Its started with a suggestion: “You know how it’s weird in musicals that people just break out into song for no reason? You guys should stage a musical like that in a public place.”
Improv Everywhere, a New York based gang of actor/pranksters, followed through on the idea, and recently entertained a bewildered crowd at the Baldwin Hills Mall food court with an apparent spontaneous musical number.
The act begins with an innocent Hot Dog On A Stick girl singing over a spilled lemonade, “can I get a napkin please?” A customer with a lunch tray joins her in song, followed by a mother who literally tosses her baby away to join in the number. By the end, 16 mall shoppers and employees are emoting a Bugsy Berkley number… all over a damn napkin.
Brilliant and beautiful. I can’t help but think that if sort of thing was a more common occurrence, the world would be a much better place.
Unfortunately, besides this most recent mission, Improv Everywhere operates exclusively in the New York area. They do encourage others to join their ranks, all over the world. If anyone from L.A. wants to partake, check out Improv Everywhere’s Ning group.
Some of Improv Everywhere’s Greatest Hits
- In perhaps their best known mission, over 80 “agents” dressed in blue polos and khaki pants swarmed a Manhattan Best Buy, never claiming to be an employee but helping out any customers who asked for help. To document the escapade, they brought their own tapes and memory cards and used the in store demo cameras.
- An agent, decked out in a tux, set up shop working as a high class bathroom attendant at a McDonalds.
- One day in January, over 200 agents walking through Union Station froze into statues at exactly 2:30pm for a full minute, confusing tourists and security.