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Move Over, Borat

I try to be a nice person, but I'm only human. Which is why, in my sickness, I'm drawn to websites like Don't Even Reply.

The website posts email exchanges between people listing goods and services on sites like Craigslist, and someone who plays with their heads.

For example, Don't Even Reply copied one exchangewhich started with a post from an 18-year-old woman looking for work this summer: "I can clean, babysit, answer phones, pretty much whatever as long as it pays!!"

That elicited a seemingly innocent reply from Don't Even Reply's "Mike Anderson": "I saw your ad looking for work and I think I have a job for you! I am looking for an assistant on my farm for the summer. It will involve working outdoors. Let me know if you are interested."

When the 18-year-old writes back that she's very interested in working on a farm because she used to ride horses, "Mike" tells her: "I'm glad to hear you are familiar with horses, because you will be primarily working with horses. My farm gets all the old horses that other farms don't need anymore, and they are starting to take up a lot of room in my stable, which I want to turn into a garage for my new truck. Therefore, the horses need to go. As my assistant, you will be in charge of killing the horses and dumping them in the lake behind my farm."

It all goes downhill from there, as he informs the young woman she will need to kill the horses with his shotgun, cut them into little pieces, and dump them in his neighbor's lake. Amazingly, she keeps writing back to tell him he's crazy.

There are many other posts, like the one where "Mike" tries to buy a 1994 Jeep by bartering sex with his wife, or this response he sent a person looking for help moving: "I was wondering if you would be interested in hiring my son. I need him to have a job like this so he can feel better about himself. He has been paralyzed from the neck down for five years now. I always encourage him to do normal things like mow the lawn, take out the trash, etc. so he can still feel important even though he does not have the use of his arms or legs. This job would be a huge boost in his self-esteem and with a little help I am sure he can do it..." Once again, the person actually responded to this.

It's like Sasha Baron Cohen on the internet.

I wrote an email to the website to find out more about the writer behind it, and received a reply from "John", who says he's a college student majoring in computer science.

"I started doing the e-mails just for kicks, when I was bored at school," he told me. "I was actually trying to buy a car, and I got tired of all the people trying to low ball or scam me. I saw one ad that particularly annoyed me, so I decided to mess with it." He says his friends thought his prank was hilarious and suggested he turn the endeavor into a website.

"I launched it on June 11th. The first day saw thousands of hits, and it really just blew up from there." These days he says he averages up to 200,000 hits a day, half of them unique visitors.

There is a place on the website to make donations, and I asked "John" if he's making money. "I am making some money off of it from ads," he replies. "Not much, but it is nice to have a little bit of extra cash, since I am a broke college kid. I am also working on a book based off of the site, after many suggestions to make one." He also says, "Some people contacted me about becoming a TV writer, but I didn't think they were serious. I was never very good in my English classes."

I'd say he's good enough.

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