WTF Fun Fact 13032 – Stephen Hawking, Practical Joker

Physicist Stephen Hawking was known for many things. But those who knew him well knew had had a wicked sense of humor. Despite his lifelong battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gerig’s Disease) which left him paralyzed, he was still a fan of practical jokes.

Stephen Hawking had wicked sense of humor

While he used technology for just about every function, including speaking, his humor managed to shine through. For example, according to Biography.com (cited below):

“Prior to the February 2015 Academy Awards, for which his biopic The Theory of Everything had garnered numerous nominations, Hawking said he was happy to let leading man Eddie Redmayne use his signature computerized voice box for the film. ‘Unfortunately,’ he added, ‘Eddie did not inherit my good looks.'”

Hawking’s practical joke

Hawking was also a fan of practical jokes. After the physicist died in March 2018, BBC science correspondent Pallab Ghosh told a story of a joke he played at Cambridge University in 2004. It’s one that probably stopped a few hearts – but not his own.

“Seeking to adjust his lighting, the camera operator yanked a cable from a socket, at which point an alarm sounded and Hawking slumped forward as if unplugged from his life support. The anxious visitors rushed over to find Hawking very much alive and giddy at his joke – the alarm was simply over the office computer losing its power supply.”

That’s right, he pretended to fake his own death!

We’re sure more than a few people relived that joke in their heads afterward!

Hawking often called his sense of humor the secret to surviving such a terrible disease for so long. He was one of the longest-living ALS sufferers, diagnosed at the young age of 21.

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Source: “10 of Stephen Hawking’s Funniest Zingers” — Biography.com

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