Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Captain Janks: I'm back

The prankster from Montco scams CNN live.

Captain Janks: I'm back

I know that publicity only emboldens Tom Cipriano, the Howard Stern prankster known as Captain Janks, but ...

He struck again.

Posing as "Gene Lasker of New Jersey Emergency Management," the Lansdale goofball was put on CNN live this afternoon with anchor Ali Velshi to discuss the snow-related closing of Newark airport.

After a short setup, Cipriano quipped: "Today is the day to just sit in your homes and contemplate Howard Stern on American Idol."

Velshi blithely continued his line of questioning, and Cipriano shot back: "You're a dumba--. You don't know this is a prank call?"

"Gene Lasker" is a frequent caller to the Sirius show hosted by Bubba the Love Sponge.

Cipriano, who had been laying low for the last year during a series of legal unpleasantries, later said by phone that he called in and was rushed on the air. Producers made no attempt to verify his identity, which has pretty much been the case for the 20 years that Cipriano has been scamming people. (I'm certain that I spoke to the real Cipriano today, by the way, because we were following up from a conversation yesterday. See tomorrow's INQlings column for more on his legal situation.)

A CNN spokeswoman acknowledged that crank callers occasionally get through but added: "Ali handled it like a pro."

Michael Klein
About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at

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