Photo Courtesy of Improv Eveyrywhere
Improv Everywhere created another excellent prank in NYC last week when 2,000 so-called passionate dog owners decided to take their invisible dogs for a walk. The latest in a series of public space pranks bordering on cultural jamming, Improv Everywhere this time got people from Red Hook to Brooklyn Heights to do a double-take on exactly how strange the scene was.
To provide some perspective, the idea of Improv Everywhere started in 2001 when New Yorker Charlie Todd, an actor/comedian, decided to do something about the fact that he couldn’t land a gig. He came up with the concept of Improv Everywhere as a way to bring together friends, which have now extended to thousands of “undercover agents,” to create funny moments in various public spaces.
These various subversive pranks have gained the attention of marketers for their viral hilariousness, but also attracted an international crowd of fans who have spawned their own grassroots Improv Everywhere movements. Our favorites are the No Pants! Subway Rides in New York City where a group of “agents” ride the subways without pants for the day. Another favorite was the Grand Central Freeze where thousands in-the-know (a.k.a. undercover agents), dressed in various outfits representative of the types of people going through Grand Central on any given day, ranging from business people to tourists to NYC hipsters. At the exact, synchronized moment, hundreds of these agents froze mid-stride in Grand Central. The reaction of others walking through the station to these frozen people was hysterical as they wondered what on earth had happened. Just as quickly as it started, 2 minutes later people started moving again. Other Improv Everywhere pranks include the day they supplied 80 extra employees to a nearby Best Buy; or the time-loop scene in a Starbucks.
Inevitably, someone discretely films the reaction of others not in on the prank, which then gets posted on the ImprovEverywhere.com, YouTube, and of course things spiral from there.
The movement has created such a stir that the “Today” show featured Chris and his new book “Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places by Improv Everywhere” last summer.
This latest Invisible Dog Walker again takes things to new heights. Check it out: