High Five Escalator

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Produced by Charlie Todd and Matt Adams / music by Tyler Walker

For our latest mission, Agent Lathan gave out 2,000 high fives by standing next to a subway escalator during the morning rush. Five additional agents spread out along the adjacent stairs, holding signs that prepared commuters for the upcoming high five fun. Enjoy the video first and then check out the mission report and photos below.

Starring: Agent Lathan, as “Rob”
Featuring: Agents Eppink, Lindquist, Small, Thomas, Wimpy
Digital Video: Agents Adams, Whines
Digital Photography: Agents Sokoler, Todd

The subway station at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue can be a nightmare in the morning. Thousands of commuters make a daily transfer from the E or V train to the 6 train. The first part of the transfer involves taking one of two giant escalators, which both run up in the morning to accommodate the huge crowd.

Packed escalators at 8:30 AM

To the left of the escalators is a staircase. Hardly anyone goes up it, and it’s against the rules to go down it during rush hour (you use another escalator further down to get to the platform).

Everyone is generally in a pretty crappy mood when they’re making this transfer with a herd of other people at the crack of dawn. It was definitely a location in need of a bit of fun.

Our agents take to the stairs

Agent Eppink made four signs that together said, “Rob wants to give you a high five! Get Ready!” There was a fifth sign that just read “Rob” and had an arrow pointing downward. Our agents grabbed their assigned signs and spread out along the stairs a little after 8:30 AM. The staircase had platforms every 10 steps or so, which made it easy for the agents to divide up evenly.

The view looking down

I made two animated gifs to show what the signs looked like from the perspective of someone on the escalator. The first looks straight ahead, and the second looks to the side, following one woman’s ride up.

Our agents stood as close to the escalator as they could in order to leave plenty of room for the few folks who chose to take the stairs.

We picked Agent Lathan to be the high five man for a few reasons. First, he’s really tall. The stairs are a little lower than the escalator, so we needed someone tall enough to reach the riders. Second, Rob’s a comedian and one his of characters is a parody of a life coach whose mantra is “get psyched!” In other words, Rob has lots of experience being positive and pumping people up. I knew if anyone could keep his energy up during 2,000 high fives, it was Rob. I have to admit, I was somewhat concerned that he would get separated from the rest of us.

Rob high fives as Agent Eppink holds the sign behind him

It was awesome watching the reactions of people before, during, and after the high fives. I’d say around 75% of the riders gave Rob a high five. There were some people who were both listening to music and reading a book who didn’t look up to notice what was going on. A small percentage seemed suspicious of us and elected to keep their hands to themselves. Most people smiled and high fived. Some people kept a straight face during the high five, but then privately smiled to themselves a few moments later. Watching people after they gave a high five was almost more fun. Almost everyone was left with a smile. Agent Sokoler took hundreds of reaction shots, peering from behind columns at the top of the escalator. Here are some of our favorites.

People on the further escalator watch the high fives

Lots of people wanted to know if Rob had washed his hands. “You bet I have!”

Rob executed a few “double high fives” when people passed up the steps

“Show me some skin!”

Smiling post high five

“Give me some love!”

Post high five glow

Looking up towards Rob

Making the decision to high five or not

A wise choice!

Playing it cool

Smiling afterwards

These girls were upset that they were on the wrong escalator for the high fives. Rob gave them some “air fives” to their delight.

Leaving the escalator with a smile

We lasted for about 45 minutes in total, staying through the bulk of the morning rush. My guess is that people passed Rob at a rate of one per second. So that would be 2,700 people over 45 minutes who passed by and probably around 75% of them played along. I wonder if 2,000 consecutive high fives from strangers is a world record?

After the crowds thinned out, we quietly disappeared. We got some funny looks from MTA employees throughout the mission, but no one ever said anything to us.


Agent Lathan

It was tons of fun to do. Most people were into it. I was kind of worried that people would not be into it or angry, but just about everyone was down. Some people were stone faced, but still gave me a high five. It was 8:30 in the morning so people were tired and not in a good mood, but once people connected with my hand, they almost all laughed and smiled. Everyone should start their day with high fives. My hand was a little sore, but it made it through. I think 2,000 high fives is probably the maximum a hand can take.

Agent Lindquist

I was the “Rob wants” sign, the very first sign in the chain. At first I couldn’t tell if it was going well. I wasn’t getting any reactions at all in the beginning, but then I started to hear people interacting with Rob, and I realized it was working. Since I was first I got a lot of people looking confused. They would just see my one sign saying “Rob wants” and wouldn’t get it. Lots of people thought I was Rob and would say, “What do you want?” Then they’d look past me and see the other signs and realize something bigger was going on.

Agent Small

I was the second person people saw. By the time they got to me they were asking who Rob was and how far away he was. My sign read “to give you,” so it introduced the expectation that people were going to get something. Lots of people asked if he was going to give them money. That was a big thing. “Is Rob going to give me $5?” As soon as people made eye contact with me I would smile, and then they would smile, and that made me smile bigger for the next person. It was a fun chain of smiling.

Agent Wimpy

By the time they got to me they were asking, “Where’s Rob? What’s Rob going to give us?” Then they’d see my sign and realize it was a “high five.” They were really into it but were getting impatient because the escalator was going so slow and they wanted to see Rob. One woman asked me, “Why is Rob giving high fives out, is it his birthday?” I told her, “No, he’s just trying to do a nice thing for you.” A lot of people on the further escalator were laughing more than the ones on our escalator. I think they liked that they were going to get to be in on the gag without having to commit themselves.

Agent Thomas

I was the “get ready” sign which was right before people got to Rob. I saw a lot of people look around me and see Rob for the first time. Seeing that process of people deciding to give him a high five was great. Usually they were smiling by the time they got to me. I would see in their eyes the moment they decided they were going to do it, which would make them smile even more. People started talking to each other, “Are you going to give Rob a high five? I am. Let’s give him a high five. We should move over to this side.”

I also got to hear the litany of things Rob was saying behind me, “Way up high! Down low! Give me some skin!” That caused me to laugh most of the mission, and at one point someone on the escalator told me I had a great smile and asked for my phone number! I did not give it to him because I was focused on the mission.

Agent Eppink

My job was to hold the “Rob” sign above his head to indicate who Rob was. I got to witness all the high five magic. Two people were so into the high fiving they tried to give me a high five as well. I told them that I wasn’t Rob, but I couldn’t let them down. Mostly the focus was all on Rob. I was his sidekick. He’d say “Up high,” and I’d say, “yeah, up high!” One guy was so into it that he gave Rob like 10 high fives right in a row. It seemed like people wanted to be given a light moment like this in the morning; they wanted to connect with someone else.

One funny thing was that there were lots of people who were really ready to go, but because of the speed of the escalator they couldn’t get there any faster. They would just have to wait a few extra seconds with their hand up. It was a really great awkward pause.

Agent Whines

My favorites were the people who wouldn’t crack a smile the whole time, but still gave a high five. Other people were into it early and smiled the whole ride up. I guess it’s a pretty corporate neighborhood, so to see all of the people dressed up in suits cracking a smile was pretty great.

Mission Accomplished


-Many more photos in higher resolution:
Agent Sokoler’s Flickr Set

-Check out the Rob! mission from Yankee Stadium

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260 comments on “High Five Escalator”

  1. Greg says:

    This prank was awesome – I’m on your mailing list to attend events and I had no idea this was happening and was actually on the receiving end of this prank…I get off the V train every morning in a complete daze, miserable to start work and the second I saw the signs and Agent Wimpy, I knew it was you guys. I gave Rob a huge high 5 and said “YEAH IMPROV EVERYWHERE!” Definitely made my day a lot better and was very unexpected. It made me wonder if there were other commuters that day like me, who knew about Improv Everywhere, or if they just thought this was some random occurrence.

    1. Marisa Mockery says:

      I wonder if those girls were like you, and that’s why they were so disappointed at no high fives? If I saw Rob givin’ out high fives, I’d get upset if I couldn’t get one.

      But yes. Awesome idea. If we had giant escalators of death out here, I’d do it too :3 But we mostly have traffic. And smog.

  2. Yihan Nee says:

    What a great way to make people feel appreciated! High Five Improv Everywhere!

  3. Joshi says:

    I think you beat the Todd

  4. bazookadave says:

    Great way to lighten people’s day. Best one in a long time.

  5. Caleb says:

    I wish I was there! I’ve been a fan since the very beginning. Keep up the amazing work and keep spreading the love! God Bless.

  6. hochy says:

    the free hugs campaign on youtube look it up.

  7. Jerry says:

    You know how that started? That’s a heil five. It’s for jocks. Next time try doing daps!

  8. rick says:

    I love your work.
    Sometimes we spend all day so fast that we don’t realize life is funny enough.

  9. Gin says:

    “Post high five glow”–Love it!

  10. Chris says:

    Very nice way to start the day!! Good job, guys!

  11. renee says:

    great mission and great study in human nature- all it seems people really need to make them happy is a little contact with another person! I’d love to see this idea done with hugs- maybe down on Wall Street as a relief from the bad economic news…

  12. kareb says:

    where’s the burma shave sign?
    What fun!

  13. Doug says:

    I love it! Just thinking about it will brighten my commute!

    I hope Rob had a lot of Purell after the mission.

  14. Jimmy says:

    I think you need some of They Might be Giants on this video:
    They Might be Giants High 5

  15. alex finger says:

    Rob, you are hopelessly bromantic. i wish i had seen it, but also, i don’t really mean that because that subway station makes me really twitchy.


  16. Simon says:

    brilliant video – laughed by tits off! well done :)

  17. BRWombat says:

    Great idea, awesome execution. This was just brilliant in its simplicity, but apparently had a great impact. How can anyone have a bad day when they’ve started it with a random high five from a stranger?

    Also, the pics of the mission were perfect — you captured some great expressions.

  18. James says:

    “Prank”? Do you know not of National High Five Day?


  19. Ha hah! Awesome! Bravo IE!
    No matter how simple, these are always so fantastic.

  20. Dave says:

    Awesome idea. We need more people thinking like this.

  21. Ryan says:

    Reminds me of my entry to a contest a few months back:


    It was fun to make and interesting to see how New Yorkers reacted.

  22. Jesse says:

    Have you thought about going around a giving people handshakes and encouragement, maybe you could be part of the “bail out” trying to get everyone out of there economic funk.

  23. MattB says:

    Excellent work all around. Especially love the pictures. My compliments to the photographer(s). Personal favorite is hf03.jpg, the fourth image (caption “Our agents take to the stairs”)

  24. What a fun thing to do and post about, kudos for thinking of it and sharing it.

  25. Christina says:

    Is that the same shirt he wore for the ROB! mission at Yankee Stadium. Well done!!

  26. webbie Bud says:

    You folks are awesome. All of you. Way to be amazing and make (most, anyways — the sour folk deserve to stay that way) people happy.

    As usual, well captured and presented. I virtually high five the lot of you. =)

  27. Vidman says:

    Cool idea, but eeew germs!

  28. Chloe says:

    He should work at WalMart as a greeter! He’s a natural!

  29. Clara says:

    what a great idea! thanks rob for making 2,000+ smile! i wish i’d been there because it’s easy to be sad, mad, upset during the morning rush!

  30. Brent Stansell says:

    Look at the fun things my friends do!

  31. Ders says:

    I gave Rob a hi-five! He’s must be nice guy.

  32. adam says:

    It’s like Jackass, only not funny!

  33. Stu Padaso says:

    Stu likey.

  34. John Jomos says:

    Wow, that is truly amazing stuff! Well done!


  35. Andrew says:

    at the top of the page it says:

    “Hello there follow Reddit user!”

    note: should be fEllow, not fOllow!

  36. Kayla says:

    Greta idea! I wonder how many germs Rob had on his hand after that…

  37. Kayla says:

    Sorry, that should say “great.” Stupid typos.
    I’m still worried about the germs…

  38. Fish says:

    I think this chart from indexed says it best: http://thisisindexed.com/2009/02/thanks-for-that/

  39. Michael G.R. says:

    I love it. Easy way to brighten a lot of people’s day :)

  40. Haley Omand says:

    I love how this brightened all those commuters day ( as Michael said…)
    It just shows that a simple gesture of a high five from a stranger in a public place is enough to bring some happiness and life into the mundaness of everyday life.
    Well done, I loved it. =D

  41. Puzzlehead says:

    That was pretty awesome. I would have definitely given a high five! This being the interwebs, though, I can’t :-/ Spritual high five to you!

  42. Conehead says:

    Staph infection up high! Down low! Too slow!

  43. Raghead says:

    Here’s the real punch-line: This was the work of a highly coordinated terrorist cell. All you fools just got anthrax.

  44. KeepYourHandsToYourself says:

    This is depressing because it shows that people are so stupid, sheeplike and afraid they’ll obey the signs and follow the herd even when they don’t really want to.

  45. haley says:

    this made my day so much better, i wasnt even there but it made me laugh a lot. ive been having a great day and this made it that much better. :] :]

  46. M. L. says:

    When will Rob be running for political office?

  47. meowbooks says:

    Ah, Improv Everywhere is ah-mazing! I love it when you guys do these simple, yet effective missions to bring more smiles into the world. That’s the power of improv!

  48. Olivia says:

    I am from Rio de Janeiro and I have to face METRO (like we say in Portuguese) every day. From now on I`ll wish you were here to put an smile on my face in the midle of thousand people every morning. Congrats!

  49. delaorden says:

    absolutely fantastic and genuine…. I admire people like you.
    keep it up !

  50. jesusruelas says:

    hey, if you did something like this on wall st. before they entered the building, you think it will affect that day’s gains?
    this is now one of my five faves =D
    nice on IE

  51. Briony says:

    this was awesome…wish i was there!

  52. Umandsf says:

    Once again, you guys come up with another great idea. I seriously wish I can join in on the fun.

  53. Brent says:

    Great job man, you made a lot of people start their day off with a smile. Nice work.

  54. Clayton says:

    Well… They’ve done much better, but it was a fun little one!

  55. sylvia says:

    I just happened to stumble upon your website – the missions you guys have done are just absolutely FANTASTIC! i’m from Singapore but would love to be an undercover agent when i’m in NYC… sign me up! haha. A high five is a great way to start a working day :)

  56. Johno says:

    Wow Rob,

    Did you boil your hand in Listerine afterwards?

    Then again, after brushing up against a couple dozen people without pants a few weeks ago, I really shouldn’t be so squeamish about meeting people on the subway.

  57. Randy says:

    I’m curious, how many people can say “today I brought a smile to 2700 people”. For a moment, reguardless of how brief, i made a group of people forget their daily grind.

    pretty powerfull stuff.

  58. J. Freeman says:

    I love Agent Wimpy’s head nodding as people went past him.

  59. Tori says:

    Love it when people do stuff to bring smiles to other peoples faces.

  60. LaDonna says:

    I loved this because everyone is always so hard on us as New Yorkers and our “attitudes” but given the right circumstances we can show love too….. Excellent Guys!

  61. David says:

    This is a thing of inspiration. I am giving all 850 of my Chinese high school students high fives this week

  62. herenthere says:

    Awesome! I (used to) take it every morning! I can’t believe I missed it!!!!! Now, everytime I pass that escalator bank, I can’t help but try and give an imaginary high five to Rob. Except this time people will really think that it’s crazy. :)

  63. joolie says:

    I hate to say this, but there is no way one of the college guys wouldn’t think to touch either his “gluteal furrow” or scrotum before hi-fiving. It’s too tempting. Most of the people touched some kind of nether-sweat.

  64. Nemo says:

    I love this event!
    I don’t know why I cannot run into these people from ImprovEverywhere!! :)

  65. OMG GERMS says:

    OMG you guys are seriously crazy! Don’t you know that you should never touch ANYONE because they carry MILLIONS OF GERMS and then you will catch them and have GERMS all over you too?!?! I hope you all had buckets of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer because seriously you guys BACTERIA ARE TRYING TO EAT YOU ALIVE and you have to KILL THEM BEFORE THEY KILL YOU. Jesus Christ you should have been wearing surgical masks, too! Germs can be TRANSMITTED THROUGH THE AIR! OMG I need to wash my hands right now because they’re CRAWLING ALL OVER ME because I think I accidentally touched a door knob in a restaurant last week.

  66. Andrea M. says:

    The looks on the people’s faces are amazing! I would love for this to happen to me.

    Who cares about germs? They’re good for you, keeps your immune system strong.

  67. Heidi says:

    How cool is that? You guys rock! I love the little burst of happiness you brought to those commuters’ morning!

  68. Rob is Right-Handed says:

    Good one, Rob. You made a lot of smiles. Mission accomplished.

  69. Agus EM says:

    A humble touch to people, but a great mission ! Congratulation.

  70. Raibaz says:

    Wooo, great job guys…high five to you!

  71. ari says:

    this article was second on reddit.com !

  72. Ralph says:

    I am impressed with the public user interface of this mission, your careful crafting of how people were to understand the upcoming encounter as they absorbed the idea, one step at a time, while approaching Rob. It appears that you carefully thought that through before making the signs. Well done!

  73. Redd says:

    I fucking love New York

  74. Pat says:

    Just reading about this looking at the photos brightened my (otherwise stormy grey, grim) morning, A virtual high five you all! Improv EVERYWHERE!!!!!

  75. Stephen says:

    You really should have thrown in a few Pump Fakes to see how that would effect people and the whole process. It would add an extra level of hilarity to it all I think.

  76. I LOVE it! London needs something like this!

  77. lovers in the air says:

    Genial!!! espontaneo!! muy gracioso!!!
    Situacíon que deseamos todos en nuestra rutina mañanera!!

  78. first thing i’m doing when i move to new york is getting on the mailing list! love what you guys are doing!

  79. mark says:

    Something about this video is so heartwarming. It made me a little weepy–but happy weepy.

  80. yohei says:

    wow!! it made me sm:)e

  81. Syn says:

    *virtual high-five* I absolutely love everything you guys do!! I have gotten one of my friends into the madness and now she loves it too. Excpecially the Frozen Grand Central. AMAZING! I wish you guys would come down to New Mexico with the MP3 Experiment. People should quit being so snobby and just lighten up and enjoy the simple things in life. :) keep up the good deeds. :D

  82. Stephanie says:

    I absolutely loved this idea! I am from Long Island and I visit the city often and the atmosphere is so hectic and cranky in the morning. The idea that a simple high five could make someone happy, even for a brief second or two, is questionable, but clearly it worked! This experiment was awesome and I wish I had been there to take part!

  83. Bill says:

    Like Mark, this made me teary, because it is so joyous! We can act together for the good….and the fun! Wow!

  84. Adam Kayce says:

    You guys are awesome. This is the first time I’ve heard of you (saw a link from Kathy Sierra on Twitter), and I love what you’re doing.

    I also went to YouTube and watched a bunch of your videos… awesome stuff. I just wished I live somewhere more urban and could join in!

  85. Diana says:

    What a fantastic way to make people feel good… Keep on spreading the love!

  86. Kris says:

    You guys should totally do another musical, but this time at (or on) the subway!! Now THAT people would enjoy.

  87. dbiz says:

    This creates more social value than any gvt program!

  88. Karen B. says:

    You rock, Rob!

  89. maria says:

    Wait why are there so many pessimists/germaphobes here? People smiled. No one was hurt. It was good. Besides, a lot of people were wearing gloves and I’m sure he washed his hand before he ate or anything.

    This is what IE is all about. Simple and inspiring.

  90. Gallardo says:

    haha this was such an awesome thing to do

  91. Kayley says:

    Thought about the Todd from Scrubs right after reading this article. Escalator five!

  92. DavisMcDavis says:

    Great idea and flawless execution. Thanks for brightening my afternoon!

  93. MediaMisfit says:

    You guys ROCK! Keep it up!

  94. Rob in New York says:

    Probably the best improv everywhere I’ve seen so far. Simple, executed flawlessly, no one gave you crap, and you put a smile on thousands of people’s faces.

    Well done!

  95. Lelo says:

    Que frikismo

  96. gretzki says:

    you guys are awesome. this is a great idea.

    keep it up!!!!

    *high five*

  97. Just Josh. says:

    I think that it is really great what you guys are doing, and would like to get involved. Is there any pennsylvania chapters? If not I would like to talk about starting one. Anyone in the Lancaster Co area who is interested?

  98. kiki says:

    aixo ho fas al metro d barcelona i lo més provable q aconsegueixis es q et pispen lo rellotge.

  99. ree says:

    that was awsomly great, we need some more of that in the whole world..
    wish I find the right people to help me IMPROV here in doha)

  100. BorHa says:

    Si señor!!!jajajajajaja!!Muy bueno!!

  101. Stefan says:

    Thumbs up from Germany.

  102. Liza says:

    A perfect antidote to the usual mean demeanor of that filthy, packed, station. I thought of my friend Steve, who committed suicide a few years ago, because he would have absolutely loved this form of unexpected urban street theater!

  103. Alex says:

    No want to rain on a parade. Maybe i dont understand this improv fully.But this is nothing to write home about. Its a high five…

  104. Will says:

    Looks like Improv Everywhere has a mascot. I would love to see Rob and his red-striped polo in more videos/events!

  105. Mimi says:

    This is awesome. I wish Boston wasn’t so stuffy, and that we had people who create and enjoy things like this, too.

  106. RSM says:

    Imagine the damage you could deal if you had some anthrax on your hand!

  107. MommaKim says:

    Now that is what life is about. Taking time to get folks to smile before work. Why can’t folks do that everyday? When did it become common to look grumpy anyhow? They can’t feel that bad – otherwise just don’t get out of bed! Do the High Five in your neighborhood and see how this can affect the world! That’s what I’m talking about!

  108. la caña de españa says:


  109. Dennis says:

    A great way to brighten up everyone’s morning on the subway.
    I fully support this idea, great job.

  110. this is just brilliant. reminding new yorkers they’re humans. perfect.

  111. Awww… I wish you guys were at my station, 59th Street & Lex. I needed a high-five this morning.

  112. Jerry Erbe says:

    AWESOME!! Totally awesome!

  113. artcy says:


  114. Carolina says:

    Naawww, it’s so great to see this – yknow, people doing nice things without expecting anything in return. I am sure you guys brightened up many people’s day!! Not to mention it gave them something to smile about and tell all their friends.

    This is truly amazing and much needed at times like these. This is the kind of the thing that reminds us of our own humanity. Thank you so much :)

  115. yance says:

    I schlepp up those escalators every morning and can’t believe I missed this!

  116. gs - ny says:

    Very nice photos – and a nice idea.

    BTW, in our house we call hi-fives done at a distance “wi – fives” instead of “air fives.”

  117. Loretta says:

    This is very cool. It was nice to see everyone smiling.

  118. IwannaHigh5 says:

    The girl beneath the “looking up towards Rob” caption is HOT!

  119. Fee says:

    Lots of fun…..but was it really a prank?

    Anyway, it’s been a year….or more? since the Grand Central thing and some other cool things you’ve done…so I’ve gotta ask…..are you all able to make a LIVING from this? If not, what else do you do?

  120. ka_edong says:

    spread the high fives!

  121. sunil kumar says:

    this is one of those free hugs stuff i guess.
    the look on the face of the people after the high fives were a great thing to achieve.
    keep up with the good work.
    its hard to change the world….
    but changing a person’s life even for a minute is a big achievement.
    best wishes and happy valentines day

  122. Jared says:

    I commend you. You saw the free hug guy and all the respect, admiration and popularity he was generating and said “me too.” You’re what keeps America original and great.

  123. hans says:

    This is so cool !!!!
    I found this page this morning from a video on Gizmodo.
    its so cool, i wish i was in America.
    i will support you guys from Japan ! maybe i can do this in japan …. oh no, the japanese are to shy haha.

    but maybe someday !

  124. boufonman35 says:

    Ohhh yeah !!
    Love what you do !!
    Need this in France :p

  125. Ms Rosso says:

    So. Much. FUUN!

  126. Ax says:

    Great one, It’s great make people smile in their way to job. If we smile a bit more, this would be a better place to live…

  127. PaulieB says:

    do chest bumps

    then crotch bumps

    then awkward silences

  128. memprime says:

    One of your best yet. Keep it up.

  129. July7nyc says:

    My favorite is the business guy CRACKING UP! It’s so NY to be serious for the high-five and then smile secretly to yourself afterward. Lol! Love it.

  130. Jazzmin says:

    High five sound effect: Wapshh!

    What an amazing mission. Great job. :D

  131. Ashley says:

    Did anyone on the far side give him an air high-five? I definitely would have. What a great way to start the day! Very cool.

  132. Russ says:

    It just goes to show, you can’t be too careful!

  133. Brandon Bagwell says:


    “Cuz everyone’s your friend… in New York City. And everything looks beautiful when you’re young and pretty. The streets are paved with diamonds, and there’s just so much to see… but the best thing about NYC… is you and me!”

  134. iejunkie says:

    It’s great to see Rob & his striped shirt star in another delightful mission.

  135. pixelfish says:

    This makes me think of the Aquabats song, High Figh City:

    (Third song on their player. One of my favourite from them.)

  136. Lorraine says:

    What a fun thing to do. Getting smiles from commuters on their way to work….starts there day off right!!

  137. Bead Booty says:

    I love this!! What a great way to make people smile!

  138. KatrinaMaria says:

    I love this kind of stuff that Improv Everywhere does, the stuff that is silly and fun but that also makes you think about how we can make the world a better place. Human connection, actual physical connection is what the world needs. Smiles, simple gestures of friendliness, reaching out and touching people, physically and emotionally and spiritually. I realize that I might be reading too much into this, but that’s what I got out of it.


  139. Winston Smith says:


  140. Hana says:

    I LOVE this!
    So love it!
    Yay for you! You make people smile! And me too!
    You made my day!

  141. me says:

    this is so stupid

  142. Porkchop says:

    As Weird Al once said “Dare to be stupid”. Excellent work making people smile!

  143. David says:

    Such a simple thing really but demonstrates again, how much power we have to ‘make or break’ another person’s day. It was really pretty cool to see people break out of their shells and smile a little. Maybe it set some people off on a better foot for the day.

  144. Klawzie says:

    Thank you so much, firstly! I’ve been feeling progressively crappier all day, so I switched to my laptop to interwub in bed. Happened to click on my bookmark here idly and was thrilled to find a new mission. For someone who felt fairly miserable, you had me smiling the moment I understood the mission and laughing from the moment I saw dear Agent Wimpy doing the head-bob. Right on.

    I’ve had a similar experience to this before – only I was coming down an escalator at an anime convention. Two guys dressed up in tentacle-monster costumes (seriously) were waiting at the bottom. A third guy in a devo cap was playing “Push It” on a boombox. I totally danced with a tentacle monster in the sort of air bump-n-grind way you would with a tentacle monster. I only wish I had been wearing a schoolgirl uniform or had been the first one to do it (someone else got to be the first one to dance with the monsters, so I was a little sad that people might have assumed I played follow-the-leader in that).

    Anyway – thank you for the smiles, laughs, and making me remember one of the fun, odd, silly things I’ve done.

  145. Chris - Oz says:

    I did something very similar at a Dave Matthew’s concert in CT last summer. It was awesome. My best friend and I stood at the gate high-five-ing everyone who was coming in. Granted, people were already in a good mood because they were going to a concert, but we amped it up just that much more. We got so many high-fives and not only did it make everyone else feel good, it made us feel good too! High-fives are the best!!!

  146. Rinman says:

    Love it! Improving ppls lives since 2001, keep it up! =D

  147. sir jorge says:

    tremendous! seriously, great work

  148. Kim says:

    lol, i do that regularly!!

  149. A MAN says:

    AMAZING…Just waiting to be part of the team!!

  150. Jake says:

    Good job Rob… and friends.

    VERY good job! *golf clap*

    I just might start high-fivin’ the guys at the bottom and top of the escalators at the Linc.

    /superstition thing, but Rob would’ve gotten a high-five

  151. swan says:

    hey guys!! u gotta do this in Spain!! we would love it!!!

  152. bluedolby says:

    What a great little “pick-me-up”–for the people giving high fives, for all the people in the immediate area, and for those of us who got to watch all those smiles and giggles! Thanks, IE!

  153. drew says:

    this is so awesome. i’ve never wanted a high five this bad.

  154. Jackie Liew says:

    The world needs a little more laughs and a little less hate. Keep the world smiling and laughing.

  155. poopie hands says:

    …and he immediately took a shower and washed his hands.

  156. Cheryl says:

    Love the improv everywhere antics….love them!!!

  157. Marco says:

    Thanks for put a smile on the face of those pepol…

  158. Loni says:

    I love how the people looked so puzzled and grumpy at first, and then gradually there were more and more smiles. Great idea! Our world definitely needs more spontaneous acts of kindness and humor! Bravo!

  159. Dee Fouge says:

    This put a smile on my face- and I wasn’t even there! By far my favorite improv.

  160. Kevin says:

    hmmm, pointless crap, not entertaining

  161. WOV says:

    Huh – you know I was distinctly uncomfortable with IE – I thought you sort of *inflicted* these on people – like “YEAH! I have a THESIS about PERFORMANCE CAN YOU *DEAL* WITH THAT?” but this is a truly great thing to do.

    I’m serious. Making 2000+ people’s lives 5% better for one day roughly equals saving one human life, no?

  162. Ryguy says:

    Great idea. But, left hand raised up is an insult in some cultures.

  163. Moses says:

    It was so funny. I loved that. :)

  164. kiwigirl says:

    all i can say is ‘only in America’ most normal people say Good Morning.Is life so hard there that you cant talk to each other?

  165. Oscar says:

    Cool! This is going back to basics! What a classic mission. ^_^

    To all the mean stadium folks – Rob is NOT retarded, he’s cool!

    I wonder if any Subway person had been there at the Stadium?

  166. berklia says:

    I Love You !!!!!!!

  167. i didnt read it all, but i watch the images and i didnt understand what you want to mean with all that- it was just something to make people smile? i dont think it is a bad reason, but it just seems to be a little bit silly, doesnt it?

  168. scott says:

    *HIGH FIVE* sound effct (chush)

  169. Marduk Thor says:

    This experiment was awsome really, this demonstrates that people is good even at that time on the morning.

  170. Greg says:

    This works ANYWHERE.

    I often go to Disneyland with a largish group of people. As snake through the ubiquitous switchbacks in lines for rides, we pass each other over and over. One day we just started high fiving each other as we passed on each turn. Inevitably, people behind us joined in. It’s good times!

  171. Megan says:

    Thank you for making these videos… They are a great picker-upper during a long work day^^ Holler.

  172. you says:

    It’s so fun!!
    everyone smiles.
    you made their day happy.
    if i find you,lets high five!!

  173. CSE says:

    Class, I like the twist on ‘Rob’.

  174. Danyell says:

    I love seeing all the people smiling.

    A high five says “You’re doing GREAT!” Who wouldn’t love that first thing the morning?

    Amazing job! Yay, Rob!

  175. Gawd I miss New York!

  176. alki says:

    cool. it’s always nice to make people smile. you made me smile. lol

  177. Lou says:

    aww….that is really lovely!!! sharing the love :-). What a nice video to watch!!

  178. WOV says:

    Interestingly, I bet you would have had better response if you could have found an escalator that would have permitted a right-hand high five.

  179. Aaron says:

    Another fantastic mission! To all the mysophobes, what makes you think the hand rail on that escalator is so sterile? I’d guess that’s got a whole lot more bacteria on it than Rob’s high-fiver!

  180. Eric Small says:

    The girl holding the “To Give You” sign?

    Yeah. That’s my sister.

  181. Agent Small aka "Sis" says:

    The guy posting above?

    Yeah. That’s my brother. He’s neat. :)

  182. Rob says:

    Yo Dawg, you should post a picture of your hand on your blog giving a camera a high five. That way we you can give more high-fives while your giving high-fives.

  183. char says:

    I love it, We all need a good Smile these days!

  184. Lesley says:

    Virtual high-five! o/\o

  185. Sarah says:

    I love this idea and I wish things like this would happen more often. Putting a smile on someone’s face is one of the best things you can do for someone even if you don’t know them.

  186. bart says:

    Wow what a fun way
    to start your day!

  187. Rachel Hay says:

    Genious:D I love how you guys don’t JUST make big scenes, but also small ones. Its cool- that would have made their day:)

  188. Stephanie says:

    Did you make a world record???? Most high-fives made by one person in the span of X minutes?

  189. H says:

    This almost made me cry with joy! =)

  190. MaryLynn says:

    Wow, once again I just have to say you ROCK! *virtual high five*
    I love how you guys just brighten other people’s days and make life more interesting. Thanks for being so awesome!

  191. Tyler says:

    This is the best one you guys have done recently… so simple, yet so effective. You guys should feel great, knowing that you made over 2,000 random strangers’ days just a little bit better =D

    Think about it… how can you NOT be happy after something like this happens to you? LOL

    Great job, IE! Bravo!

  192. Mark N. says:

    Adrian Monk is sitting in a corner somewhere, screaming to himself.

    As for myself, this was a thing of beauty.

  193. Bunbury says:

    So many people got a smile from that simple act… I love it!

  194. alexandre says:

    this mission is amazing. I feel you guys reached the next level with that one. Please dig on that , there is so much love to discover from it.

  195. Tobu says:

    How efficient!

  196. Narpendyah says:

    Hehe *high five*
    This would make my day for sure :)

  197. CamdenHolly says:

    We don’t have escalators in Camden, Maine, just schooners and village greens, islands and mountains and a great big sea. I wish we had an escalator to do a Maine high five, wait, no, I’m glad we don’t have an escalator here. But I’m sure we can get creative and come up with a suitable substitute, because I think making people smile is a great thing to do any time of day! I applaud your idea, and the debrief afterward was awesome too. Thanks for doing it, and sharing.

  198. Typophobic Loser :] says:


    Gosh, I wish that there were more people that would do that around here! Hehe!


  199. Adelle says:

    Oh, my word! This story made me feel SO GOOD! Sitting in Utah, bummed at my current life, wondering how to shake the mini-stress… and I stumbled this site. This one, Rob Wants to Give You a High Five, absolutely made my afternoon! very good. makes me wish I lived in NYC! hahahaha!

  200. Roger says:

    Probably the best improv everywhere I’ve seen so far. Simple, executed flawlessly, no one gave you crap, and you put a smile on thousands of people’s faces.

    Well done!

  201. Wilson says:

    Do something in Singapore man.. lol
    i sure will join in!

  202. from russia with love says:


  203. Mag says:

    hey IE,

    We a bunch of random people – did the same thing today at Singapore!!! YES Wilson we do have it in Singapore :)

    We used the walking escalator in one of the MRT stations (yes, Wilson, Dhoby Ghaut), and the response is as good as it gets!!! People smiled, laughed, high – 5 :)!!! Its so heartwarming – luckily we were never get caught :)

    I would love to say – great job IE — its such an inspiration :)

  204. Trieu Duong says:

    I want a high five so bad right now!

  205. Stephanie says:

    What a great idea for a grumpy early-morning crowd! I like the missions that make a positive difference.

  206. keith hughes says:

    iam a crowd control conductor for the mta and i work at that station although i work in the pm rush hour…i am also a photography graduate from sva…i know a bunch of other spots that would work well also…keep me informed..i’d love to get involved!!! looks like fun…..keith hughes

  207. sachy says:

    Inspired by u, Rob.

  208. Sam Santamaria says:

    This is cool. This is great. This makes me happy!

  209. ohgod says:

    with swine flu now, this ain’t happenin.

  210. andres herrada says:

    Simplemente sublime…..ojala podamos hacer aquí en Peru, una experiencia como esta , tan creativa.

  211. I want to give Rob a high five.

  212. Marisa Mockery says:

    I have to ask: how many people recognized Rob?

  213. Kevin says:

    You all are amazing and wonderful people. Thank you

  214. PoorOldEdgarDerby says:

    This is akin to the “free hugs” idea, but much more appealing to everybody. Kudos on the locale, by the way.

  215. Angelica says:

    Was so funny!! Weird… but so funny!!

  216. Ax says:

    hahaha, it’s so original :))

  217. Janna says:

    I love the way everyone is smiling! Those people will remember that day for the rest of their lives and hopefully it will make them smile every time they think o f it!

  218. himawari says:

    I love how it put smiles onto people’s faces, and I can’t help smiling to myself while watching/reading this, too. :)

  219. me-astray says:

    This is one of your best. Six people bringing a moment of happiness to thousands of people by simple gesture. Love you!

    For people who say they would need this kind of thing in their home town: tests yourselves whether or not you’re brave enough to be the first one to do it.

  220. Ray Zwierzycki says:

    Loved the “high-5” and all the others. The wedding reception was touching. I’ll be an agent here in Las Vegas.

  221. This is absolutely genius! Its mind-boggling to think how many people you made smile. You are a great guy, and this is a great idea!

  222. Wikt says:

    I’d like to say this is an incredibly positive and excellent idea – sending out some good emotions into a sea of gray to brighten things up a bit. Thumbs up.

  223. arto says:

    why? what’s the point of this? What does it prove or disprove? is this some sort of performance art?

  224. caitlin says:

    a group of people did this in madrid at the arguelles stop during the morning rush a couple weeks ago! it made my monday way better :)

  225. marc says:

    It’s best to do this during flu season.

  226. Unnar Geirdal says:

    brilliant, also I really liked the music. :D

  227. Dentrite says:

    Great experiment!

  228. Eliza says:

    Look at how many people are smiling!! This is so great.

  229. Merel says:

    Such a shame that I live in the Netherlands!!! Keep up the amazing work, if I ever come to New York I will try to join you on a mission :D

  230. Erik says:

    I just think Improve Everywhere is great. You see some pranks that make fun of people but not these guys. They make people feel better and give them something to tell there friends. Keep up the great work guys!!!!

  231. Dooley says:

    How do i get in on this??

  232. Lou Cutri says:

    Is it possible I can join the improv everywhere group?

  233. germ says:

    can i get a high five?
    i need one…

  234. Aaron says:

    I see lots of smiles in your pictures and that’s never a bad thing. I hear/ed about you guys on NPR and it’s unfortunate about how some of your missions rub people the wrong way (although I especially like when the police are involved but can’t do anything) but this particular mission is awesome. Keep up the good work. HIGH FIVE!

  235. Jaocb says:

    Awesome! Keep it up people. Even from a thousand miles away, you put a smile on my face.

  236. Tina says:

    Awesome stunt :) Good thing it was done when it was and not now cause if we tried something like that now, people would be thinking along the lines of “Rob wants to give you H1N1” and whip out their hand sanitizers just thinking about it.

  237. Yo, this is inspired work. I just love this kind of cool live art. :) Id be happy if I was greeted with a high five in the morning. Fortunately I don’t have to commute! Phew!

  238. ??????? says:

    Easily, the article is really the greatest on this precious topic. I harmonize with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your coming updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the phenomenal lucidity in your writing. I will directly grab your rss feed to stay abreast of any updates. Genuine work and much success in your business endeavors!

  239. Andrew says:

    Ez baromi jó cucc. Gratula! CSak így tovább Rob…

  240. Kathryn says:

    wow, amazing. look how many people you guys made smile!

  241. miranda says:

    i love the nod of agent wimpy. that was cool.

  242. Mich says:

    Hey IE! Just wanted to let you know that I fell in love with this particular mission, and copied it in a downtown metro station in southern France on Dec 30 (which, incidentally, was the day before my birthday). We translated into French and changed Rob to Mich. It was by far the coolest birthday ever – I had so much fun bringing smiles to serious faces. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  243. Dr3 says:

    You guys are the coolest people for doing these thing, I wanna take part in one of these events, how do I go about doing so

  244. DIMITRY says:


  245. neeks says:

    Well, I’m smiling.

  246. Blake C. says:

    Wow.. what a random place to find Jason Eppink. :X I used to go to school with you how funny that you ended up here, but quite fitting haha this is brilliant.

  247. hanum says:

    awesome!! love this to bits! :D

  248. jamie says:

    Way to get people smiling on their boring morning commutes. Nicely done folks!

  249. kenzie says:

    hehe. this is genius. if i lived in new york i would totally do stuff like this. I think i saw someone doing this at the 2009 LaCrosse Wisconsin Oktoberfest Mapleleaf Parade. I was playing my bass drum in the parade, so my hands weren’t free though. :( too bad. keep up the funny videos!

  250. Jan says:

    Hehe, i like the end: High Five Sound Effect (sound of whip =D)

    Nice going people, love all the things you do =D

  251. Tomas says:

    Aah! swine flu! I would feel horrible doing this!

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