Category:April fools' comics

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  • Comics (or other happenings related to xkcd) that were put up on April Fools' Day (or shortly after) as an April Fools' Day joke.
    • There have been an annual celebration of April fools' Day every year since 2007, with a comic celebrating it released every year since 2011, except for 2017, where there was no celebration of any kind.
  • Click to expand for a more detailed explanation:


In 2006, the first year that xkcd released in March and April, there was no comic released on April 1st and no April Fools' comic was released. The two comics before and after were 83: Katamari from March 31st and 84: National Language from April 3rd.

Randall first posted an April Fools' comic on Sunday, April 1, 2007. This comic ("Syndication") was not numbered; sequentially, it came between 242: The Difference and 243: Appropriate Term. It has not been preserved in the official xkcd archives.

For April Fools' Day 2008 Randall created 404: Not Found, which is a meta-comic, since it in fact doesn't exist. But that he considers it a comic is both made clear in the explanation for said "comic" and also since he links to it in his 2018 April fools' comic 1975: Right Click, from a fools' menu that links to all his comic alphabetically by title.

The comic for April 1st 2009 had no obvious ties to April Fools' Day, but on that day Randall made an April Fool in another way. See the Trivia section for 563: Fermirotica, released that day.

April 1st, 2010 didn't coincide with a comic release. However, on that day the site was altered to mimic a Unix command line interface, the so called UniXKCD. (This happened wile 721: Flatland was the newest comic, but it was released March 31st and had nothing to do with April Fools' Day, see this trivia).

Starting on Friday, April 1st, 2011 with 880: Headache, Randall has released a real April Fools' Day joke annually, except 2017. Although on several occasions these comics have been delayed because the project got out of hand and could not be finished in time.

Beginning with the second year in that row, with 1037: Umwelt, he moved the release day to Sunday April 1st 2012, and thus began the practice of releasing an April Fools Day comic on April 1st, notwithstanding what day of the week it fell on by shifting the comic's release to that day. Typically it would thus replace the next release day, so there would not be a comic on Monday the 2nd or 3rd of April, if April 1st fell in the weekend.

This worked for the next three years with 1193: Externalities in 2013, 1350: Lorenz in 2014 (first Tuesday release) and 1506: xkcloud in 2015. But then the project became so complicated that in 2016, the release was delayed until Monday April 4th with 1663: Garden.

The yearly trend thus continued until 2017, where no comics were released on April 1st. And the two comics around the date had nothing to do with such a joke. See more on this in the trivia section of the first of these two, 1818: Rayleigh Scattering. There was also no delayed fools' comic as has been the case in other years where the release of a fools' comic was delayed to later than April 1st.

Then from 2018 Randall once again began releasing April Fools' Day comic every year. In 2018 he again moved the release day from Monday April 2nd to Sunday April 1st with 1975: Right Click. In this comic he both links to 404: Not Found and UniXKCD two of his previous "not a real comic" April Fools' Day jokes. In 2019 April 1st was a Monday so a normal release day, and he released 2131: Emojidome, another user generated comic.

In 2020 he again had trouble and the release of 2288: Collector's Edition was delayed two days for a Friday April 3rd release. Instead the planned Friday comic 2289: Scenario 4 was released on Saturday.

In 2021 2445: Checkbox was released on Thursday April 1st, making it the first April Fools' Day comic to be released on a Thursday. Only Saturday has yet to see a special release. It could have happened either in 2017 or 2023, but 2017 was the year without such a comic and 2023 was the most delayed fool's comic so far. See below.

In 2022 2601: Instructions was released on Friday April 1st, a normal release day. There was though an interesting fact related to this release. First of all it visually was similar to the previous Fools' comic, which had only a checkbox to begin with. Instructions only had a radio button. But more interesting, like last year, this comic had an audio part. Thus making it a recurring Fools' theme, and also making these two comics the, at that time, only comics with audio. Although in Instructions the sounds was a vital part of the joke, which was not the case the year before. (Also both comics had a mute button, that could toggle the sound on and off. But the two comics similar buttons worked in reverse, so the mute button had muted sound in the first, but the audio on in the second of the two comics...)

In 2023 2757: Towed Message was released on Friday March 31st. The next comic, 2758: My Favorite Things, was released on the normal schedule on Monday April 3rd. So for a year the Explain xkcd community thought there was no April fools' comic in 2023. But it turned out that the actual "April fools'" project, 2765: Escape Speed, was so delayed that it was not released until Wednesday April 19, 18 days too late. There was some debate about if this was actually meant to be a fools' comic with so much delay and no mention of this (as with Garden). But then a link to this article Development notes from xkcd's "Gravity" and "Escape Speed" by Max Goodhart, aka Chromakode, was provided. Max was one of the developers of both Escape Speed and the earlier 2712: Gravity. And he writes at the top of the article "On April 20th, xkcd published Escape Speed, the 14th annual April Fools comic we’ve made together". (In xkcd's archive it is listed as released on the 19th of April, but maybe that is just because then it was a Wednesday, and in Max's time zone it was already the 20th). This settles the debate, as it is now clear that this was meant to be the April fools' comic of 2023. See also the trivia section of Escape Speed.

In 2024, 2914: Eclipse Coolness appeared on April 1st without having any relation to April fools'. But four days later 2916: Machine came out on Friday 5th of April. This turned out to be that the year's April fools' comic, see the trivia section for that comic. It is, however, the first time a release day has fallen on April 1st without Randall making any note of it on the day. Not since 2009 has there been a comic released on April 1st without it being an April fools' comic. But that year he found another way to make an April fools', thus making this year the first ever where a comic was actually released on April 1st without any mention of April fools'. First time such a delay happened Randall made several notes about this, see the section about Garden below.

Randall discusses several April fools' comics in his talk at Øredev 2013.

Release Weekday[edit]

  • Here is a list of the day of the week the "real" April 1st comic was released.
    • Those not on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, have been moved to hit April 1st (and their day of the week is written in bold).
      • Example with the first to do so 1037: Umwelt.
      • It was planned for release on Monday April 2nd but came out Sunday April 1st 2012.
      • The next comic 1038: Fountain skipped Monday and came out as normal Wednesday April 4th.
  1. 2008 Tuesday April 1st:
    • 404: Not Found
    • This was technically not a comic, but it did specifically "not come out" on April 1st.
    • But it DID not come out, between the normal Monday and Wednesday release making it "not" an extra comic that week.
  2. 2011 Friday April 1st:
  3. 2012 Sunday April 1st:
    • 1037: Umwelt
    • The next release was not Monday but Wednesday, so it replaced the Monday release.
  4. 2013 Monday April 1st:
  5. 2014 Tuesday April 1st:
    • 1350: Lorenz
    • This was the first Tuesday release, but the other two releases that week fell normally on Monday and Friday, thus it replaced Wednesdays release.
  6. 2015 Wednesday April 1st:
  7. 2016 Monday April 4th:
    • 1663: Garden
    • This comic was supposed to be released Friday April 1st but had technical problems and ended up being released on Monday April 4th.
    • There where thus only two comics in the week before. See here regarding the Monday 4th of April release.
    • There was no doubt that this was supposed to be the April Fools' day comic.
  8. 2018 Sunday April 1st:
    • 1975: Right Click
    • The next release was not Monday but Wednesday, so it replaced the Monday release.
  9. 2019 Monday April 1st:
  10. 2020 Friday April 3rd:
    • 2288: Collector's Edition
    • This comic was supposed to be released Wednesday April 1st but had technical problems and ended up being released on Friday April 3rd, see the [[trivia section for that comic.
    • The original planned Friday comic, 2289: Scenario 4, was then released on Saturday April 4th
  11. 2021 Thursday April 1st:
    • 2445: Checkbox
    • The next release was not Friday but Monday, so it replaced the Friday release.
  12. 2022 Friday April 1st:
  13. 2023 Wednesday April 19th:
  14. 2024 Friday April 5th:
    • 2916: Machine
    • This comic was delayed four days and another comic 2914: Eclipse Coolness was released on Monday April 1st.
    • This made people believe that there would be no April fools' Day comic in 2024.
      • Which would have made it seem like it was two years in a row. Since it was first with this release that it was found out here on explain xkcd that there had indeed been an April fools' comic in 2023. See above