Quebec comedy duo prank call Palin
The Canadian Press
November 1, 2008 at 5:56 PM EDT
MONTREAL — In an over-the-top accent, one half of a notorious Quebec comedy duo claims to be the president of France as he describes sex with his famous wife, the joy of killing animals and Hustler magazine's latest Sarah Palin porno spoof.
At the other end of the line? An oblivious Sarah Palin.
The Masked Avengers, a radio pairing notorious for prank calls to celebrities and heads of state, notched its latest victory Saturday when it released a recording of a six-minute call with Ms. Palin, who thought she was talking with Nicolas Sarkozy.
Throughout the call, which was making the rounds in U.S. political circles by day's end Saturday, Ms. Palin and the pranksters discuss politics, pundits, and the perils of going hunting with Vice-President Dick Cheney.
“We have such great respect for you, John McCain and I, we love you,” Ms. Palin gushes, evidently unaware she's speaking to an infamous Quebec comedian named Marc-Antoine Audette.
At one point, Ms. Palin even comes close to confirming her intention to one day run for president, when Mr. Audette slyly remarks he can see her taking over the big desk in the Oval office.
“Maybe in eight years,” she replies with a nervous chuckle.
Over the course of the interview, Ms. Palin doesn't seem to realize she's being tricked until Mr. Audette comes clean near the end of the call.
“Ohhhh . . . have we been pranked?” she says. Seconds later, Ms. Palin's aide can be heard taking the phone before the line goes dead.
Throughout the conversation, Mr. Audette drops plenty of clues that something's amiss.
He identifies French singer and actor Johnny Hallyday as his special adviser to the U.S., singer Stef Carse as Canada's prime minister and Quebec comedian and radio host Richard Z. Sirois as the provincial premier.
“We should go hunting together,” Ms. Palin offers when Mr. Audette professes a love of hunting — or, more precisely, killing animals. “We can have a lot of fun together while we're getting work done. We could kill two birds with one stone.”
Mr. Audette then jokes that they shouldn't bring Mr. Cheney on the hunt, referring to the 2006 incident in which the vice-president shot and injured a friend while hunting quail.
“I'll be a careful shot,” responds Ms. Palin, who praises Mr. Sarkozy throughout the call.
“I look forward to working with you and getting to meet you personally — and your beautiful wife, oh my goodness,” she says.
“You've added a lot of energy to your country with that beautiful family of yours.”
Mr. Audette then tells her his wife, Carla Bruni, a singer and former model, was jealous to hear Mr. Sarkozy would be speaking to Ms. Palin.
“Give her a big hug for me,” Ms. Palin responds.
Mr. Audette goes on to describe Ms. Bruni as “hot in bed” and claims she's written a song for Ms. Palin, the French title of which translates as “Lipstick on a Pig.” In English, Mr. Audette says the song is about Joe the Plumber.
Finally, he mentions a notorious Hustler video titled “Nailin' Paylin,” describing it as “the documentary they made on your life.”
“Oh, good, thank you, yes,” Ms. Palin replies.
“That was really edgy,” Mr. Audette says.
In an interview Saturday, Mr. Audette told The Canadian Press it wasn't easy setting up the interview with Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate, and described the accomplishment as the pair's biggest triumph to date.
“It really took a lot of work,” he said.
“We had to go through the Secret Service, the people in her entourage. It's the biggest coup so far. We're proud to add (this prank) to our top hits.”
It took the pair, known for securing surreptitious interviews with celebrities, politicians and heads of state, five days to set up the call, Mr. Audette said. The secret to getting powerful people on the line? Time and persistence.
“I wanted to see how (Ms. Palin) was on an intellectual level,” Mr. Audette said, comparing the latest prank to the duo's crank call with pop idol Britney Spears.
“You can see that she's, well, not really brilliant.”
In a statement Saturday, Ms. Palin's team said the vice-presidential nominee was “mildly amused” to learn she was the victim of a prank.
“Gov. Palin was mildly amused to learn that she had joined the ranks of heads of state, including President Sarkozy, and other celebrities in being targeted by these pranksters,” said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.
“C'est la vie.”
Mr. Audette, too, was contrite afterward.
“I hope we won't have a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay.”
The well-known radio prankster duo of Mr. Audette and Sebastien Trudel have most recently tricked Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger. Other celebrity victims include Ms. Spears and Bill Gates.
In 2007, they conned Mr. Sarkozy himself by impersonating Prime Minister Stephen Harper. And their 2006 call to former French president Jacques Chirac was rated by the BBC as one of the top 30 all-time best moments in radio history.
Known as the “Masked Avengers,” they've been popular on the Quebec comedy scene for a decade.