Whatever Will Improv Everywhere Think Of Next?

Improv Everywhere is back with another hilarious prank—I mean "whimsical mission"—to feign enthusiasm for someone else’s pathetic attempt at eking out a sliver of dignity. Having successfully aimed their brand of crowd-sourced condescension toward little league games and struggling rock bands, today’s topical mission sent the—Imps? Provies?—to a no-frills 99-cent store. Their mission: to completely blow the shopkeeper’s mind with a wholly manufactured crowd of Black Friday bargain hunters.

Mission Coordinator / Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd spells it out: “I’ve always wanted to put a huge line in front of a random store on Black Friday, and a 99 cent store seemed like the funniest choice to me.”


It’s hilarious, you see, because this is a store where everything is already cheap, so why would people who are aware of Improv Everywhere (smart people who own computers) shop there ever, for any reason? Thus is another magical mystery is born unto the world.

By their own metrics, it’s hard to say whether the operation was a success. The collateral mind-blowing damage seems to be limited to a few bemused pedestrians. Considering the size of the pre-dawn crowd, it all hardly seems worth the effort. The mission (which I’m assuming is called "Best Black Friday Ever" but could just as easily be called "Briefly See How Most of America Lives") never gets ambitious enough to reach the heights of truly baffling.

The video does, however, feature some odd in-character exchanges between fake security guards and fake customers, or fake reporters and fake interviewees, engaging in straight-faced make-believe for the benefit of no one—which I guess is the "improv" part of Improv Everywhere? It also has a nice bit of self-justification at the end where the shopkeeper genuinely thanks them for the unusual amount of one-time patronage and almost makes you forget they’re pointing a fake camera in his face.

Most importantly of all, it inspired me to consider what upcoming missions Improv Everywhere might have slated for 2013. Here are my well-reasoned guesses:

* Mixing up the infants in an inner-city maternity ward
* Packing the audience of a student film screening and then clapping so hard that no one can hear any of it
* Bar Mitzvah crawl
* Rigging a petition so that a local library has to install a bronze bust of Bill Murray instead of Toni Morrison
* Showing up at Target wearing red shirts
* Showing up at the Verizon store wearing red shirts
* Gathering by the hundreds in Grand Central Station and drinking cyanide en masse to teach a rookie cop how magically senseless the world can be
* A day of picking up litter in a public park with no cameras around
* Shooting paintballs at homeless people from a moving car
* The greatest trick of all—convincing mankind that Improv Everywhere doesn’t exist

But no matter what missions they choose for the coming year, one thing is certain—you will hear about them.

Follow Daniel Kibblesmith on Twitter.

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