Star Trek’s Biggest Pranksters Are Not Who You’d Expect

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Star Trek prank

While there are exceptions (including the canceled before-its-time cartoon Lower Decks), Star Trek is a franchise that isn’t really known for being funny. Nonetheless, the actors certainly knew how to make their own fun behind the scenes, and you may be surprised who the franchise’s biggest pranksters are. The early Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Babel” had Colm Meaney and Terry Farrell trying to crack each other up behind the scenes, and pranks would eventually become one of Meaney’s specialties.


“Babel” is fittingly named after the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, and it tells the tale of a freak replicator accident that gives an increasing number of people on the station aphasia (meaning they can’t communicate). Doctor Bashir’s attempt to figure out what virus has infiltrated the station and how to treat it results in O’Brien and Dax spending plenty of time quarantined with other patients, and that’s where this particular prank begins.

Farrell On The Prank

Jadzia actor and beloved Star Trek icon Terry Farrell said that this prank began when she and O’Brien actor Colm Meaney decided to make their fake space illnesses even worse. “Colm and I were pretending we were sicker in the Infirmary than we were and were sticking paper up our nose,” she said. According to the actor, “the challenge was to see that neither of us were going to be giggling by the time the camera reached us.”

Some Star Trek fans might be a bit mortified by such a silly prank going on behind the scenes of such a serious show. In this case, Farrell would likely agree with that assessment. In relating the story of she and Meaney trying to make each other laugh, she admitted that “It’s sort of an infantile kind of humor.”

Colm Meaney

star trek engineer

Perhaps because she’s not a huge fan of such humor, Farrell didn’t cultivate much of a reputation for doing these kinds of pranks. However, the same can’t be said for Colm Meaney. He kept pulling pranks, though his most darkly hilarious ones happened well away from the Paramount lot.

Meaney And Siddig

Star Trek prank

As it turns out, Colm Meaney and Alexander Siddig (who play best friends in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) used to be very frequent drinking buddies, and Meaney loved to pull strange pranks on his colleague. In a later interview, Siddig recounted going drinking with Meaney “twice a week every week for seven years” and how his fellow actor would set him up by taking Siddig “to Irish bars where they hated English people.”

He noted how the bar patrons “just hated the English people” and when he saw everyone’s reactions to Siddig’s accent, Meaney “just laughed his head off.”

It Could’ve Been A DS9 Scene

Star Trek prank

In other words, these two onscreen Star Trek besties weren’t quite as tight in real life (Siddig recalls fighting with each other to be even more common than the pranks), but they did tend to go drinking and get in trouble the way that O’Brien and Bashir did.

Speaking of which, while we’d never want Siddig to feel bad, we can’t help but laugh at the nature of the prank he described. Chief O’Brien taking Doctor Bashir to a bar where everyone secretly hates the younger man is so in character that, frankly, the whole anecdote sounds like it could (and dare we say should?) have been a deleted scene from Deep Space Nine.

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