THROWBACK: The Most Hilarious TVI Maltese Prank Calls
"Yes, do you speak English? I would like to make a complaint."
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... people's main source of communication with others was a telephone connected to a wall in their home. This strange device was called a landline, and you had to memorize a combination of six numbers, or look it up in a big yellow book, to be able to call your friends or family.
This lead to some hilarious—and other painfully awkward—moments when a person ended up calling the wrong number by mistake, but there were people who did the whole thing on purpose with some classically beautiful results. Enter a big part of Maltese culture: TVI Prank Calls. Here's a list of some of our favourite episodes from over a decade ago, featuring the one and only Joevic Smith.
1. Water Services
Featuring some of the most memorable broken English ever recorded, "I am not telling you this, I am not telling you that, this didn't happen, this never happen, I didn't imagine."
2. Enemalta vs The Legends Dining Gallery
"Enemalta" calls a restaurant in Bugibba telling them they'll have to shut the power down for two whole months (xahrejn), the owner explodes, and right when the issue is looking like it's going straight to the office of the Prime Minister himself, they let him know it's actually two hours (sagħtejn). In return, the owner can't really say anything because they blame this misunderstanding on an employee's speech impediment.
This one includes the beautiful: "Mhux qed ngħajjat - jien minni ngħajjat, leħni jwassal minnu!"
The fact that they actually spend two minutes debating the number they need to call, just to request whether it's possible to order a live chicken, is true testament to how TVI excelled at wasting people's time.
"FOUR EIGHT ZERO"
4. Alcohol Support
A petrified seventeen-year-old calls 151 for prevention against his alcoholic problems because he just had his very first beer. The kid is worried that he'll follow the example of his father, who had a shot of vodka once on Easter Sunday. Escalates into suggestions of councillors, medication, and the best one, "Issa talk to the alcoholic people" (i.e. the Alcohol Prevention Unit).
Also includes the monumental, "Nooo way suwijiċidju, nooo wayyy"
Two guys call a doctor because one of them was given a pill and was told it was just a Panadol. "Imma ma naħsibx li Panadol ta', għax taf x'qalli? ECSTASY...HE SAID." A short but gold prank call that quickly escalates into The Horrorist's One Night In New York City blaring into the telephone set.
Ends with the beautiful, "Intih x'jixrob? Hekk xi Red Bull forsi?"
6. Burger King
A two-on-one heated confrontation between the prank callers and a Burger King manager. Why is this on our favourites list? Because at a point, one of the prank callers actually pretends he's the manager of another Burger King branch—one the guy on the phone knows by name—and he still manages to get away with it! Classic.
Comes with the awesome burn, "Hux taħdem, mhux tagħmel il-pulpetti taf!"
7. Telephone Technicians
One of the most perfectly-executed prank calls ever.
Initially posing as two technicians from Maltacom who need to record everyone in College Street (Rabat) blowing ten times into their telephone set, the guys at TVI end up being unexpectedly and randomly asked a couple of technical questions by the victim. You can easily feel that as every second goes by, they're trying very hard not to burst out laughing. Props to the guy for being extremely compliant though.
"Orrajt Joevic, għidlu jibda jonfoħ!"
8. Marsa Racing Pigeon Society Club
From the second the secretary picks up and the prank caller repeats the name of the Pigeon Club, you know it's going to be good. Mr. Smith wants to know whether the Marsa pigeons want to join a marathon of runners from Valletta to Mellieha and bet on whether the people will beat the birds in a race.
It's four minutes long and the best part of it all is that the whole thing doesn't seem too farfetched for the secretary...that is, until the very end of the call, when he's asked whether the President of the Club (not the Prime Minister) is a pigeon or not.
There is an amazing moment in the phonecall where the secretary actually contributes to the fake storyline and you can see that pranksters love it and go with it:
- "But the people [who race], the owners of the pigeons?"
- "YESSSS, exactly."
The classic of all classics. Mahmed calls Eden Cinema to complain that he wasn't let in because he's of Arab descent. The manager asks for him to show up to the premises in person to discuss things properly, and Mahmed promptly replies with, "Niġi hemmhekk ijwa, imma niġi bil-mus."
The rest is history.