No Underwear Subway Ride (April Fool’s 2010)

Note: This is a fake mission we staged for April Fool’s Day 2010. We posted it on April 1, fooling thousands of people into thinking we actually rode the subway with exposed genitals. We pulled this off by wearing skin-colored underwear that would blur in a convincing way. You can also see the “uncensored” version of the video that shows what we actually looked like. Be sure to check out the comments from the people who were fooled below.


(No Underwear Subway Ride in HD on YouTube)
Produced by Charlie Todd and Matt Adams / edited by Matt Adams with Keith Haskel / song by Tyler Walker

For our latest mission, over 1,000 people rode the subway without underwear or pants in New York City. Our annual No Pants Subway Ride has been a tradition for years, and we decided it was time to up the ante. Riders spread out over four different subway lines to surprise and delight everyday New Yorkers riding the train. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos. We have blurred out the private parts of all the riders to keep the documentation safe for work.

Train Captains: Agents Fiedler, Lathan, Lindquist, Todd
Digital Video: Agents Adams, Nicholson, Haskel, Gross
Digital Photography: Agents Nicholson, Sokoler


The crowd at Foley Square

I was a little nervous about this idea, as I could definitely see how some people might think it was pushing things a bit too far. Improv Everywhere is about giving people a positive experience and a great story to tell, and I really had to think through whether or not this was the best idea. After sending out an email to a group of small senior agents, I was comforted by the fact that they all thought it was hilarious and were eager to participate. There is definitely a huge difference between being in your underwear and totally exposing your genitals, so even the most senior “No Pants veterans” were a little nervous about pulling this off. I was also concerned about the legality. In 2006, No Pants was stopped by the police and six people were handcuffed in their underwear. But that case was dismissed and we couldn’t find any law on the books or MTA regulation stating that nudity wasn’t OK, so we figured we were in the clear.


Giving instructions to the crowd

I was careful to instruct all of the participants to be as respectful as possible. This was not about offending people. We wanted to give those who saw it a memorable experience that they’d be laughing about for the rest of their lives. Logistically the event worked much like No Pants. We separated into four different train lines, and divided up into ten cars on each train. I figured it would only be fair if I went first on my car.

No one reacted when I removed my pants, but I heard a few gasps and yelps when I removed my underwear. Pretty quickly the other riders started laughing and talking to each other.

At the next stop Agent Shafeek stood up and removed his pants and underwear as well on the other side of the car. You could see people in the middle doing double takes looking back and forth at both of us.


Agent Shafeek removing his underwear

Agent Lindquist was next. She was a little nervous, being the first female participant to de-underwear.


Agents Lindquist and Shafeek acting like they don’t know each other

It was funny to see the reactions on the train. This guy found himself sitting right in between two half-naked Improv Everywhere agents. He couldn’t help but sneak some looks.

Agent Lathan was hilarious when he clumsily took his underwear off. He then went to go check the subway map, leaning in very close to a woman who was laughing hysterically at him.

One thing that was different than No Pants is that we had participants transfer from the undressing car to the “target” car as a big group. We thought it might be a little unsafe to have people waiting on the platform alone with their genitals exposed. There was safety in numbers.

Our participants got some great reactions when we were waiting on the platforms. There were so many laughing and smiling people passing by.


A laughing MTA employee comes out of his office to check us out

Once everyone transferred to each “target” car on their second train, things got really funny. Imagine the doors opening and 30 half-naked people getting on your car.

All of the train lines converged on Union Square at the end of the mission, which means that within a short stretch of time 1,000 pantless and underwearless people passed through the station’s exit turnstiles. We hope to make the No Underwear Subway Ride an annual event, just like No Pants. If you’re interested in participating next year (or starting one in your own city), be sure to sign up for our mailing list. We’ll announce the date of next year’s ride shortly after next year’s No Pants.

Mission Accomplished.


OTHER RESOURCES:

Chad Nicholson’s Flickr Set
Katie Sokoler’s Flickr Set

UPDATE: Uncensored version:


(Watch No Underwear Subway Ride Uncensored in HD on YouTube)
edited by Matt Adams / song by Tyler Walker

Read the Behind-the-scenes report on how we actually did this.

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552 Responses to No Underwear Subway Ride (April Fool’s 2010)

  1. David says:

    yes!

  2. Luke says:

    This is why I love improv everywhere.

  3. Laura E. says:

    OOH! This definitely needs to go global next year…

  4. Tobi says:

    poor guy getting laughed at. ;) ;)

  5. Christie says:

    Wow.. I have to say this is super unexpected and totally out of my comfort zone. I would do just about anything else… but this would be too embarrassing to me. I was doubled over laughing at everyone’s responses though!

  6. Collin says:

    I’ll be sure to plan my first trip to New York around these, as I will no longer be a minor. XD

  7. Drewski says:

    oh the sitting down people, woah! I always did wonder about what had been on the subway seat before I sat down, but now I have a visual. I’m so shocked the participants were ok with having their kibbles and bits make contact with the same surface where many mentally ill homeless may have urinated or even defecated recently…i’m just sayin.

    • wobbly wobbly says:

      yes drewski, all the homeless are peeing and pooping on the subway all the time. number 1 reason not to ride naked…

  8. Jeff says:

    This is awesome! DC Needs to do more! Where better to set a statement!

  9. Joh says:

    love it! ;p

  10. Sarah C. says:

    That’s 5 seconds of ‘whaaaat?’ followed by ‘oh wait… doh!’
    You are geniuses.

  11. scott f says:

    WHA-WHA-WHAT!!!!!!Oh i get it.

  12. I was actually starting to think No Pants was getting old. And then you come with such renewagement! Oh, that’s why I love you, guys! Always original and top funny!

    I hope I can participate next year! Depantsed life is good, but deunderweared is FRAKKING AWESOME! =D

  13. Xooyoo says:

    You made my day, great work! :D

  14. dudine says:

    oh so gross and unsanitary!!

  15. Tali says:

    Ireally love your stuff.

    I think this one went too far.

    • Williesha says:

      It’s an April Fools joke. And I bet you believed the new Halo Bollywood movie was real too. :)

  16. Eric N says:

    Wow I was really confused when I saw this latest mission. I have been following improve everywhere since 2005 and this seemed out of spirit with what IE does…

    • Lona says:

      Just to be sure the plot reaches you: it was April Fools Day… So funny to see how many people bought it :). I would have, had I logged in a day earlier. Hilarious IE!

  17. Paderic says:

    Wow…caught me off guard. I didn’t know what to think….

  18. mpinoly says:

    This is really disappointing.

    • Williesha says:

      LOL It’s April Fools Day. HELLOOOO. They are wearing underwear. Way to go for looking silly.

      • Hmm says:

        You know, you don’t need to go about telling every person individually that it was an April Fools joke the day it goes public that it was April Fools. That looks far sillier than falling for a funny yet believable joke.

  19. Webster says:

    Take it from an agent here that helped make this a reality that this mission was something that was intended to make everyone have a good laugh or bring people out of their comfort zone just a bit without hurting anyones feelings. This mission was open to anyone that had attended the last couple of missions and was brought up previously. Theres some great footage out there that didn’t make the cut ( no put intended ) that hopefully will be added. Amazing nobody was arrested during this event.