
More about Joey Skaggs
At Joey’s site, choose the ‘Retro’ button to find a retrospective of his work. Some of the best pranks listed are the Hippie Bus Tour to Queens (1968), Celebrity Sperm Bank (1976), Bad Guys Talent Management Agency (1984), The Fat Squad (1986) and the Brooklyn Bridge Lottery (1992).