In 2003, Punk'd hit MTV screens with an idea: what would happen if celebrities were subjected to elaborate pranks while being filmed on hidden cameras? Hosted by Ashton Kutcher, the show gave us a behind the scenes look into the lives of famous people, and showed us how they would react during moments of heightened stress.
The infamous first episode featured Justin Timberlake, whose punk involved government agents seizing his assets from his home and recording studio. Time magazine has since ranked the prank number 3 on its list of 32 epic moments in reality tv history. The first run of Punk'd had ten seasons, all with Kutcher as host and executive producer. After a hiatus between 2007 and 2012, it returned for a new season with Justin Bieber as the host.
Punk'd quickly became a cultural phenomenon; it's now accepted that to be famous is to eventually be punk'd. In later episodes, the mere sight of Ashton was enough for a celeb to know what was going on and get ready to say the iconic line, "I'm [insert celebrity here] and I just got punk'd". Throughout its eleven seasons, huge names including Elijah Wood, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Lovato, Hilary Duff and Beyonce have fallen victim to a punk. To celebrate its legacy, we wanted to count down the best moments from one the most iconic MTV shows of all time.
8. Kim Kardashian blows up a petrol tank, isn't bothered
In one of my favourite responses to a prank in the history of the show, Kim finds herself in a wild situation where Scott Disick's altercation with a fan culminates in his car blowing up a petrol station. Yep, an argument over a missing wallet leads to the police turning up to a petrol station that is literally on fire, all while Kim stays completely unfazed. She calls Khloe in the car during the prank and merely says, "Scott is so crazy". A truly iconic celebrity moment.
7. A double punk-ing with Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber
When Miley tries to punk her friend Justin Bieber, it initially seems as though we're getting a rare behind the scenes look at a prank gone horribly wrong. Miley's punk gets served right back at her after Bieber pretends to hit someone in the middle of the scene. As she emerges from the MTV punk booth, thinking she'd gotten someone seriously hurt, it becomes evident that the tables have turned. Cyrus is now the pranked, and Biebz proudly declares himself un-punk-able.
6. Rihanna's accused of stealing from children
In this episode, Rihanna gets accused of stealing money out of the hat of two children busking, which would be pretty rich as a celebrity. Despite thinking she might actually be arrested by the police who show up on the scene, Rihanna remains calm and assertive, before Ashton Kutcher sneaks up behind her. Cue my favourite facepalm moment ever.
5. Kanye West acts exactly like Kanye West in the face of his punk
Kanye is one of those celebrities where you really never know what you'll get. When Kutcher organises for a fake LA Film Commissioner to turn up to Kanye's music video set and threaten to shut it down, Kanye gets back at him. He thinks his film roll will be confiscated, so steals it for himself and attempts to drive off the set, prompting Ashton Kutcher to run after the car. Top reaction from Ye.
4. Justin Timberlake sets the bar for Punk'd breakdowns
Justin Timberlake was Ashton's first ever punk-ing victim, and the scene was truly iconic. It was high stakes, involving a frantic phone call to JT's mum, a flirty government agent and Justin close to tears thinking he'd be losing his dogs. In this infamous first episode, Justin Timberlake gets tricked into believing that government agents are seizing his property, his pets and assets from his recording studio because of unpaid taxes. Time magazine has since ranked the prank number 3 on its list of 32 epic moments in reality TV history. God bless.
3. Hugh Jackman thinks that he has set a whole neighbourhood on fire
In one of the most elaborate pranks of the series, poor Hugh Jackman is led to believe he's responsible for completely setting a house ablaze. When the fire marshalls turn up, they tell Jackman that he's going downtown for interrogation. Pyrotechnics are going off like crazy, and he truly thinks he may be going to jail. When he learns it's a punk, his face goes from shock, to anger, to laughter; to almost throwing up in the bushes.
2. Taylor Swift ruins a fancy boat wedding
Truly showing off the budget MTV is willing to drop to punk unsuspecting celebrities, Taylor Swift is led to believe that while playing with fireworks, she sets an entire boat on fire. Justin Bieber gets Swift to light off a sparkler, and it's not long before a boat in the distance is set ablaze, and a bride and groom are escaping to shore. Poor Swift is comforted by the bride, and is horrified when she learns its a prank, calling Biebz "the worst". Tbh, I would be like that too if I thought just I'd ruined someone's special day.
1. Drake, an earthquake and The Secret Service
In a seriously over the top episode, Drake thinks he's on his way to meet the US Vice President when an 'earthquake' hits the parking garage that he's in. The prank starts to spiral, with a tasered pregnant lady, aftershocks and a random man getting in the car, all while Drake continues to cry out, "I'm here to meet the vice president! I'm with the secret service!" Elaborate, chaotic and one of the best pranks of the series.
Watch each dramatic moment from this list (minus JT) unfold below, and catch every episode of Punk'd here.