The Subway Series

Featuring Agents: Lovejoy, Todd, and Keech

Improv Everywhere Mission

Why just ride the train, when you can take everyone on a ride?

The New York City subway. As intricate and fascinating a system it is, it’s usually not the best place to go looking for joy and happiness. People keep to themselves as they read, tune out with earphones, or simply stare at the ground. In the summer it’s too hot, and in the winter it’s too cold. There’s really not much going besides the never-ending process of waiting.

Sure, every now and then some sort of performance occurs on a train, maybe a break dancer, a singer, or a sad soul telling his life story, but the performance is always followed by a request for money. The trapped audience knows that the plead for donations is on the way, and most folks try to ignore what’s going on so as to not feel compelled to pay for it.

But the typical subway ride is dead silent. When people do talk to each other on the train, everyone else listens. This is what IE agents Keech, Lovejoy, and Todd have taken advantage of: a venue where everyone is ready to listen and has nothing to lose.

Mission One: The Long Lost Brother

Lovejoy and Todd enter the crowded, rush hour train separately. Moments into the ride Lovejoy taps Todd on the shoulder and the scene begins:

Lovejoy: Excuse me.
Todd: Yes?
Lovejoy: Were you by any chance adopted?
Todd: What? … Yes.
Lovejoy: Really? Because I have this photo at home of my birth brother… and it really looks like you.
Todd: Oh. Okay.
Lovejoy: Where are you from?
Todd: South Carolina.
Lovejoy: Really? No way. That’s where I grew up.
Todd: Wow.

(awkward pause. the entire train is now listening.)

Lovejoy: You don’t by chance have a birthmark on your right thigh do you?
Todd: Yes… yes… I do. I do.
Lovejoy: I can’t believe this… this is…
Todd: Are you sure…
Lovejoy: This is amazing…
Todd: You live here?
Lovejoy: I’ve been looking for you for years…
Todd: I don’t believe this is happening…
Lovejoy: …and now I find you on the train…

(Todd and Lovejoy hug. Those surrounding them are smiling with joy.)

Lovejoy: I’m Allan Richards.
Todd: I’m Robert Patterson… or I guess, Richards!
Lovejoy: This is so wonderful. What stop are you on?
Todd: The Rego Park stop.
Lovejoy: I live at the Steinway stop!
Todd: That’s like 5 stops from me!
Lovejoy: I know, can you believe we’ve been living so close to each other?
Todd: This is so unbelievable.
Lovejoy: Maybe you’d want to come over this afternoon for a coffee or something.
Todd: Yes… that would be great.

The entire car was visibly touched by this heartfelt reunion of the brothers that had never met. Lovejoy and Todd were on the verge of tears. The scene ended up developing into a less inspiring outcome. Todd revealed he was a devout Baptist Christian, and Lovejoy informed him that by birth, he was Jewish. Todd became very uncomfortable with the knowledge that he was Jewish by ethnicity and that his birth family did not share his beliefs. The happiness the two shared for their reunion was replaced by awkward silences. Todd agreed to visit with Lovejoy, but “for only a few minutes”.

Did those riding the train believe that they had just witnessed a real reunion? Yes. Is that the point? No. The train was taken from it’s normal overcrowded and irritated state to an intriguing scene that, regardless of the awkward outcome, will always be a great story for those who witnessed it.

Mission Two: The Shoes

Keech and Todd enter the train separately. Keech seems to be having difficulty figuring out which stop he needs to get off on.

Todd: Are you lost?
Keech: No.

(pause)

Todd: What are you a tourist or something?
Keech: No.

(pause)

Todd: You go to NYU?
Keech: Yeah.

(pause)

Todd: So your parents pay for everything you do.
Keech: Is there something wrong with that?
Todd: Dude, I was just trying to help you figure out where you’re going. You don’t need to start a fight, man.
Keech: I’m not trying to start anything. I just don’t appreciate you calling me a tourist and insulting me.
Todd: I’m not insulting anyone. What’s your problem? You think just ’cause you’re rich you can be an ass on the train?
Keech: What’s your problem?

(long pause)

Keech: Hey man. I’m sorry about that. I don’t know why that had to happen.
Todd: Yeah. Sorry man. I’ve just had a long day. It’s cool.
Keech: Hey, do you want to trade shoes?
Todd: What?
Keech: Let’s trade shoes.
Todd: Okay. Sure.

(Keech and Todd trade shoes. The train stops, and both exit, separately.)

Mission Three: The Jacket

Inspired by the success of the shoe scene, Keech and Todd took it to the next level with this mission. Once again Keech and Todd entered a subway car, separately. Keech is wearing a newly-purchaed jump suit; Todd is wearing blue jeans and a gray polo shirt.

Todd: Hey man. Where did you get that jacket?
Keech: I just bought it in the village.
Todd: Cool.

(pause)

Todd: Man, I’ve been looking for a jacket like that for a long time.
Keech: Yeah. I like it.

(pause)

Todd: Hey, do you think I could try your jacket on?
Keech: Try it on?
Todd: Yeah, I just want to see how it looks on me.
Keech: Um… yeah. Sure. I guess. Can I try your shirt on?
Todd: You want to try this shirt on?
Keech: Yeah.
Todd: Okay. I don’t know why anyone would want this boring shirt, but sure, whatever you want.

(Todd takes off his shirt and Keech takes off the jacket. They trade. Most people sitting around them are fighting back laughter. Some are unafraid and laughing out loud.)

Todd: Man! This jacket is awesome! It’s just what I’m looking for. How do I look?
Keech: You look great.
Todd: How much would you want for this.
Keech: You know what… why don’ t you just keep it.
Todd: What? Really?
Keech: Yeah. This shirt fits me fine. Just keep it.
Todd: Thanks! This is so cool. Thank you so much!

(A woman in back of train can’t stop repeating, “They HAVE to know each other!”. Young man sitting across from Keech is laughing so loud he has to cover his face with his hands. There is a long pause.)

Todd: You know, those pants you have really match this jacket perfectly.
Keech: You don’t…
Todd: Maybe you could at least tell me where I could buy them?
Keech: You want to try them on?
Todd: Well…yeah, I do. Do you want try my jeans?
Keech: I don’t know if they’ll fit me, but yeah, let’s do it.

(Woman in back of train screams, “No, they’re not! No way!” Todd takes off his shoes and jeans and is now standing in his boxer shorts and jump suit jacket. He waits as Keech tries to untie his shoes. Keech takes his sweet time.)

Keech: You know what? I really don’t think those jeans are going to fit me. This isn’t going to work.
Todd: So you’re not going to let me try on your pants?
Keech: No, I don’t think so.
Todd: So you’re not taking your pants off?
Keech: No.
Todd: This is great. You get me to strip down in my underwear and embarrass myself in front of all these people, and then you tell me I can’t even try on the shorts!?
Keech: I’m sorry. There’s just no point. You can keep the jacket.
Todd: Well. Thanks. Thanks for humiliating me in front of the whole train.

(Todd puts his pants and shoes back on and walks to the other side of the train. He sits and stares at the ground, embarrassed. The next stop, Todd gets up and leaves the train. Keech stays.)

Those left on the train try to get Keech to admit that he knew Todd. Keech denies it until the end and claims, “After all that this city has gone through, isn’t it time to do nice things for strangers? That guy needed the jacket more than I did.” Did those on the train believe that Keech and Todd really didn’t know each other? Probably not. Were they treated do an unexpected dose of comedy on their way home? Absolutely. Missions Accomplished.

Comments

comments

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20 Responses to The Subway Series

  1. Jestrada says:

    The subway series is terrific! I especially like the ones where you get people/strangers involved, like the surprise birthday party.

  2. hotar says:

    dude you took of your pants in the subway that is messed up man i thought i was weird

  3. someone says:

    “Did those riding the train believe that they had just witnessed a real reunion? Yes. Is that the point? No. The train was taken from it’s normal overcrowded and irritated state to an intriguing scene that, regardless of the awkward outcome, will always be a great story for those who witnessed it.”

    …even though it’s a lie. Seems to me that it’s a bit of a rationalization to not admit that you’re really screwing with people…

    That notwithstanding, I really enjoy the site.

  4. Me! says:

    Personally, I honestly wish I could say I lived in NYC now, because I’d definately get involved with your project!

  5. Klawzie says:

    "Shoes" is my favorite short. I laughed for a good three minutes. Priceless.

  6. waffle says:

    you have to do this again but film it. couldnt stop laughing

  7. pancake says:

    i think shoes was the best of these. all the people on the train were probly like… WTF?

    why no camera?

  8. pancake again says:

    waffle and pancake? ^

  9. Nomenclature says:

    "Keech: Hey, do you want to trade shoes?
    Todd: What?
    Keech: Let’s trade shoes.
    Todd: Okay. Sure. "

    Wow, I love you guys.

  10. Everyone really loves the shoes one. It’s weird, though, because where I’m from people do that all the time. Well, obviously they are friends, but it isn’t odd to see some girl wearing huge skateboard shoes and a guy in pink flip flops all in one day. So I would have just assumed they were friends who were pretending to meet on the train. Maybe that’s just college . . .

    I love how random this is. I agree, this would really perk me up on the train. Hilarious as usual!

  11. ian says:

    love it, love it, love it

    love from scotland

  12. Emily G says:

    The “trading shoes” story made me laugh so much.

  13. Rachel (a diff.1) says:

    The last one was my favorite.

  14. Slayer says:

    not bad im shocked

  15. Mr Algebra says:

    Young man sitting across from Keech is laughing so loud he has to cover his hands with his face.

    Cover his hands with his face? How does one do that?

  16. Charlie Todd says:

    @Mr Algebra,

    Pretty hilarious that you’re the first person to point out that typo to me in the 7 years this story has been on the web. I fixed it.

  17. CSE says:

    Nice. I like how you insist you don’t know each other.

  18. Jeff says:

    Shoes… wow. I so want to try these things! If only I still lived in a big city!

  19. Weird says:

    Haha! I couldn’t stop laughing! Charlie stripping down to his boxers in a subway car. Hilarious!

  20. Herman says:

    ROFLMAO =)

    Cheers from the Netherlands