Jimmy Buffett fans were either comically elated or gullibly disappointed by an April Fool’s joke posted on a Buffett fan website early Monday morning.
A post on a Jimmy Buffett fan webpage from Josh Martin, administrator of buffettworld.com, stated Buffett would be leaving the touring life behind for a slower pace of life in Branson.
“Buffett’s new theater will be built adjacent to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, across the street from Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede,” the article read. “Construction is slated to be completed in time for the Silver Dollar City Bluegrass and BBQ Festival, one of the town’s top tourist draws of the year.”
The convincing article resulted in several comments on the website.
“I actually had a friend suggest the idea a couple of years ago and I decided I would use it this year,” Martin said. “I’ve done three other ones, though, more people seemed to fall for this one.”
Suspicion of the validity of the claim arose at the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce when the article cited The Branson Tri-Lakes News as the source of the shocking news.
“We actually had staff in our office whose job it is to check every day for stories about Branson on the web,” said Lynn Berry, interim vice president of marketing and director of public relations. “It was around 10 or 11 this morning when they told me to look at buffettworld.com, and I knew it was an April Fool’s joke when I noticed the byline was a single name. It was something that was so close to being factual that it would certainly give people pause to look at it again.”
Berry said the chamber hadn’t received any calls concerning the truth of the prank. The Branson Tri-Lakes News, however, received one caller inquiring about the article cited on the fan webpage.
“I think Jimmy Buffett fans are used to his parody on so many things,” Berry said. “Some other stories were that he was going to lease out his yacht and other stores similar in their vein.”
Berry said Branson has been joked about by the likes of Jay Leno, David Letterman and others in the past, but always in good fun.
“Like I always say, ‘You never know,’” Berry said.
Martin started the website in 2000 and began April Fool’s jokes in 2010.