A year before his death, Jonathan Bradley’s father approached him for help with a project. Shay Bradley knew his time on Earth was coming to a close, but couldn’t pass up the chance to leave his loved ones laughing. As Jonathan told the BBC, his father “wanted something special and for everyone to remember him as he was, so that everyone, especially my mother, did not leave the graveside somber.” As the video from his graveside service can attest, Shay got his wish.
As the mournful sound of bagpipes draws the service to a close, Shay’s voice calls out from the ground, “Hello? Hello? Let me out! It’s dark in here!” For good measure, while recording Shay banged on a table with his fists, making the pleas all the more authentic-sounding. As chuckles spread throughout the crowd, Shay breaks into Lionel Ritchie’s, “Hello,” changing one important lyric to “just called to say ‘goodbye’.” Shay’s burial prank has gone viral around the globe, prompting his daughter, Andrea, to start the Facebook group #ShaysLastLaugh, where loved ones can share memories. Andrea wrote, “As we know my dad Shay Bradley is not only an absolute legend, but now a viral sensation.”
Life Of The Party
Everyone from his Irish Defense Forces colleagues to his grandchildren were amused, though not surprised, by Shay’s postmortem theatrics. Everyone interviewed expressed that his recording was perfectly in keeping with his dark humor, and the fact that his spirits remained high even when enduring a terminal illness. Shay’s granddaughter Chloe posted to Twitter, “My grandad wanted everyone leaving his funeral with a smile on his face and that’s exactly what he got, I’m so proud #shayslastlaugh.”
Mr. Bradley served in the Irish Regular Army and was an amateur chef in his spare time. His Instagram feed, spicemanshay, is a catalog of delectable recipes he crafted while adhering to a paleo diet. At some point, he even branded and marketed spicemanshay seasonings to sell to his Insta fans. Though his illness put an end to his culinary ambitions, he still made time to cook for his family, make others laugh, and to enjoy life. According to the obituary shared by the IDFVA Facebook page, Shay is survived by his wife Anne and four children, two sons and two daughters, in addition to grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews.
Other pranks have gone viral after the prankster has died, leaving a chuckle–or sometimes a chill up the spine– for those left behind. In 2013, Phedre Fitton of South Africa made her husband Nigel promise to water her plants after she died. Nigel, faithful to his promise, watered the plants every day and was impressed by how well he managed to tend them. When Nigel moved to a retirement community in 2018, he brought his prize plants with him, only to be told by his children that they were plastic. The Fittons’ daughter Antonia tweeted she could “hear mum chucking” after the reveal.
Another time-honored tradition is a comedic obituary, either one written by the deceased or his or her family members. In 2015, James Groth of Moss Bluff, Louisiana wrote his own tribute while being treated for a brain tumor. His friends and family had to grin when they read, “His regrets were few but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from a convenience store in the summer of 2002, not training his faithful dog Rita to detect cancer, and that no video evidence exists of his prowess on the soccer field or in the bedroom.”
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