120 thoughts on “Improv Everywhere on This American Life

  1. NPR’s This American Life is one of my favorite ways to spend an hour on Saturday mornings. The Mind Games segment was no exception. What an interesting vision Improv Everywhere has! Especially enjoyed hearing about the Best Gig Ever mission and the mixed band reaction that followed. Any way you would consider spreading the joy but keeping the mission a secret? Hit and run happiness sans the inevitable reality hangover. Keep up the excellent missions!

  2. I heard your story on This American Life. Fantastic. Anything that brings unexpected enchantment is a beautiful thing. I’d love to find myself in IE’s world someday. Nice Job!

    slc,ut

  3. Heard you on TAL…it was so ridiculous, I had to listen. Sort of like Comedy Central meets “The Game”…bizzare idea..nice going with it anyway.

  4. If they did not get the reality hangover, then they would just be living in a dream. I guess that it would only be that one aspect of their life that would be in the dream, but it still seems like the truth is better than a lie in the long run.

    As for the band, I would say that their popularity must have soared (well, they said they were interviewed in some rock mag and something else), so just the recognition that they got from being the butt of the joke was enough to make it worth their whiles. I was curious as to why you (Improv Everywhere people) left the concert right away? I mean, if you were playing the role of fans, they would hang out and meet the band, not just quit when the music stops.

    Also, for Chris, knowing that it was just a joke would have been quite a weight off of his mind, since he was fretting about “the real Ted” walking in every 5 minutes. Not to mention the $300 he did not spend because it was Ted’s. So I think knowing that it’s a joke afterwards is the best for all.

    W00T for massive random freakouts!

  5. My kids and I think your outstanding ,and creative, very funny and we are inspired here in Seattle to think up some missions ourselves….

  6. the problem is that it is artificial and playing with emotion.
    A big ego buster!
    Overall, fun for those participating but upsetting for those who are suckered!

  7. pants thing on subway … funny. Starbucks thing … funny (no victims). Band scam and poor Chris/Ted, not funny.

  8. Some of your improv is groovy, bringing enchantment to a dreary, domesticated world (Mobius, Pantless Subway). Sometimes your improv is exploitative, using people as a means to an end, and not respecting their dignity and autonomy (Tom’s Birthday, Ghosts of P-whatever). You should be sensitive to this, and not let the power of notoriety and a zaney counter-culture God complex go to your head.

  9. I heard TAL last night….this is the first I’ve heard of you guys – keep up the good work!

  10. just listened to the TAL piece, both the band incident and the chris/ted thing was cruel. you don’t know what sort of background or baggage people have and to blatantly mock strangers like that is really insensitive, not to mention being terribly egocentric: as long as you’re having a blast it’t ok right?

  11. This American Life is one of my favorite shows on the radio. They have a great way of presenting a story so that you can really connect with it. Thank you. Your story really contibuted to me.

  12. Improv is funny. Most pranks are funny. Mind games that exploit a person’s vulnerabilities, take advantage of their awkwardness and then congratulate yourself for it is just plain cruel. Stick to the stuff where everyone can look back and laugh and your adventures will make me smile, rather than shake my head in awe at your incredibly ignorant insensitivity.

  13. Because on TAL on NPR, I’ll be waiting for your DVD and more stuff! Along with most the people I know, now. Made my day.

  14. I was driving to work today listening to TAL and got so intrigued with the story about Iprov Everywhere, especially the mission you did involving the band, that I sat in the parking garage for half an hour listening to the radio and couldn’t pry myself away to go to work. All I can say is that what you do is so cool that it made my day just to hear about it. Magic and wonder for random strangers!? I guess humans can be pretty cool sometimes.

  15. My daughter witnessed a person jumping from the 10th floor of Bobst Library at NYU on her first day of work, in the beginning of her freshman year.
    She saw him writhing on the floor after a load thud. She is suffering badly from post traumatic stress disorder.

    You might not see the relationship here but I think this,”What if you involved someone like her or like the jumper in your mind f— game? How might that tragically affect them?”

    Please, I beg you, be careful when you f— with people’s minds; you have no idea about the fragile vulnerability of humankind.

    signed,
    a mom, teacher, kind, loving person.

  16. Isn’t it interesting how seriously some people need to take themselves? I say congratulations on bringing a smile to peoples’ faces even if there is confusion on the faces of others. Life is too short and ultimately too ridiculous not to try and laugh at it. I would much prefer to have the bizarre event on the subway to relay to my friends than the doldrums of just another day. I’m tempted to move to NYC if only to be one of your agents.
    BULLY!

  17. Strange. Last night I met this woman but could not remember where I knew her from and she had the same feeling. Listening to TAL and about IMPROV it hit me instantly. I met her briefly some years ago. She was the friend of a woman a dated. Come back Angela!

    You guys are cool.

  18. I just heard about you guys on “This American Life.” I loved the Mobius mission and the subway guys with no pants, but I was disturbed by the birthday party for Todd. I think it is wonderful to get everyone in Starbucks talking to each other, and the guys in Ghost of Pasha could talk to each other and try to process their mutual freaky experience, but Todd/Chis had no one to talk to. He was isolated and felt crazy. I don’t think you should have missions focused on just one person like that again. People who have a bizarre experience need to be able to process and have support from someone else who has had the same experiece.

    Linda

  19. I think the nontargeted improvs are brilliant. The GOP ep made me uncomfortable, but it sounds like it worked out okay. The Ted/Chris one really made me uncomfortable and slightly voyeuristic if that’s possible on the radio (but of course I listened until the end);contacting him the following year feels like harassment especially when it’s pretty clear that he still seems disturbed by the incident.

  20. when you take advantage of someone and cause them humiliation, as you did with the Ghosts of Pasha gag, or the Ted Birthday trick, it’s inexcusable and morally irresponsible.

  21. In the beginning of This American Life, it was clearly stated that you guys don’t like to call what you do “pranks” because that implies that there are victims, and that’s not what you guys do…

    Well, I think today’s show exemplified two instances where Improv Everywhere DID create victims. I read the Ghost of Pasha’s “response” to finding out that they had been “punk’d” (further proving that they see themselves as victims). It was really interesting to read those knowing their true feelings about what had happened, and having the insight that their response was strategic, not so genuinly “oh, it’s ok, let’s forget about it,” as they made it seem.

    I think in both that case and the case of Ted, you guys need to remove the ‘Mission Accomplished’ from the end of the page… otherwise, what this group stands for is pretty disappointing.

  22. Years ago when TV was in its infancy, there was a program called “Candid Camera” which played pranks on folks and filmed the prank and the reactions. At least at the end of the prank they had the decency to tell the “victim” who they were. Most of the victims then got a big laugh out of the prank. Therein lies the difference between Candid Camera and Improv Everywhere. What IE did to Chris and the band was cruel mostly because you didn’t let them in on your immature joke, and instead laughed AT them rather than drawing them in and letting them laugh WITH you. Sure, they found out later, but not until the harm was done. I for one do not find your pranks to be entertaining.

  23. Just heard you on TAL – love your idea, but why not “interview” some folks after the gig? Why not let them in on the joke? Let them enjoy the idea of it all, and most of all – face up to it if they DON’T like what you did. Just because your heart is in the right place doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for everyone. If they loved it share in the joy. If they hated it share in the misery, that’s the human condition. Most people will probably “get it” and roll with the punches. Lastly, it’s cool to see you making a difference in the world, what you’re really doing is “human art,” along the lines of Chrsito’s “The Gates.” Good job, it’s really wonderful.

  24. I have to agree with the folks who are drawing a distinction between the subway and Starbucks missions and the “Ted”/Ghosts of Pasha missions. The former are everything your group purportedly stands for: turning mundane moments into unexpected magic. The others? Yup, I’d use the word “prank.”

    The key is that the subway/Starbucks pieces can be observed and no one is forced to become involved unless they want to. The latter missions depend on marks that you choose but they are not choosing to get involved themselves — you’re making that choice for them. On a human level, that’s extremely rude. On another level, it may eventually get you sued, arrested, or create other unintended and unwanted consequences.

    I hope you folks can recognize this distinction because the stuff you guys do that doesn’t depend on a mark is brilliant.

  25. Hi, heard your feature on This Amer. Life. It was great, love stuff like this. I’m a multi-instrumentalist full time musician and I do some experimental music that’s pretty off the wall. Can anyone be an agent? OK i just read the FAQ page, I get it. I would love to participate someday if time and circumstance allow. And here’s an idea–I’ve always wanted to have someone put me on a leash and walk into stores on all fours like a dog. I think that would make people go hhmmm. Please put me on the mailing list
    chrislide@juno.com
    I’m good at coming up with stuff like this so since you’re open to suggestions maybe I’ll send some more day.
    Keep doin it, Chris.

  26. Wow, reading the other comments was almost too much!! I enjoy TAL on a regular basis and since my local NPR affiliate (KRCC in Colorado) replays the show, I can “make” my teenaged boys listen on Sunday afternoons… mostly, it is not forced, and often, it is the best discussion of the week. Yes, I feel for the guys in the band, but as a former bar employee, I’d think a contrived but sincere (look who they compared the band to – The Cure!) bunch of drunken loser fans is as good as any other bunch!!

  27. The idea behind your group is brilliant, Mobius in particular. Playing with peoples’ ontological certanity in our so called “real world” takes theater and contemporary art outside of the stuffy institutions and plants our postmodern anxieties right in front of our faces. I am left with concerns about singling one person out instead of directing your projects towards a group (Mobius v Ted). There’s an ethical line you seem to be walking, and I can see how you might inadvertently cross it. All in all, I think your group is contributing greatly to the tradition of contemporary performance art. Bravo!

  28. I posted earlier, but I think in addition to the point I made earlier, I think it’s important to recognize this-

    I think the principle behind Improv Everywhere is absolutely wonderful. After reading about all the various missions, I really think you guys came up with some really really wonderful stuff! And these two pranks (Pasha and Ted) were obviously not ill intentioned- I think it’s good to hear from the ‘victims’ in this case, and maybe refocus to the principles with which the group started with…

    I’d like to hear from your group (especially Todd), and your reaction and maybe what you learned from the This American Life experience…

  29. My college roommates and I used to engage in what we called “The War on Straight People” and engaged in behavior somewhat like yours, but certainly not to the extent you have.
    I hope we were never cruel to anyone as you were to GOP & Ted. Create comedy and food for thought, not victims and pain. You’re no different than Dubya if you’re so sure what you’re doing is right that you never see things from others’ point of view and consider ALL the ramifications (or, even worse, simply choose to ignore them).

  30. The TAL show was cool. What it doesn’t really show, though, is the sweet nature of what you do – the birthday party, making a band’s gig wonderful.

  31. I’ve been a fan of yours since the Chekov mission, and just listened the TAL show this evening. I thought it was insightful, but perhaps a little misleading if you didn’t know the history of the group. In retrospect, it seems clear that missions like “Ted” and to some extent Pasha were bad ones to try. But I don’t think that was necessarily obvious what would happen, nor did you guys go about them with anything but good intent. And every other mission I can remember did involve bigger audiences and presumably avoided those problems. Improv Everywhere does some amazingly creative stuff, the downside of which is that the results can be unpredictable. The key thing is to learn from your mistakes and keep going.

    Here’s to many successful missions to come!

  32. I was listening to TAL while driving this morning and had to pull over. I laughed so hard that I couldn’t see through my tears. I think what you do is great. Rarely have I been so motivated by a program to post a comment. I hope you are undaunted by your critics. GOP had the Best Gig Ever and I am sure Chris will look fondly upon his birthday party. Granted there are people out there with baggage. However, we all can’t stop speaking because we might say something that reminds someone of their troubled past. We know that people get killed in car accidents, but that doesn’t mean we all stop driving. I am a fan – of Improv Everywhere and Ghosts of Posha!

  33. I heard the TAL episode and I think it’s great what Improv Everywhere is doing. I’m a people watcher wherever I go and I get a kick out of jokes/events like what you’re trying to accomplish. I think that your philosophy of giving people moments for which they’ll remember is wonderful when applied to a group or general public.

    For instance, the boat tours in the fountain, the synchronized swimming competition, and the Moebius Strip all are performances which encourage the public to view and participate. I think that’s great!

    However, I must agree with some of the dissenters of your work. To perform pranks, and essentially they ARE pranks, on ordinary people like the Ted bit and the GOP groupies is cruel. The fact that you specifically target an individual (Ted) or a small group (GOP) and work a calculated plan around them is pretty selfish in purpose. There is no audience per se, just victims. GOP may disagree as their e-mails indicated.

    The difference here is that when you do a public performance, people have the CHOICE of whether they want to watch, participate, or ignore. To target somebody is borderline harassment. And in the case of Ted, it is full-fledged harrassment.

    According to your own accounts of what happened, When he tried walking away from it all two ‘agents’ chased after him, trying to convince him to come back and participate. And a year later, people are STILL trying to put the joke on him.

    I realize that a major portion of these improv events is designed to amuse yourselves. But I think you ought to stick to public theater and outgrow your attempts to target specific people for your work. Good job though on everything else, I especially love the subway series bits. That’s classic public theater.

  34. absolutely brilliant!

    I was delivering pizzas, listening to the story play out on the radio here in North Dakota. I didn’t want to get out of the car!

    I have posted the links on my blog and on our local music scene website. Great story, keep em coming, shit, make a movie about it.
    thanks,
    mork

  35. “Moralists have no place in art…”
    Check out the movie “The Shape of Things” for a variation on the theme of manipulation-as-art. My friends and I saw the movie right before listening to the TAL piece, and we were stunned at the canny similarity in concepts.

  36. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to provide us feedback in the wake of our This American Life profile. We appreciate hearing all of it, both good and bad.

    I was thrilled to be interviewed by TAL. Jorge Just and everyone else at the show were fabulous to me, and I think they did an amazing job with the story. The original story was to be 41 minutes long. 10 minutes were cut at the last minute to make room for the other stories. In those missing minutes, TAL covered the Megastore and Will You Marry Me? missions. Perhaps had they not been cut, their inclusion would have given the listener a better idea of Improv Everywhere’s body of work.

    The first I heard of the negative reactions experienced by the guitarist of Ghosts of Pasha and “Ted” was on TAL this weekend. This fact is not made clear on the program. TAL interviewed me in December of 2004. They interviewed both GOP and “Ted” in March of 2005. The reactions of both parties were never passed on to me; I found out on TAL at the same time as everyone else in the world. When the program cuts back to me for my thoughts on both missions after providing the other side of the story, they are using my December interview.

    Another thing that I want to make clear—when TAL talks about the mockery that took place on GOP’s message board during the first few days after the show, those posts were not made by me or any other Improv Everywhere Agent. If you take the time to read the Best Gig Ever mission on this site, you’ll see that our comments about the band were entirely enthusiastic and supportive. The absolute last thing we wanted to do with the Best Gig Ever was to humiliate, mock, or embarrass. That evening, for us, was about giving a band an awesome experience. Take a moment and listen to the NPR Weekend America interview with GOP lead singer Milo Finch to hear his own account of our enthusiasm (the interview is on our “press” page).

    The TAL piece also led some listeners to believe that during “Ted’s Birthday” IE Agents were somehow preventing Chris (aka “Ted”) from leaving the bar. This could not be further from the truth. If you read the report on this site, you’ll notice that about 10 minutes into the mission, I was certain Chris was about to leave and was preparing to organize the group to find a new “Ted”. A few agents offered Chris free drinks and games of pool, and he decided to play along. Chris claims this was “his only option” during his interview, but he could have left at anytime. We in no way prevented him from leaving the bar.

    It is also important to understand that Chris was not alone at the bar that night. The TAL piece briefly mentions this fact, but many listeners seemed to have missed it. Chris’s friend Harry was with him the entire evening. By the end of the night, Chris and Harry were both playing along and enjoying themselves. They went to great trouble to try to talk one female agent into going home with them. They enjoyed as much free alcohol as they desired and took home $250 in Best Buy and Barnes and Noble gift cards. Chris and Harry left the bar that night with smiles on their faces and gave us no reason to believe it had been anything but a positive experience.

    A year later, I thought it would be fun to throw Chris another birthday party. In fact, if he said yes, we would have thrown him a birthday party every September 19 for the rest of his life. He could have had one night every year where complete strangers pay his bar tab and give him hundreds of dollars in gift cards.

    Chris played most of his pool that night with Agent Good, who asked for his phone number at the end of the night. Chris gave him the number freely. A year later, Agent Good gave Chris a call and mentioned that we were considering throwing him another birthday party and would it be ok if someone from the group gave him a call to set it up. Chris said that would be fine. The next day I called him and left him a voicemail explaining that we would like to throw him another party and that we wanted to know what kind of gift cards he would like this year. I didn’t hear back from him. As I explain on TAL, I found out from a friend of a friend that he didn’t want me to contact him anymore. I of course honored this request and that was the end of that. I have never heard from Chris. To my knowledge he didn’t even know this website existed before TAL contacted him.

    Obviously, I was not happy to hear that both Chris from GOP and Chris from Ted’s Birthday had negative reactions to our encounters. Improv Everywhere never seeks to humiliate or embarrass, and I feel awful that in the case of these two guys we didn’t accomplish that mission. I’m happy to hear that Chris from GOP ultimately considers the incident as a “gift”, and I hope that GOP continues to soar. I also wish Chris from Ted’s Birthday nothing but the best of luck at NYU and beyond.

    For those of you who are visiting this site for the first time, I encourage to check out our missions page. Over the past four years, we’ve performed over 40 undercover missions. Best Gig Ever and Ted’s Birthday are the only ones in the bunch that involved singling individuals out. For that reason, they are perhaps the most interesting and it’s not surprising TAL chose to focus on them.

    Thanks for reading this, and thanks for visiting our site.

    Agent Todd
    4/11/05

  37. i love, love what you guys do. i try hard not to, but i can’t help myself. great job, TAL.

  38. caught you on TAF on the last leg of a weekend road trip. Reminds me of the clutural jams that we use to do in college. Do you think you have outed yourself since the story?

  39. Some people posting here seem to have some bizarre issues. Ted was given hundreds of dollars. The rock band got a huge crowd. Anyone who sees them as victims probably has a victim complex.

  40. It’s very sad that our culture has come to one of exploitation of people as with all these “prank” pretending to be art. What you did to Chris was an invasion of his privacy, something I’m sure you would not enjoy yourself. We have moved into a culture of cruelty. It doesn’t matter what happens to the other guy as long as you enjoy yourself. What ever happened to compassion?

  41. I think it’s interesting and entertaining when you pull large scale events in public or large stores. However, when these stunts are pulled on individuals and small businesses, they invade the individuals’ privacy and disrupt the livlihood of small business owners.

  42. I discovered your group a few months back and just now caught you on TAL. It was wonderfuly amusing. Keep the scenes coming and Go Heels!

    (unc alum)

  43. GOP are not victims. They have reveled in both the glory before discovering IE’s hand in the event and the pain afterwards. GOP is not a band of naive 20-year old hipsters. They are “seasoned musicians.” That means they are big boys now and can figure things out. In fact, they are still riding the wave IE provided them. If you want to feel sorry for them, go ahead, they don’t mind that, either. Take a look at their website. . .chock full of critical reviews they never would have received if it had not been for IE. I don’t know about the other staged IE events, but as for GOP. . .I don’t like the music much, but I love the drama. Keep it up Milo.

  44. Your playing fake fans for a no-name band from out of town was a cheap shot. If your purpose was to give them the best gig of their lives, why make a mockery of them by posting it on your website- the only reason is you are in this for self-gratification. Normal masturbation doesn’t make a mess onto others. If you are as creative as you think you are, think of ways to spread joy without mockery.

  45. Was the band mocked? I don’t think so. Everything written about them on IE was complimentary, if not celebratory and it was clear to me (maybe because I actually took the time to READ it instead of taking the TAL report as gospel) that nobody was making fun of anybody.
    Don’t let the haters get you down.

  46. I spent an hour driving this past Sunday to go see my ex-girlfriend (a story in it’s own.) I must say it was probably one of the best hours of NPR I have ever heard. As I was listening to the show I tried to memorize the whole thing so I could instill the sense of happiness it caused me..into her. Thanks and keep up the randomness!

  47. Wonder how struggling actor Charlie would like something similiar done to him as done to that band?

    You know, Charlie does some improv at a club and we fill it with fake fans and pretend we really love what he’s doing? Would he like it when he found out it was all a prank? I doubt it.

  48. I heard about you on NPR. I was listening to it with my father. He thinks that it is very funny what you do. This was one of the best TALs I have heard in all of my listenings. Thank you!

  49. The rest of the world and I have only pretended to be mundane in order to make you think that these “pranks” were necessary. Ha! Gotcha!

    You will probably need counseling now. Oops.

  50. I just heard the story on TAL on NPR. I love the time warp improv at a starbucks. Listening to the reactions of the patrons is priceless. The birthday party improv is scary for poor Ted/Chris. Thanks for sharing!

  51. I’ve posted my thoughts on the TAL piece at the top of this page.

  52. I heard TAL on Sunday and loved it so much I had to check out some of your other missions.
    All I can say is thanks for having a sense of humor and fun!

  53. Improv Everywhere is wonderful. Your missions are intelligent and hilarious, and in no way insensitive/dangerous/harmful. Keep doing the wonderful and unique thing that you do.

  54. dear agent todd & ie
    thanks for hours of fun I had reading about your missions instead of writing a paper for class. I laughed out loud, alone in my apartment. a lot. what more could you ask for? what beautiful stuff, keep it up.

  55. Sorry Charlie, Your website “degenerating into folks calling each other names and calling you names” is what we had to deal with for months after your stunt…sorry it stings so much now. But you can’t edit the whole world to fit in your little bubble. You keep trying to rationalize with your “apology” what really happened.
    The problem I have had with the whole thing is that you and your group think that you understand and can rationalize what the people around you are thinking. Most of your mission reports assume what people are thinking.
    You think you are “the show” but in fact you are the audience looking in like voyeurs at the people you force to participate in your stunts and improvising in your own head what you think they are thinking. You should stop assuming you can read minds. People don’t always think what you want them to, even if you shove sunshine and positive energy up their ass.
    We live in a strange world anyway Mr. Todd don’t put yourself on a pedestal and think you’re an omnipotent savior of surrealism and avant-garde. Trust me there are real artists in NYC better suited for that job. You have just taken an old idea and made it yours by disenfranchising yourself from real interaction with the others involved in your skits while you and your group pat yourselves on the back for jobs well done under the guise of making the world a better place and not the truth of shameless self promotion.
    Try living life a little man, its much better then the scripted one you supply. You might find that NYC is strange enough on its own for the people who live there.
    Thanks Charlie, see you on the other coast.
    Milo Finch, Ghosts of Pasha

  56. As the former president of the United States of America, I am hard pressed to believe that the post above mine was actually left by Milo Finch.

  57. I knew Gerald R. Ford. Gerald R. Ford was a good friend of mine(as I was to him). You sir are no Gerald R. Ford!

  58. Agent Todd, Thanks for the additonal info.
    Tashi Deleg

  59. I heard your story on TAL. I understand that you feel you were misrepresented by the This American Life piece, but it seems hard to deny that what your group does involves misleading or tricking people in one way or another. This is mean-spirited. Your explanation –that you “try to make people happy” strikes me as rationalization (at best), or disingenuous ( at worst). What’s more likely is that you do these stunts to entertain yourself and the members of your group. The people whom you’re trying to make happy are the members of your group–those who are in on the joke–not the strangers that are pushed into your pranks.

    I think some of your missions are very funny. But I also think you should be honest with yourself—what you do is exploitive comedy, not a public service.

  60. If nothing else, your piece on TAL spawned a great discussion among my friends regarding the definition of theatre. I admit, I was concerned that you were calling yourselves a theatre group with a name like “Improv Everywhere.” This doesnt even fit within the bounds of guerilla theatre… The simplest and widest definition of theatre being a performance where actors who know they are actors work in front of an audience which knows they are an audience. When you get out of that wide boundry, you are no longer performance artists, you become something else. Panksters, perhaps? People amusing themselves? Certainly. I can also imagine more unflattering terms. It is a fine line. This sort of work can easily become terribly aggressive, manipulative, punative. Is it ethical to create art in a situation where people do not know what they are participating in is art? I dont think it is.

    But in coming to your website out of curiosity, I am actually suprised to find nothing claiming yourselves to be making theatre. You’re doing something else. It is facinating, surely! A little dark too. Most of your missions I find to be hysterical. Thanks for giving me something to think on. :)

  61. The pantless day on the subway and the Starbucks antics were genius. I shook my head in disbelief at just how cool it was. Reminded me of some of the most sophisticated performance art pieces that I’ve seen.

    Then you had to ruin it for ME with what amounts to frat boy pranks. Maybe I would’ve felt differently if you hadn’t been such a selfish a– about it. You claim that you want to bring joy to people’s lives, but listen to what those folks from the last two events are saying. It’d be one thing if you weren’t making lofty claims – pay attention because you clearly have great ideas but if they don’t work in some circumstances, you’ve gotta modify or you’re gonna come off as a group of self-serving jerks.

  62. whoa, yes, I was hating on Sunday morning, somewhat indifferent by Sunday evening and by Monday I had become at least appreciative of most of the missions. Today, after reading Todd’s comment to all, I’ve become a reluctant but rather enthusiastic fan. Who knew?
    Still, I hold to the “be nice, careful and thoughtful to others” request, but I take back the angry, hurled insults upon IE’s fundamental philosophy and talent base.

  63. Fantastic. I heard about you guys on tripleJ radio in Australia. Especially loved look up more, best gig ever, synchronised swimming and favourite so far is pants off. Pure art.

  64. It’s a shame that there are so many nasty comments directed at such a funny, well-intentioned organization!I love IE!

  65. Weird is Good.
    Strange is Good.
    Mystery is Good.
    If it weren’t for that, we would all have to suffer the monotamy of plain, boring life.
    Keep it up. Because without creative people like you… the world would be too normal,
    sane,
    plain,
    boring,
    and Just LAME!!!
    Keep it real.
    nice one.

  66. you suck, and are ubber fake. wake up and get a job hippie

  67. I love strange humor and I can see that some of the things you do are hilarious. I don’t see the harm in the Starbucks gag. As for the band, they were putting themselves out there by having a show.
    But the Chris/Ted thing went waaaaaaaaaaaaay too far. It is not okay to subject yourselves onto people who are minding their own business like that. Please understand where the lines are.

  68. It seems like improve everywhere would be more effective and more enchanting if you didn’t report on the missions publicly, and if you didn’t have the website availbale for people to read. Promoting this group turns your act into something more like “Candid Camera” or “Trigger Happy TV”. If you did these missions, and then really dissappeared like TAL suggests, now that’s weird, mysterious, “what was that???”, and that will last forever in someones head. It needs to be more secretive, otherwise people know about the joke and either like it or get pissed, but regardless, you reveal the tricks behind the magic and that destroys the surreal effect.

    Listening to TAL made this group seem untouchable, very twilight zone. Going to the web site definately took some of that supernatural vibe away.

  69. I think the proble is that in the shows like “punk’d”, “candid camera”, etc, that the punkees are always let off the hook at the end, which is not the case for IE. This means that targeted missions like these have mnuch graver implications. I do believe that the “ted” was a bad choice, and that someone being a little more outgoing or displaying more social adeptness (NOT sitting in a corner-a clear sign of one’s attempt at anonymity) would have made for a better mark.

  70. oops…hit enter too early. I wanted to finish by saying I love what you do and am envious of your creative missions, I just think you wield much bigger responsibility than you realize, so be careful. Maybe this TAL radio show has opened your eyes a bit. it sure opened mine…

  71. Loved hearing your story on TAL – you guys are brilliant! I wish you would come do a mission here in Portland!

  72. Just because someone looks like he or she is having a good time, doesn’t mean he or she is really having a good time.

    A mob can have a powerful effect on an individual’s behaviour–turn that person into a party animal or a rock star (or something much worse). Does that person really feel joy? It seems to me joy has to be connected to something. You have to feel to some extent that you deserve the applause you’re getting–that you somehow earned it or helped to make it. If you can’t feel that, the applause is more likely to breed paranoia in you than joy.

  73. C’mon, stop being do self-absored. This is one of the most refreshing, outrageous and inspiring things to happen in New York City in a long long time. To all the Nay-sayers I will gladly take the words of the scored musician and the party-pooper birthday bot seriously if they did the following:

    1. Birthday Boy “Ted” please return the gifts your recieved, either the un-used gift certificated or cash equivelint to Agent Todd. If not you’re just a jackass and a whiner.

    2. To Ghost’s of Pasha, I know that immediately following the “Best Gig Ever” you did go right to the management to expalin that the dozens of people at the venue, who paid the cover and bought drinks were a joke.

    In fact I’m sure they booked you a second time after such a great showing on a fricking SUNDAY NNIGHT… I bet you even got to play on a Wedneday or Thursday *gasp* but now you’re all rockstars and can fuck-off like the rest.

    New York City needs creative and imaginative people like Improv Everywhere to save it from the self-absorbed, self-loathing whiners and crybabies that have become so popular these days.

  74. I caught the TAL broadcast just now via stream, and clicked over here to read more. I found myself reading all of the comments, until here I am, at the end with a bad taste in my mouth. I agree with those who laud you for your public “pieces,” which don’t require any one person (or small group of people) to be the focus of your “mission.” I agree with those who try to convey to you the very real consequences of messing with other people’s heads, for whatever lofty reasons ~ you have no control over the ultimate consequences, and that, in my mind, is irresponsible. Perhaps you feel that taking away control from your focus subject is a good thing, for YOU. It works better, for YOU. It is more enjoyable, for YOU. It feeds into the idea, that you all seem to have, that this is a purely altruistic mission on your part, that you’re taking the “random acts of kindness” approach to a new level. Undoubtedly you are. But you seem to honestly believe in damn the consequences, and that is a very self-absorbed belief to hold.

    What I am truly, truly astonished over are the comments from people who don’t understand the difference, and who trash those people who didn’t wholly appreciate your actions. Someone whom you’ve targeted should be ultimately allowed to have whatever reactions they had. Whether or not they communicated those reactions to you directly or not. I’m not surprised if they didn’t. Why would you think they would feel the urge to be honest with you, or trust you, or feel comfortable with you to tell you the entirety of their feelings around their experience of your group? More disturbing is the general lack of empathy by so many here. The absolute certainty that whatever you want to do, and by extension therefore whatever a 100% supportive poster would want to do is always OK. Calling your marks names, and telling you to go for it, take no prisoners, you’re so cool no matter WHAT you do. Where is our ability to understand the difference between your Starbucks mission and your random birthday mission? This lack of empathy disturbs me.

  75. I heard about IE on TAL and thought it was one of the most humane and hilarious ways to shake up the status quo of everday life. With the proliferation of multimedia over the last 15 years, I think artists have lost some creative edge, because we are too busy trying to emulate what we see and hear (or some no talent producer is telling you what to emulate) that new ideas are not as plentiful as they once were. I applaud IE for the magic they create and for trying to encourage people not to take life or themselves too seriously.

    p.s. all you overly sensitive commentors complaining about hurt feelings and self serving actions need to pull up your panties and re-read your comments. Sounds like a bunch of self centered whining to me. Keep it up IE, I await your next mission.

    IF THE TRUTH HURTS, YOU’LL BE IN PAIN, IF THE TRUTH DRIVES YOU CRAZY YOU’LL BE INSANE!!

  76. Funny stuff. Next time, avoid the haters and focus on stuff that puts the attention on IE and not a single person or group. After reading (and hearing the mission on TAL)about the Pasha guys getting hoodwinked by your fake crowd, I suggest you should of let them play to those three paying customers that weren’t part of the “mission”. There is no such thing as bad publicity. They could have taken the mission and made it a stepping stone to something better rather than getting bummed out over it. Geez, it was one of their first gigs and IE put them on the map. I know some local band here that would KILL to get something like that to happen to them. At least they would know what to do with the attention.

  77. Why so much emphasis on attacking or defending individuals or groups? Why not focus on the question itself? It’s a tricky one. How much of a fiction can you subject a person to before it becomes a violation of the person’s dignity? We’re always making fictions, even subtle and sincere ones. Some make life better, some go too far. Some seem consensual but turn out not to be.

    About 10 years ago I played an entirely well-meant prank on a band I truly liked. It still stings to think back on it. I fessed up to them on my own and made the best amends that I could, but I wish I hadn’t done it. On the other hand I understand and love the prankster impulse and believe it makes life more interesting in the right contexts. I love most of Improv Everywhere’s pranks. They have brought me much raucous laughter, and I’m hoping to join in on a mission someday.

    And yes, the victim of a prank is better off “getting over it” sooner or later. However, it seems to me we are always on the verge of being made ridiculous (human condition), and whether we face it or not, we’re afraid of that, afraid of finding out we’ve been trifled with. At least I am. I can’t speak for anyone else. And say something happens to you and you take it in a positive way, then other people tell you, no, no, you were taken advantage of, you were ridiculed–this awful feeling starts building up. That’s happened to me before too. And sometimes the people telling me “you’ve been made a fool of” were actually wrong. We’re just susceptible to that suggestion because it might be true.

    The Improv Everywhere folks meant absolutely no harm (and received no signals of harm done until later). It seems some harm was done. Neither side cancels the other out. Both are true, and both are essential to understanding this question better and moving on.

  78. The downside to performing for an audience of one is only getting that one’s reation. I live in a house of hospitality for the homeless. We give and receive respect in an undefinable way. Sometimes the love and respect we give is not returned in a definable way. I see what you are doing in much the same way. Sometimes people don’t get the jokes, but more often, they don’t understand the genuine love that is behind the demonstrations of human dignity. I find your aims (giving a struggling band a great night, celebrating the life of a human) very laudable. For those who put down your goals, I ask what have you done in this past week to raise the dignity of one of your brothers or sisters?

    Yes, you run the risk of offending someone. Who does not in the real world of human interaction? In this day of internest and network media, and multinational conglomerates, where does the human factor come into play? Thank you for reminding us that persons matter.I hope that people like me, and unlike me take this call as a challenge to engage people in their own cities. I know that the people in my house have already thought of ways to challenge our community.

    My heart goes out to Chris “Ted”, but we must brave such trials for the sake of Chris from the Ghost of Pascha, who has now made a go of it. Thanks for inspiring a generation of “improvisers” for taking up the matle you wear.

    Peace,
    Jim Batterton

  79. I heard about you guys on TAL, some of your stuff sounded funny(pants for sale)but for the most part you remind of a highschool bully. By making other people feel uncomfortable and stupid, somehow you feel good? How old are you people. I hope you rot in hell.

  80. I appreciate all of these comments. There are some really great, thought-provoking opinions expressed on this page.

  81. What i think is really going on here is that we’re starting to see the real inner beauty of ALL of the humans involved in this..happening. If this continues, it could spark all kinds of positive, useful debate; religiously, ethically..etc.
    What a huge effect to what was originally a much smaller idea. Much continued success to I.E., Ghosts of Pasha, birthday Chris, and anyone changed by this experience.Wow. Its a beautiful day.

  82. Well, This American Life certainly made you all look like a bunch of selfish pricks. As long as you have fun, it’s all okay, isn’t it? Quit fucking with people. I sincerely hope that karma comes around to bite you in the ass.

  83. I think the whole idea of what you do is so so very troubling. Not only the Ted/Best Gig Ever fiascos, but even the “no pants” people on the subway are upsetting. That you could be so smug and self-righteous to think that everybody would want to be part of your audience and performance is maddening. You’re like “the in-kids”, the cool kids, and everybody else is the geeky loser left to just feel like outsiders, confused and doubting their own perceptions of reality. Why would you think everyone would like that?! It’s not “magical”, it’s disturbing. PLEASE STOP DOING THIS!!!

  84. I can’t help but find your efforts hilarious and in many ways meaningful. It’s been the effort of artists’ for years to offer a different perception of reality. I must say that, regarding the guitarist, if he hopes to be in show business, he should dress himself in a thicker skin. At the same time, Mr. Todd, enough with the excuses, already, take a few lumps for yourself. I also hope you continue your work. Salvatore Dali sits on your shoulder, I’m sure.

  85. You ought to take in to consideration that you caused some people a lot of pain before you plan the next “party” etc..

  86. Do you know what really rankled me about your response to the TAL coverage? This part:

    “Chris and Harry were both playing along and enjoying themselves. They went to great trouble to try to talk one female agent into going home with them. They enjoyed as much free alcohol as they desired and took home $250 in Best Buy and Barnes and Noble gift cards. Chris and Harry left the bar that night with smiles on their faces and gave us no reason to believe it had been anything but a positive experience.
    A year later, I thought it would be fun to throw Chris another birthday party. In fact, if he said yes, we would have thrown him a birthday party every September 19 for the rest of his life. He could have had one night every year where complete strangers pay his bar tab and give him hundreds of dollars in gift cards.”

    I think your defensive tone there is really lousy, and worse, disingenuous. Money, girls, and alcohol are beside the point, and you know it. If he says he felt weird and depressed about it afterwards, he felt weird and depressed. (Good lord, many of us feel messed up in the head after surprise birthday parties with our real friends!) If he had a bad experience, it makes perfect sense that he wouldn’t want to talk to you about it, and if you, Agent Todd, were working madly to orchestrate this event, it makes sense that you wouldn’t notice his discomfort.

    I’m sure that most people in your troupe are generally caring, thoughtful, creative people, and I liked reading about many of the spectacles you’ve made. But check your obnoxious, blinding egoism (also demonstrated in your begging for a TV show), because it will ultimately ruin your creativity.
    The best surreal comedy would not only shake up the perspective of “the public”, but get every member IE out of their heads and looking at the world through another perspective–maybe someone else’s perspective. It obviously didn’t happen with you.

  87. Thank you, guys, for doing what you do. Anyone who has ever lived in NYC knows that your missions are a welcome ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary landscape. They also know that New Yorkers are tough. Tough enough to field an occasional curveball–epecially when it means walking away with an extra $300 in their pocket.

  88. It was very nice to “hear” someone doing what I’ve been thinking all along.
    Jacki;)

  89. It would be better if you changed your name to “Improve Very Where”

  90. Don’t fear a world in which nothing is static or predictable. Fear a world in which everything is.

    You guys are fantastic. I believe TAL to be far more exploitive of its listeners than IE is of its audience(s). So just keep on having fun.

  91. I heard about the Improv Everywhere group on TAL. It’s one of the most profound stories I’ve heard on the show. I love that you give individuals and groups an opportunity to think outside the routine, the common and the expected. I didn’t feel that TAL negatively slanted it’s story of IE, I’m sure its all in your perspective of the performances, which of course is what this is all about, right?Regarding “Ted’s” experience, I think that the power of a group involved in altered reality, such as the Starbucks mission, is much less disconcerting than being the only person shifting your thinking. After all, when one person’s perceptions misalign with the many, we identify it as mental illness. Perhaps we are not ready for mind-bending on an individual personal basis. After all your improv troupe uses collective energy in its actions, your success probably depends on it.
    Best of luck in all your endeavors!

  92. Hey. I’m in an “all girl” band and all i can say is, a decent percentage of people just listen to the first 10 seconds and then write it off but that alot also listen to the whole thing. When you were involved, that was the first 10 seconds. So what might be going on here is that you’re trying to see what that percentage is. Let’s see if the remaining seconds are any good. I’d love to see them recover and continue trying their best, maybe even make some good music. Maybe you helped them get better by mistake.

  93. Great Program on This American Life. So Happy and Delighted to hear about your work! Though I note the bitter-sweetness of some of the missions reported on the program.

    Warm & Lively thanks,

    Michael T
    Lawyer, Mediator and Contemplative Improv Artist. sagemktjr@ureach.com

  94. I’m sorry to Milo and Chris. I think that they both are talented. I’m pissed at IE becuase they didn’t ask anybody if they wanted their feelings hurt. Why do you think that they needed such a boost anyhow? Bands play Sunday night gigs so they can get better. Why not play more. When does it become ok to suddenly pull someone into your little stunt without asking them? Do you think your cleaver? GOP are a really good band who should keep up the good work and enjoy themselves. That’s the most important thing. I’ll go to as many gigs as I can, because I dig the music.

  95. I think it all needs to taken in the intended context and for the ingenuity and creativity involved. Exactly what is lacking in today’s society as a whole. GOP was not duped, what I heard from the TAL story was the band reacting and feeding off the energy provided. Admittedlt the immediate departure stuck me as odd though. The “Ted” mission..please, this individual made a concious decision to adopt the “personality”. I think IE is incredible genious and something that is amazingly intricate. Serious orginality crucially missing in this day and age.

  96. Todd says, “That evening, for us, was about giving a band an awesome experience.”

    You give them an awesome experience and then they get to find out that it wasn’t genuine. It’s like telling someone they just won a million dollars in the lottery and not coming through with dough. Is it hard to imagine how that might suck for someone?

  97. Improv Everywhere keep up the good work. Everyone involved from the agents to the subjects has a story to tell about crazy/fun/different experience. How could anyone not want to participate in something as fun and harmless as this!

  98. Hmmm.What fascinates me is the overuse these days of the word genius. Why not call Tim Allen a genius? Sinbad? Kid ‘n’ Play? These are the real heroes.

  99. This phenomenon reminds me of playing the card game Mao. In this game, you are told none of the rules when you start, and must learn the rules by playing. Nearly everyone who agrees to play has a great time playing the game, even if they’re losing horribly. BUT, you ask these same people to play again a few months later, and they seem afraid to play, and don’t really want to play at all.

    A pretty distant link I guess, but it is kind of the same thing. Why do these people throughly enjoy something and have fun with it, but then avoid it later? Perhaps they DID have fun, but later thought about the strangeness of the event, and then decided that it wasn’t fun, only in thier heads? I can’t say, but it does seem pretty confusing to me. Of course, in this case, folks who targeted them with negative comments and finger pointing laughter could also cause opinions to sour over time… in which case, those are the people to blame, not IE.

  100. Get real!

    How is calling somebody by the wrong name, picking up their bar tab, and giving them $250 in gift certificates harassment? How can enthusiastic clapping, requesting songs, and singing along to lyrics be construed as hurtful? I WISH somebody would mock me like that. I think all the missions are great – including Ted’s Birthday and Best Gig Ever.

    In reading the account of Ted’s birthday, it sounds like he had every opportunity to walk away, but CHOSE to stay. I didn’t read anything about people laughing at him for being confused or “thinking” he was Ted (Incidentally, I thought it was a brilliant move on his part to play along and create his own “Ted” stories). The humor was in the oddity of the situation; it didn’t matter who Ted was – and in fact he remains anonymous to the public. I don’t think it was rude to ask him about a sequel to the mission, and Todd has complied with his apparent wish to be left alone. Although the mission was an incredible story to retell, there was no intrusion into his life or privacy that is beyond normal, everyday events.

    When I read the mission report for Best Gig Ever, there were several agents who reported genuinely liking the music – so I don’t see how anyone could criticize the group’s actions as “pretending” to like the band. It sounded to me as if they exaggerated their true feelings, which caused the band to take it up a notch, which the agents appreciated even more. It was a cycle of performance enhancement, but it was still based on a positive premise and a real respect for what the band was doing. Anyone who thought Ghosts of Pasha were dopes for thinking the agents were true fans is a dope himself.

    “Ted” and Ghosts of Pasha were not victims. Although they were singled out, they were not “ganged up on”. I don’t see the harm of talking to a stranger as if you’ve known them all your life or cheering wildly for a band you’ve only heard of a week ago. Keep doing missions like these and the others. They are a terrific blend of nonsensical humor, interactive art, and everyday life.

  101. Egotists wanting to be in on the joke so bad they convince themselves it’s a joke. Maybe if you tell the people when it’s over that it was a set up, no hard feelings and interact for a while.

    But that’s not the point is it? It’s to go away and convince each other how clever they are. The guitar player in Ghosts of Posha was right on, it’s just like kindergarden. The most telling part is many of you don’t see it as harrasment or as an invasion of someones space. You dan’t even realize what it is. It’s much like people who mess wih people on LSD or something. It’s not hard to do, it’s not much fun for the other person usually and it’s usually done for the amusment of the person doing the messing. Unless you know the person would enjoys something like that it’s not the smartest thing to do, but I doubt you’ll ever realiz that because everyone should be like you, right? You would enjoy it so how can other people not like it? Ego.

  102. The funny thing is I have no doubt you’ll dimiss any critical post here and lap up the positive remarks. I’d love to terrorize your group sometime.

  103. Generally the improvs you do are benign, and in the right mind they could cause some intellectual growth or enjoyment, but the Ghost of Posha trick was beyond the pale. I’ve now heard the NPR piece twice and consider what you did obnoxious.

    You don’t acknowledge any difference between the Starbucks goof and the Posha one. It must be easier to admire yourself that way. There is one way your trick would have been ethically acceptable; if you never wrote a word about it and it was simply a fond memory discussed with friends, and an inexplicably happy day for the band. Then it would have been a sublime gift.

    Instead like a jackass you publicized it instantly, transforming what you did into mockery. A prosaic visit to a coffeehouse where something whimsical is occurring, is worlds away from telling people their creative endeavor (which seemed to be worthy of adulation) was really just a punchline for a team of giant assholes.

    Noone buying coffee had their self-esteem fucked with. As far as transactions go, Ghost of Pasha was swindled. They have every right to be disgusted with you.

    You guys are unconscionable dicks.

  104. My opinion is that the “Ghost of Pasha” bit was mean-spirited at best.

  105. I loved hearing about you guys on TAL this evening. It reminded me a bit of the movie, Amelie, someone who cares enough to try and make life better for someone else, or at least more interesting.

  106. I heard about you on TAL this morning. While listening to your prank on ‘Ted’, several times I found myself uttering, ‘This is pathetic’. Pathetic that you would deceive and hurt someone and later try to justify it (but we gave him a gift certificate!!). Pathetic that your life is so empty that this is how you choose to spend your time. Respect for others begins with TELLING THE TRUTH. If you wanted to help people, there are countless millions on the planet with great needs. Interesting that your form of helping others always involves manipulation and deception. You get off on your own power. Which is what it is about – having power over other people. Can you say, ‘personality disorder’? YOU ARE PATHETIC.

  107. I think that what you do is interesting to contemplate; the shaking up of a person or person’s usual, filtered, safe, state of mind. But don’t forget that the instinct to be safe is driven by exactly real existential anxieties. Please be sure that you have personally, deeply, honestly examined your methodology for precipitating a break-through. Please consider whether true breakthroughs must come from within. For some, your method can reap benefit, because their position in their processes of emotional liberation is fertil. But for others, plain and simple, it won’t be. For those others are you projecting what would benefit you, in your position in the procces of liberation?

    I think that what you do is interesting and wonderful, just please remember, some are on there own path to self knowledge, be sure not to presume and intrude. If you’re sre you’re not presuming and intruding, then go forth with a sense of authenticity. However, I’m not sure that art is capable of achieving what you hope to achieve.

    Thanks

  108. Mike said, “It’s much like people who mess wih people on LSD or something.”

    Now, that sounds like some good fun! I don’t personally know anybody “on LSD or something”; but if Mike is volunteering, I want in on that mission! :-P

  109. Let’s get this straight. Guy goes into a bar with friend. Get’s showered with gifts, free shots, pool games and positive attention.

    Upon realising that “Ted” aint going to show up, this guys in a great spot. C’mon, who can disagree with this? If you don’t want to be aproached by strangers, DON’T ENTER A BAR? People there are more likely to be single, social and intoxicated. If you are a frail and sensative person, stay at home! Buy your beers at the liqour store and stay in!

    It’s a bar people… that’s where random people meet.

    Geesh.

  110. Hmm – of course, hindsight is 20-20, but I just have to comment. I understand what IE is trying to accomplish, and yet, sometimes, even the best intentions go awry.

    The selection of “Ted” wasn’t handled well – the core idea was sound, the problem was that “Ted” didn’t really have a firm idea that he was _supposed_ to enjoy this and take it at face value. Is that his fault, or Charlie’s? Probably a little of both. Not much Charlie could have done about Ted’s choice, but he could have handled his. A better way to have selected “Ted” would have been to call around to several bars and find someone that was having a birthday, and go there and celebrate them, or let “Ted” know in the beginning that it was a performance, and ask him to play along. That way the “birthday” person could have enjoyed the evening, instead of fretting over it.

    As for GOP, I see two things that IE did “wrong”. 1 – leaving immediately after the show just invalidated the entire experience for the band, even if everyone’s enthusiasm was real.
    2. Actually publishing the bands name on the IE site. Unlike others, I think doing the write up was fine – but to protect the band from the fallout that would inevitably occur, you should have changed the bands name in the write up to protect the real band and delayed the report until several months afterwards – or, at least, given them the choice.

    I know the intent was to help the band out, but hindsight appears to show us that failed, at least to some extent, although I have to admit that I never would have found GOP without IE – and I have found a few songs I like on their website. And I do think that Charlie made an effort to find a band that had some genuine talent, rather than just grabbing a band at random – which shows me that he learned something from the experience with “Ted”.

    It’s also telling that IE hasn’t tried anything like this since the the TAL show that they’ve publicized. So they’ve learned something.

    I, for one, would like to see a reattempt at the core idea behind both events – only applying everything they learned not to do.

    For example, repeat the b-day experience, but this time pick someone whose really celebrating their birthday. Or pick an band that needs support, but don’t tell the IE agents who they’re seeing until showtime, and don’t ask them to go over the top as fans, either. The Best Gig Ever event could have been just as warm and wonderful for GOP just by having 35 extra people show up on a sunday night to enjoy a show. And maybe write it up a little different from the other missions – not as a standard mission, but as “an artist appreciation” mission, with all the IE agents attending giving honest reviews about the band, not about what the agents themselves did.

    Anyway, I’ve preached too much – keep up the positive spirit of IE, and learn from the negative.

  111. LOL At people saying the band thing was cruel, just goes to show morons believe anything they see on a show. And not from GOP themselves (they talked on this site)

  112. I think it’s really sad how the show ‘Mind Games’ just tells such a misleading story about IE, the goal wasn’t to ‘mindfuck’ someone but to suprise someone with a good time. Why is ‘ballkick’, ‘boiling points’, ‘punked’ etc (shows which are completely negative to the victim) somehow acceptable when a well meaning surprise gets flammed like heck?

    Yea there’s always two sides to a story and it’s sad that the targets didn’t completely appreciate it, but it wasn’t THAT bad. Honestly, should you never try to initiate something nice for someone for fear that they won’t appreciate it? A few on the best and most memorable times in my life were from strangers stepping up and doing something odd and unexpected. I’m just glad that ‘Best Game Ever’ went down well :). Proof that not all events that targets a group not in the know is a bad idea. Just gotta get the right audience I guess.

    As a side note, I actually thought the band sounded really good! And it seemed to me that he broadcast had aimed to paint IE in a bad light from the start. It sounded to me like they had cut out whatever positive stuff GOP ever said about IE

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