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article imageDigital Journal TV: Improv Everywhere's No Pants, Fake Concerts and Suicide Jumpers

By Digital Journal Staff     Feb 11, 2008 in Entertainment
You haven't seen improv until you've seen Improv Everywhere. Using the power of the Internet, the group now has hundreds of people taking part in crazy public stunts. In this episode, we take you behind some of the group's wild antics.
Digital Journal -- Founded in 2001 in New York City, Improv Everywhere is a performance art troupe whose main goal is to show people something they haven't seen before.
"We’re big believers in 'organized fun', their website reads. "In the process we bring excitement to otherwise unexciting locales and give strangers a story they can tell for the rest of their lives. We’re out to prove that a prank doesn’t have to involve humiliation or embarrassment; it can simply be about making someone laugh, smile, or stop to notice the world around them."
Before you watch an Improv Everywhere stunt, get rid of all of your conventional thoughts on improv comedy and acting. This is 2008 and the Internet has an amazingly far reach, thus totally changing the scope of people who contribute and stunts they perform.
The group has completed 75 "missions" (public shows or stunts), ranging from fake concerts, to synchronized swimming in the Washington Square Park fountain. Most recently, they pulled a stunt called No Pants 2K8 in which almost 2,000 people took off their pants on subways in 10 cities around the world (900 of them in NYC).
No Pants 2K8. - Photo courtesy Improv Everywhere
Another recent stunt that gained huge notoriety was called Frozen Grand Central: More than 200 Improv Everywhere "agents" walked into Grand Central Station in New York City and stood frozen in one position for five minutes in the main concourse. Hilarity ensues as hordes of people walking through the station take pause when they see hundreds of people not moving.
"We've been able to grow our fan base virally over the Web," Improv Everywhere co-founder, Charlie Todd, told "The site didn't really take off until people started spreading it around to all of their friends."
And herein lies the power of the Internet to change everything: The group now has hundreds of people turning out to events and millions of people following their every move.
Improv Everywhere's server graph shows a surge in popularity
The group is entirely self-funded through T-shirt sales and donations. Getting on the front page of YouTube, Digg, Reddit, Boing Boing and Gawker recently has sent them into a scramble to keep up with costs. The group is now asking for support from fans to help with the load.
"I think people enjoy Improv Everywhere as an outlet for fun," Todd told "Something social to go do to meet new people and try new things. I think people enjoy the videos simply because they are funny."
In this episode of Digital Journal TV, we'll tell you more about the troupe and give you a glimpse at some of our favourite Improv Everywhere missions. Yes, they are all on video.
Fans of Digital Journal TV bloopers have more to look forward to at the end of this video (as long as we mess up on camera, you'll have exclusive access to the slip-ups).
Video clips courtesy Improv Everywhere. To see a full list of their stunts, check out the list here.
More about Improv everywhere, Improveverywhere com, Theatre, New york
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