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ER was a show that thrived on drama, and while viewers couldn't get enough of the non-stop action of doctors working in the emergency room of a Chicago hospital, the actors constantly needed a break from the drama to maintain their sanity. Anthony Edwards said the cast was good at doing this, and that practical jokes on the set of the show were pretty frequent. Edwards recalled many onset pranks, including his favorite, which is a real hoot. After multiple takes of filming an actress pretend to give birth, the cast switched things up and got a hilarious reaction:
When she gave birth and we'd been bringing up this fake baby, we brought up the alien baby. I never heard someone scream as loud as she did at this green baby.
The actress' reaction to the ER cast's prank is as hilarious as it is baffling. The woman is not actually giving birth, so wouldn't she spot the alien baby and immediately assume its a practical joke? Perhaps she thought she was supposed to be reacting to some unknown illness the baby had been struck with? Anthony Edwards didn't have an answer for People as to why the actress reacted the way that she did, but he did maintain it was one of the funniest pranks he experienced in his eight seasons on the series.
Not all of the pranks on ER were as elaborate as fake green alien babies, and sometimes all it took to get a laugh was a rather simple joke in the midst of a serious scene. Anthony Edwards attributed the lower caliber jokes' success to the isolation of the cast during filming, as long days were spent with the cast confined to one area:
It also felt like we were in a submarine because so much took place on that one set so were always inside. So you get a little stir crazy, and I mean, the classic was putting vaseline on the phone.
It sounds as though a lot of the ER cast could take a joke, as it would only take one sour look from a star on the series to put the hammer down on shenanigans like that real quick. Perhaps not every actor was like that going into the series, and it was the serious nature of the program that coerced everyone to be a little more light-hearted when the cameras weren't rolling. After all, who would be able to keep a sane mind constantly acting out some of the most horrific situations that go down in ER without a chance to laugh between takes?