In ImprovEverywhere’s latest mission, coincidences come together to resurrect 400 year old King Philip IV for a few celebratory autographs
[photo credit: Katie Sokoler]
A couple of agents of at IMPROV EVERYWHERE took over a block at 5th Ave & 22nd Sts in NYC for a mission. They painted a line down the sidewalk creating two pedestrians lanes – one for NYers and one for tourists. They also had few agents on hand to direct foot traffic and take opinion polls.
This Sunday, thousands of riders will take to subways all over the world, leaving their pants behind.
Started by NYC’s IMPROV EVERYWHERE nine years ago, this annual event has caught the attention of not only surprised travellers, but the world media alike. In recent years, the event has spawned similar missions in cities across the globe, all coinciding with the main original event run by CHARLIE TODD and his expansive network of IE agents. In 2009, nearly 2,500 riders participated in 22 cities, some as close as Boston and DC, others as far as Lisbon, Portugal and Sydney, Australia.
This Sunday, the event should prove to be larger than ever, with nearly 40 cities staging local rides, including the first organized ride in Philadelphia. Head on over to the Facebook event to get the details… and hopefully you’ll come on out, take off your pants, and make someone’s day!
(Photos courtesy of Improv Everywhere)
Since 2001 the prank collective IMPROV EVERYWHERE, led by CHARLIE TODD, has been launching missions all over NYC. On bookshelves today is Causing Scenes, Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere, the first book to chronicle their adventures of bringing smiles, shock and head-scratching perplexion to thousands of unsuspecting onlookers.
From their product description: “From the infamous No Pants! Subway Ride to the legendary Grand Central Freeze, Improv Everywhere has been responsible for some of the most original and subversive pranks of the Internet age. In Causing a Scene, the group’s agents provide a hilarious firsthand account of their mischievous antics. Learn how they created a time loop in a Starbucks and gave Best Buy eighty extra employees. Join in on the fun with this irreverent, behind-the-scenes look at Improv Everywhere’s world-famous missions, and get inspired to create your own memorable mayhem.”
Yesterday Improv Everywhere posted a new mission about giving a grieving family the Best Funeral Ever. 30 Agents found a funeral in the obituaries that was sure to be poorly attended, and showed up to make it “truly awesome.” The mission was met with a mix of awe and disgust by many. Others were quick to realize that the whole mission was staged as an elaborate April Fools prank.
This morning, Charlie Tood admits to the mission being a prank. While it may have been clear to some, it’s great to see how many people really thought that they would infiltrate a graveside service with a bunch of mourning agents and a few rather large cameras. Even the local CW affiliate picked up the story, thinking the mission itself was an April Fools prank, rather than being a big set up:
Be sure to check out the comments… there are some great reactions in there.
Taking advantage of the regular aspects of a subway platform, placards printed with deadpan descriptions adorned the walls, pipes, graffiti and even the trash cans that otherwise go relatively unnoticed everyday:
“Telephone Line (2002)
Metropolitan Transit Authority in collaboration with Telecom
This homage to the urgency of communication is meant to highlight the recent necessity, from instant to instant, to maintain the potential for instantaneous, world-wide contact from any location, at any time. That a conversation from such a location would be abruptly interrupted by an arriving train suggests the artist’s intent to lampoon the perceived dependence on telecommunication.”
In addition to the “installations,” agents donned tuxedos to provide coat check services and distribute sparkling cider on trays. To further add to the atmosphere, a cellist, Erin Hall, lent her skills to the soundscape.
Be sure to check out the Improv Everywhere blog for further breakdown, including recaps from agents, witness reactions, video and tons of photos and placard descriptions.
This may very well be my favorite mission to date.
Some improv and comedy related highlights from around the web:
– A new read for your bedside table – The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close was penned by oft Python biographer and co-author of Truth In Comedy, Kim “Howard” Johnson