Last month I got an email from a friend with a link to this video by a group called Improv Everywhere. If you haven’t heard of them, they are a New York based improv group specializing in creating joyful chaos with live pranks in public places, as well as now being an internet sensation with all these assorted pranks posted on YouTube.
In this staged scene, Agent Rob (they use the same nomenclature as the Uptight Citizens Brigade) is “lost” at a Knick’s game. What starts as a few friends trying to get his attention turns into sections of Knick fans visually following Rob around the arena and wildly cheering his eventual return.
Needless to say, this is a lot of fun….and I quickly became a fan of the concept and the improv troupe.Improv Everywhere Founder Charlie Todd just came out with a book highlighting some of his favorite missions since their conceptual launching in 2001.
The book is a lot of fun and has several laugh out loud moments their live chaos. The real charm of these “missions” is that they never break character and in the ideal situation they come and go just leaving the confused and amused masses in their wake. This mission wasn’t in the book, but I think does a nice job showing what they are about. In it about 10 agents join an unsuspecting Salvation Army Bell Ringer for a short (and quite beautiful) Christmas bell ringing on the streets of New York. Before the real bell ringer knows what hit him, they are gone. His joy and confusion is all part of their (private) pay-off. As you can see, the agents never let the real bellringer or the witnesses in on the game.