John Ward 1947 – 2010

John “Wimpy” Ward, one of Improv Everywhere’s most senior agents, passed away today. John was an incredibly kind, warm, and hilarious man, and we are all lucky to have known and worked with him. I first ran across John when he started taking classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 2003. I approached him one night and asked if he would be interested in playing a prank at a Barnes & Noble where he gave an unauthorized reading as long dead playwright Anton Chekhov. Although he had never met me and had never heard of Improv Everywhere, he instantly said, “Sure. That sounds like fun.” John was the kind of guy who said yes to life and jumped head first into new things.

Over the past six years, he has participated in nearly every Improv Everywhere mission. He danced in a window for Look Up More, stood still for Frozen Grand Central, pretended to be a Best Buy employee, and played Santa Claus in the very first Mp3 Experiment, to name just a few. In 2006, he figured out a way to sneak Improv Everywhere onto daytime television by using his position as a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? as an opportunity to play a prank.

John was adored by many Improv Everywhere fans, who were quick to celebrate his appearances in our videos in YouTube comments. He was a vital member of our group and the New York comedy community at large, and he will be missed greatly. Below are some videos and photos of some of John’s more memorable moments with IE.

John passing out candy canes on 8th Avenue for the first Mp3 Experiment

John enjoying a drink while playing Ted’s grandfather at Ted’s Birthday in 2007

John hugs and kisses a total stranger at JFK for the Welcome Back mission in 2008

John holds a sign in the subway for High Five Escalator

John Ward t-shirt

Finally, here’s a hilarious sketch John starred in that was written by IE Agent Ari Scott and staged at the UCB Theatre.

Rest In Peace, John Ward. We miss you.



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85 Responses to John Ward 1947 – 2010

  1. Cyclops says:

    Oh wow… That is some sad news. We will definitely miss you, Agent Wimpy.

  2. Daumier says:

    Say it ain’t so. I was always delighted to see him show up in videos, and he’s been a joy to watch in his IE antics. I’ll miss him! Wimpy, you’ll always be the best Anton Chekov to me.

  3. Nick says:

    He was by far one of my favorites!

    Rest in peace Wimpy. :(

  4. Jenny says:

    Wow, I’m speechless. He really was a fixture of IE and he will be missed!

  5. Ellen says:

    Oh my god. This is so upset. We’ll miss you, Anton Chekov.

  6. Arthur says:

    Wow — we were reading the Anton Chekov chapter from Causing a Scene just last night. Really sad — definitely the most recognizable agent.

  7. Bella says:

    Thats so sad to hear, my thoughts are with his family and friends during this hard time. We’ll miss you!

  8. tqe | Adam says:

    This is very sad news — I was actually rereading some of your older missions this past weekend and I have to say that the Anton Chekov reading is one of my favorites of all time.

  9. Shepard says:

    John, I didnt know your face or name 6 hours ago. I spent the time since then watching all the videos Inprov Everywhere has posted. I saw you in alot of them, and you were my favorite Agent. I finish watching the “Best Funeral Ever” and click on the website link. And I see you, and what has happened. Its absolutly unbelieveable that I only got to know you 6 hours ago, and I’m already saying goodbye. On a personal note,I would have taken the 16k too John. I wouldn’t have known what DHA was in either. Best of luck you, wherever you go my friend. My heart goes out to the fans, friends, and family. I’ll see ya when I get there John, take care for now.

  10. Jonathan says:

    IE is awesome. Love the work. John Ward made it all the more fun. Condolences to all his family, friends and fans.

  11. LafinJack says:

    Death is a bastard.

  12. Scott Beale says:

    That is very sad news. He was definitely one of the most memorable IE agents.

  13. Gary says:

    He deserves the best funeral ever.

  14. Dean says:

    Well said Gary.

  15. Rachael says:

    Godspeed, Agent Wimpy.

  16. Zak says:

    I’m very sorry to read this news.

    I’ve been following IE from Australia for a while now, and from even just reading about different pranks it was obvious that John was someone who enjoyed life and went out of his way to make sure everyone around him did too.

    My condolences to his friends and family, and to his fellow agents who he has hopefully inspired to spread the fun and laughter.

  17. Andrew says:

    That’s really sad! I’ve watched every video and I can see John Ward played a large role in IE. Now who’s going to be the next big nice guy with a beard?

  18. Sharon says:

    That’s so unfortunate :( He was in some of my favorite pranks. RIP John Ward.

  19. sabrina says:

    RIP John Ward IE missions will not be the same without you

  20. Stephen says:

    He will be very missed… He will be chatting it up with the real Anton Chekov now.