Crank Yankers

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Crank Yankers
Crank Yankers.png
Created by Adam Carolla
Daniel Kellison
Jimmy Kimmel
Starring Tony Barbieri
Adam Carolla
Jim Florentine
Jimmy Kimmel
Tracy Morgan
Kevin Nealon
Sarah Silverman
Wanda Sykes
Biz Markie
Theme music composer Adam Schlesinger
Steven Gold[1]
Opening theme Adam Schlesinger, Steven Gold
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 70
Running time 21–22 minutes
Original network Comedy Central (2002–05)
MTV2 (2007)
Original release June 3, 2002 (2002-06-03) – March 30, 2007 (2007-03-30)

Crank Yankers is an American television show produced by Adam Carolla, Jimmy Kimmel and Daniel Kellison that featured actual crank calls made by show regulars and celebrity guests, and re-enacted onscreen by puppets for a visual aid to show the viewer what is happening in the call. The show premiered in 2002 on Comedy Central and returned to MTV2 on February 9, 2007, running again until March 30, 2007. The show screened in Australia on SBS Television and The Comedy Channel between 2003 and 2008.[citation needed]

Behind the scenes[edit]

The performers are given a basic outline of a premise by the writers, and call telephone numbers from a list of selected targets (known as "marks"). Using the basic premises, the performers improvise most of their lines, playing off of the responses of their marks, with the intention to keep them on the phone as long as possible.

With the exception of a few outside sources (including previous material from Jim Florentine and the Touch-Tone Terrorists), all the calls are made from Nevada. The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 makes it illegal in most states to record telephone calls without both parties' consent. Under Nevada law, only one of the parties has to give consent (i.e., the caller), so prank calls can be recorded without the consent of the prank victims. One result of this was the series' schedule of creating and airing new episodes was fairly sporadic due to most of the celebrities living in Los Angeles, having Los Angeles-based jobs, and so were only periodically able to go to Las Vegas to make calls. Adam Carolla, for example, took his radio program to Las Vegas once or twice a year, and while there would record new calls for the program.

The puppets are then constructed based on the various marks' voices, and, along with a series of stock characters (such as "Niles Standish", "Bobby Fletcher", and "Special Ed") based on the performers' character voices, the calls are re-enacted for the skits.

The main character puppets for the first season were constructed by Bob Flanagan's company Den Design with additional puppets built by BJ Guyer, Carol Binion, Rick Lyon, Ron Binion, Jim Kroupa, and Artie Esposito. An in-house puppet shop was set up for the following seasons to accommodate the fast-paced schedule of the show and the sheer volume of puppet characters required for each episode.

The puppets are puppeteered by Ronald Binion, Rick Lyon, BJ Guyer, Victor Yerrid, Paul McGinnis, Alice Dinean Vernon, and Artie Esposito.[citation needed]

Originally, the show was titled Prank Puppets; it was renamed after Comedy Central lawyers deemed that it implied malice.[2]

Regular characters[edit]

  • Karl Malone: Jimmy Kimmel's impression of then-NBA star Karl Malone. He regularly refers to himself in the third-person. "Don't hang up on Karl Malone."
  • Gladys Murphy (Wanda Sykes): A boisterous black woman who makes embarrassing announcements, generally of a scatological or sexual nature. Her many children do things like gluing her buttocks to the toilet and stealing money from a malfunctioning bank machine.
  • Niles Standish (Tony Barbieri): The British Earl of Yankerville, he is a rich and eccentric middle-aged pervert with homosexual tendencies. He frequently calls various services and asks for their price, then orders them to "double it." (Once even confusing someone by telling them to "cut it in half, and double it!").
  • Special Ed (Jim Florentine): Bobby Fletcher's mentally challenged younger cousin who constantly repeats himself, makes random comments, and shouts his catchphrase "Yay!" until the other caller gets frustrated. He makes a cameo in one of Bobby's prank calls, the "Let Me Put My Brother on the Phone" call. In two prank calls of his own (one to a movie theater and one to a video store), Ed reveals that his favorite movie is Air Bud. In the video-store call, he works in several references to The Shining.
  • Dick Birchum (Adam Carolla): A psychotic Vietnam War veteran whose hobbies include carpentry, Shotokan karate, spying on women in their beds or bathrooms by drilling holes or a hidden camera, and gun ownership. He has a 600-pound wife and conjoined twin daughters. He lost part of his right leg in the war and 3 right-hand fingers in a carpentry accident. He frequently refers to his time in Vietnam and "smoking hash out of a human skull."
  • Jimmy (Jimmy Kimmel): A Kimmel-based grown man who lives with his mother. He also has 2 young children who use foul language and play juvenile pranks.
  • Bobby Fletcher (Jim Florentine): Ed's drug-using underachiever older cousin. He is extremely rude and insulting, and known for generating copious amounts of gas and belching into the phone.
  • Elmer Higgins (Jimmy Kimmel): A crabby, long-winded stereotype of an elderly man (based on Kimmel's grandfather). He makes complaint calls and frequently goes off on unrelated, long-winded tangents about his younger days and various irrelevant subjects. He frequently blames the situations he's complaining about on his gay grandson, Terrance Catheter.
  • Helen Higgins (Susie Essman): Elmer's beautiful wife of over 60 years, she is an elderly Jewish woman who likes to proposition young men. Her son gave her a pet parrot who is well-versed in curse words. In a late-in-the-series sketch about Elmer wanting driving lessons, he mentions that she has died.
  • Landalious "The Truth" Truefeld (David Alan Grier): A former football player who likes to rap.
  • Spoonie Luv (Tracy Morgan): A smooth-talking African American hip hop-type character who makes lewd and suggestive comments. He often refers to himself as "Spoonie Luv from Up Above." In one particularly noteworthy prank call, he attempts to sell a video store tapes of himself masturbating.
  • Hadassah Guberman (Sarah Silverman): A Jewish female college student who works various part-time jobs, including conducting surveys for O magazine. She frequently asks intrusive questions and makes veiled passive-aggressive insults. Her sexuality and sanity seem highly questionable.
  • Terrence Catheter (Jimmy Kimmel): Elmer Higgins' grandson is an effeminate redhead who acts as spokesperson for various celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, Bill Cosby, Jared Fogle, J.K. Rowling, Mr. T, and the Olsen twins. He calls various places of business to book appearances and asks them to comply with the celebrities' ridiculous demands.
  • Tony Deloge (Bob Einstein): A loud-mouthed, fast-paced politician who calls random people to pander for votes as "district selectman." He occasionally tries to use his political power to get things for free.
  • Cammie Smith (Lisa Kushell): An oversexed, conceited, condescending 22-year-old exotic dancer.
  • Boomer and the Nudge (Jimmy Kimmel and Patton Oswalt): Two obnoxious morning-radio disc jockeys who call people to make "on-air dares."
  • Junkyard Willie (Touch-Tone Terrorists): An obstructionist in the form of a gravelly-voiced black man who is actually an import from the Touch-Tone Terrorists where he is a regular character. He appears in two sketches as a supervisor at YPS ("Yankerville Package Service").
  • Jim Bob the Handicapped Hillbilly (Touch-Tone Terrorists): A mentally challenged hillbilly who works with Junkyard Willie at YPS.
  • Sav Macauley (Dane Cook): The overly enthusiastic host of a phone game show, "The Phone Zone," where he calls people and asks ridiculous random trivia questions for cash prizes and interjects his own sound effects.
  • OCD Ken (Kevin Nealon): An accountant with obsessive-compulsive disorder who prefers cleanliness and even numbers. He often requests people to press the pound key as part of his disorder.
  • Danny (David Alan Grier): A man who repeatedly gets nervous or disgusted causing him to vomit over the phone. The vomit is depicted as an Exorcist-like liquid shooting out of the puppet's throat.
  • Chip Douglas (Fred Armisen): A Mexican immigrant who is perpetually building a house with minimal supplies and poor command of the English language. He makes two prank calls to newspaper offices, one to attempt to sell cartoons and the other (a prank call in Spanish) to inform a Spanish-language newspaper that he has not received that day's edition.
  • Katie (Katie Kimmel): Jimmy Kimmel's daughter made occasional appearances from 2003, initially with a few short lines but later making entire crank calls herself (notably pretending to be a drunken 9-year-old trying to order alcohol by phone).
  • Kevin (Kevin Kimmel): Jimmy Kimmel's son made occasional appearances from 2003, including as Elmer Higgins' grandson.
  • Foreign Guy (Dane Cook): A nameless immigrant who calls various places looking for assistance or to purchase something. To confuse the person he calls, he frequently switches between speaking in extremely broken English in an incomprehensible accent to speaking fluently, with no accent. The switch is demonstrated visually by having the puppet move between the two halves of a room across a clear dividing line.
  • Gene Winterbuck (Dane Cook): A wheelchair-bound young man who calls libraries requesting books with titles referring to disabilities, such as "Johnny NoodleLegs".
  • Lou Vilman (Kevin Nealon): An easily impressed guy who responds "Wow!" to everything.
  • Dick Rogers (Seth MacFarlane): A stereotypical fast-talking 1940s detective whose sketches appear in black-and-white. He'll often call to complain about issues that would make someone from the 1940s uncomfortable, such as being hit on by men at a gay bar or getting a haircut from a female hairdresser. He also calls the YMCA for help with his alcohol problem.[citation needed]


Jimmy Kimmel
Adam Carolla
Drew Carey
Dave Chappelle
Dane Cook
David Cross
Tracy Morgan
Sarah Silverman
Tony Barbieri
Jeff Goldblum
Jamie Kennedy
Jack Black
Tom Kenny
Kyle Gass
Susie Essman
Jim Florentine
Touch-Tone Terrorists
Fred Armisen
Nicole Sullivan
Kevin Nealon
Super Dave Osborne
David Alan Grier
Rick Rosner
Wanda Sykes
Snoop Dogg
Jack Osbourne
Sharon Osbourne
Billy West
Lisa Kushell
Stephen Colbert
Patton Oswalt
Denis Leary
Biz Markie
Seth MacFarlane
Mitch Hedberg
Dr. Drew Pinsky
Wu-Tang Clan
Seth Green
Lil' Jon
Andy Milonakis
Ryan Dunn
Nick Cannon
Kenan Thompson
Robert Smigel
Josh Gardner
Good Charlotte
Jonathan Kimmel
Gilbert Gottfried
Bobcat Goldthwait
Bob Odenkirk

Chief artists working for the show include:

Xavier Corby
Chris Davis
Todd Hulin
Shane Klein
David Kolodny-Nagy
Dutch Merrick
Kristie Moore
Brook Shafer
Jason Tyne
Mark Walbaum


Season 1 (2002)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 1 "Jimmy Kimmel & Wanda Sykes" TBA TBA June 2, 2002 (2002-06-02)
2 2 "Denis Leary & Sarah Silverman" TBA TBA June 9, 2002 (2002-06-09)
3 3 "Wu-Tang Clan" TBA TBA June 16, 2002 (2002-06-16)
4 4 "Jimmy Kimmel & Wanda Sykes" TBA TBA June 23, 2002 (2002-06-23)
5 5 "David Alan Grier & Dave Attell" TBA TBA June 30, 2002 (2002-06-30)
6 6 "Susie Essman & Jim Florentine" TBA TBA July 7, 2002 (2002-07-07)
7 7 "Sarah Silverman & Tracy Morgan" TBA TBA July 14, 2002 (2002-07-14)
8 8 "Kevin Nealon & Super Dave Osborne" TBA TBA July 21, 2002 (2002-07-21)
9 9 "Jimmy Kimmel & Adam Carolla" TBA TBA July 28, 2002 (2002-07-28)
10 10 "Dane Cook & Sarah Silverman" TBA TBA August 4, 2002 (2002-08-04)

Season 2 (2003–2004)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11 1 "Jimmy Kimmel & Sarah Silverman" TBA TBA March 4, 2003 (2003-03-04)
12 2 "Wanda Sykes & Robert Schimmel" TBA TBA March 11, 2003 (2003-03-11)
13 3 "Snoop Dogg & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA March 18, 2003 (2003-03-18)
14 4 "Jeff Garlin & Gilbert Gottfried" TBA TBA March 25, 2003 (2003-03-25)
15 5 "Fred Armisen & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA April 1, 2003 (2003-04-01)
16 6 "Wanda Sykes & Bobcat Goldthwait" TBA TBA April 8, 2003 (2003-04-08)
17 7 "Adam Carolla & Jim Florentine" TBA TBA April 15, 2003 (2003-04-15)
18 8 "Adam Carolla & Dr. Drew Pinsky" TBA TBA April 22, 2003 (2003-04-22)
19 9 "Jimmy Kimmel & David Alan Grier" TBA TBA April 29, 2003 (2003-04-29)
20 10 "Fred Armisen & Sarah Silverman" TBA TBA May 6, 2003 (2003-05-06)
21 11 "Jimmy Kimmel & Fred Armisen" TBA TBA September 16, 2003 (2003-09-16)
22 12 "Wanda Sykes & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA September 23, 2003 (2003-09-23)
23 13 "Adam Carolla & Kevin Kimmel" TBA TBA September 30, 2003 (2003-09-30)
24 14 "Jimmy Kimmel & Gilbert Gottfried" TBA TBA October 7, 2003 (2003-10-07)
25 15 "David Alan Grier & Super Dave Osborne" TBA TBA October 14, 2003 (2003-10-14)
26 16 "Robert Smigel & Adam Carolla" TBA TBA October 21, 2003 (2003-10-21)
27 17 "David Alan Grier & Jeff Garlin" TBA TBA October 28, 2003 (2003-10-28)
28 18 "Jimmy Kimmel & Adam Carolla" TBA TBA November 4, 2003 (2003-11-04)
29 19 "Bob Odenkirk & Fred Armisen" TBA TBA November 11, 2003 (2003-11-11)
30 20 "Jim Florentine & Kathy Griffin" TBA TBA November 18, 2003 (2003-11-18)
31 21 "Sarah Silverman & David Alan Grier" TBA TBA February 10, 2004 (2004-02-10)
32 22 "Kevin Nealon & Wanda Sykes" TBA TBA February 17, 2004 (2004-02-17)
33 23 "Jamie Kennedy & David Alan Grier" TBA TBA February 24, 2004 (2004-02-24)
34 24 "Wanda Sykes & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA March 2, 2004 (2004-03-02)
35 25 "Adam Carolla & David Alan Grier" TBA TBA March 9, 2004 (2004-03-09)
36 26 "Sarah Silverman & Jeff Goldblum" TBA TBA March 16, 2004 (2004-03-16)
37 27 "Seth Green & Jamie Kennedy" TBA TBA March 23, 2004 (2004-03-23)
38 28 "Wanda Sykes & Adam Carolla" TBA TBA March 30, 2004 (2004-03-30)
39 29 "Kevin Nealon & Sarah Silverman" TBA TBA April 6, 2004 (2004-04-06)
40 30 "Jimmy Kimmel & Fred Armisen" TBA TBA April 13, 2004 (2004-04-13)

Season 3 (2004–2005)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
41 1 "Eminem & Tracy Morgan" TBA TBA July 20, 2004 (2004-07-20)
42 2 "Jack & Sharon Osbourne" TBA TBA July 27, 2004 (2004-07-27)
43 3 "Andy Richter & Sarah Silverman" TBA TBA August 3, 2004 (2004-08-03)
44 4 "Bob Odenkirk & Adam Carolla" TBA TBA August 10, 2004 (2004-08-10)
45 5 "Jimmy Kimmel & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA August 17, 2004 (2004-08-17)
46 6 "Jimmy Kimmel & Adam Carolla" TBA TBA August 24, 2004 (2004-08-24)
47 7 "Wanda Sykes & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA August 31, 2004 (2004-08-31)
48 8 "Adam Carolla & David Alan Grier" TBA TBA September 7, 2004 (2004-09-07)
49 9 "Dane Cook & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA September 14, 2004 (2004-09-14)
50 10 "Tracy Morgan & Adam Carolla" TBA TBA September 21, 2004 (2004-09-21)
51 11 "Wanda Sykes & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA December 21, 2004 (2004-12-21)
52 12 "Tracy Morgan & Jimmy Kimmel" TBA TBA January 12, 2005 (2005-01-12)
53 13 "Ludacris & Drew Carey" TBA TBA January 19, 2005 (2005-01-19)
54 14 "Bob Odenkirk & Tracy Morgan" TBA TBA February 2, 2005 (2005-02-02)
55 15 "Drew Carey & Jeff Goldblum" TBA TBA February 9, 2005 (2005-02-09)
56 16 "Jason Schwartzman & David Alan Grier" TBA TBA February 16, 2005 (2005-02-16)
57 17 "Wanda Sykes & Sarah Silverman" TBA TBA February 23, 2005 (2005-02-23)
58 18 "Tracy Morgan & Jimmy Kimmel" TBA TBA March 2, 2005 (2005-03-02)
59 19 "Ludacris & Kevin Nealon" TBA TBA March 9, 2005 (2005-03-09)
60 20 "Holiday Special" TBA TBA March 16, 2005 (2005-03-16)
61 21 "Best-of Special 1" TBA TBA March 23, 2005 (2005-03-23)
62 22 "Best-of Special 2" TBA TBA March 30, 2005 (2005-03-30)

Season 4 (2007)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
63 1 "Lil Jon & Sarah Silverman" TBA TBA February 9, 2007 (2007-02-09)
64 2 "Jimmy Kimmel & Steve-O" TBA TBA February 16, 2007 (2007-02-16)
65 3 "Dane Cook & Chamillionaire" TBA TBA February 23, 2007 (2007-02-23)
66 4 "Good Charlotte & Lil Jon" TBA TBA March 2, 2007 (2007-03-02)
67 5 "Dave Chappelle & Seth Green" TBA TBA March 9, 2007 (2007-03-09)
68 6 "Andy Milonakis & Ryan Dunn" TBA TBA March 16, 2007 (2007-03-16)
69 7 "Adam Carolla & Dane Cook" TBA TBA March 23, 2007 (2007-03-23)
70 8 "Jimmy Kimmel & Nick Cannon" TBA TBA March 30, 2007 (2007-03-30)

DVD releases[edit]

DVD Name Release Date Ep # Additional Information
Season 1 Uncensored September 28, 2004 10 "Dial 'T' for Torment: Mini-Documentary, Two Unaired Calls.
Season 2 Volume 1 Uncensored April 26, 2005 15 Unaired Calls.
Season 2 Volume 2 Uncensored November 29, 2005 15 4 exclusive audio calls from Fred Armisen, Eminem, Jim Florentine, and Jimmy Kimmel.
The Best of Crank Yankers December 4, 2007 N/A Includes 58 favorite calls.

There are currently no plans for a DVD release for seasons 3 & 4

CD releases[edit]

  • The Best Uncensored Crank Calls, Volume 1 (2002)
  • The Best Uncensored Crank Calls, Volume 2 (2002)
  • The Best Uncensored Crank Calls, Volume 3 (2003)


  1. ^ [1] "Crank Yankers" at IMDB
  2. ^ "The Adam Carolla Show: Matt Atchity (January 6, 2012)". Podcast. ACE Broadcasting. January 6, 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2012. @31:00min: Crank Yankers was originally called 'Prank Puppets' and the pussy fucking lawyers said ... 

External links[edit]