April Fool Funeral

(see photo full size)

If you haven’t figured it out by now, The Best Funeral Ever mission was staged for April Fool’s Day. The “family members” were all actors and friends of Improv Everywhere. Next week we will post a new report with photo and video outtakes from the day. We staged a few over-the-top moments that were just too ridiculous to keep the video believable. Our apologizes to those who were fooled into thinking we had lost our minds and done something this horrendous. If you haven’t read the comments yet, do yourself a favor and read a few. They are probably funnier than the hoax itself.

But the hands-down funniest thing about all of this is that tonight’s evening news on CW 11 covered this mission as if it actually happened. They think the prank is on the family (our actors) when actually the prank is on them:

So basically the extent of their reporting is watching a video on YouTube and then describing it as fact on air. They didn’t bother to email Improv Everywhere for comment, call the cemetery to verify, or try to get a quote from the “family.” They just watched the video and threw it on TV. Great journalism!

They featured the story on their website tonight, but then took it down a few hours later (I guess someone filled them in.) Don’t worry. I took a screenshot.

Update: The CW filed a copyright claim against us for posting their video of our video!

Check out the hilarious outtakes from this project.


  1. You rock, Charlie. I figured it out pretty quick, but at the same time it was so believable… it could have really been true.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Haha! this is by far the best april fool prank i’ve come across. i’ve got to admit, when i saw the video yesterday i thought this was the real deal… but a news report on it!! that has to be the finest icing of the cake with a red cherry on it!

    well done guys! wish improv was in London as well! (would love to intiate one btw!)

    good luck! and hope to see more of your amazing and innovative missions!

  3. I still feel that you went too far. Why do this to WPIX news on April Fool’s Day? I normally like IE but find this WPIX prank totally crossing a line. It’s not appropriate to make fun of something as serious and as somber as WPIX news. WPIX news! WPIX news.

  4. Wow, I fell for it, haha, even though I really didn’t think it was the best idea you guys had had. I don’t know if I’m really gullible or if the video was just too good! Well done, especially with that news spot.

  5. I think WPIX having a photo series of “Whose Celebrity Ass is This?” crosses a line.

    I thought THAT was a prank for a minute. No such luck.

  6. You know, what made it most believable was your reasoning behind it, to make the family feel like their lost relative had lots of friends and would be missed… However, I should have caught on (after all, it was April 1st), and did seem… well… crazy, and possibly seeming disrespectful… I almost would have figured it out, but it made sense, if not a little crazy and… odd…

    *sigh* I bought it hook, line, and sinker… good job, and well done… and I’m kindda glad you didn’t really do this, but it sounded like it could have been a good idea (but please don’t do this for real!).

  7. I have to admit, you got me. I read the original mission report, and while I can’t say I was utterly offended, I did leave it with a feeling of “that wasn’t quite right.”

    I’m also impressed that website gave you billing higher than the Obamas meeting the Queen (although coke in pizza boxes seems to trump you both.)

  8. That was perfectly done, you guys fooled me and I couldn’t be more pleased by it! Rock on guys!

  9. I was one being fooled. Totally not aware of a possible joke, even though I was reading other April Fools’ jokes and enjoying them. I think many people just can’t believe that Improve Everywhere’s agent wouldn’t do a such subject, but not doubt the reliability, either. I treated this is an extremely aggressive mission. Obviously, there’s still a line that agents wouldn’t cross ever.

    Good job, and thanks for this awesome joke. I have to say this is the best one ever.

  10. Please follow-up on whether or not WPIX airs or prints a retraction on their mistaken story. Awesome journalism.

  11. That was tricksy. I considered it being a joke. But seeing as people often question the legality of your operations, I was willing to believe that you would hover around the line of morality.

  12. Pathetic. I for one found this over the top. Didn’t laugh even when I figured out it was a joke. You guys can do better than this, seriously.

  13. hahaha u guys fooled me!! I kinda understood the good intentions behind the whole thing but i didnt really think it was a good idea.. it didnt feel good… haha i bought it all! great prank :) greetings from mexico

  14. Last night I was up very late and thought “I haven’t been to Improv Everywhere in months. I wonder what’s up?” Out of pure serendipity I hit the site only a minute or two after the “Best Funeral Ever” post went up … there were no comments left yet. I instantly recognized the April Fool nod to the “Best Gig Ever” and “Best Baseball Game Ever”. Wanting to continue the joke and keep the comments section in character for those who hadn’t yet realized it was a jape, I wrote a comment praising IE for their thoughtful and poignant mission. The comments subsequently became my favorite part of this mission as readers expressed a wide range of emotions, gullibility, and incredulity. (And yes, I wasn’t duped; my praising message at the top of the comments list contains the acrostic “APRIL FOOL” as the initial letters of each sentence.)

    What a fun meta-mission. Thanks IE!

  15. Hey, Charlie, thanks!

    That video was the straw that pushed the last of my neighbors over the camel’s back. Every kid on my block has now been warned by their moms to walk on the other side of the street when they pass by my house. I now out weigh the crazy cat lady across the road.

    Scary but true.

  16. Loved your comment Timothy from New York. Since it was up near the top and was one of the first comments I read, it lent the mission a sort of authenticity and led me to second guess my own sanity for a moment. “Wow…I GUESS it’s alright…”

  17. I’m so stupid!! I totally bought it. I even clicked it away – a little disappointed how stupid is was to come all on the same time and too late and and… duzzzz :P

    I get it. You fooled me! Really nice work!

  18. Bon sang… C’est la meilleure de l’année! Ahahaha! Vous être trop génial !!! Vraiment du beau travail ;-)

  19. Damn! You lot had me fooled! I even considered leaving a reply, stating how tasteless I found it.

    Damn. And damn again!

  20. I actually believed in it for a while. I had totally spaced on the fact that it was April Fool’s day. I was a bit skeptical after a while though and one of the pictures, where the *priest* stares at the camera, seemed to alert me to something. . .didn’t know what at the time.

    Best part of all is indeed fooling the media. No proof beyond the video and a one sided story gone wrong. BEST. FUNERAL. EVER!

  21. You *totally* had me. I couldn’t figure out how the family didn’t freak out but I assumed it was your brilliant acting abilities.

    Well played!

  22. This isn’t really anything surprising for our media right now – but it’s almost refreshing to see it so blatant. It’s amazing they never bother to do any actual fact checking.

  23. I can’t say I fell for it.. I was more in a state of disbelief that someone would do that.. but if you look at the coffin it’s a bit of a giveaway, looks like its out of a bad vampire movie : p
    Can’t say it was a great thing though, what made it for me was the terrible reporting : )

  24. And this was indeed the Best Funeral Ever!

    For those who didn’t understand what happened, IE didn’t send it to CW as a tru story. CW found it in their own and showed it on air without ever consulting anyone.

    I’ll hold to my faith in mankind and believe that CW realized it was an April Fools joke, airing it only as a way to extend the bizarre story to a wider public. But, wait, that wouldn’t be good publicity for IE, which would be hated by people who had never heard of it. Hum… Yeah, I’ll hold to my faith in mankind’s slow minds and naivety in today’s television. That would hurt less. =P

  25. AHHHHHH! You got me! I thought Charlie had finally crossed the line! It didn’t even cross my mind it was April 1…
    Too awesome!

  26. OMG i really got fooled,
    i really thought you were out of your mind …
    Great Job Guys :)
    Nice joke
    And I’m really relieved now!
    Keep up the mission

  27. I AM DYING OVER THIS!!!!! THIS NEWS STORY IS SOOOO OUT OF CONTROL!!!!! YOU MUST BE SO PROUD OF YOUR SELVES!!! AHAHAHAHAHAH. I was Soooo freaked out when i saw your video and i hated you so much after totally loving you before and then a second later i realized you had duped me and i was once again delighted at your humorous ingenuity. and i CANNNNOOOOOTTTTT BELIEEEEEVE that a news organization broadcast this from my first initial perspective. that is CRAZZZZZYYYYY!!! CONGRATUALTIONS!!! MAY YOU ALL GET INCREDIBLY FAMOUS AND ALWAYS MAKE ENOUGH MONEY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE TO LIVE THE LIFE OF YOUR DREAMS!!!

  28. OK…So I will admit that I was not sure if your were for real or not…but…I am thankful that you were not willing to go that far for a mission. Thanks for the laughs!!
    TN girl

  29. I am never going to trust TV news again!! Unbelievable that they took you seriously… This was awesome, guys; when I saw it yesterday I had a jolt of shock and then realized what was up. The best part for me were the comments by people who realized that it was April 1st, that this might be a spoof, but still weren’t sure whether to believe it.

  30. I actually may be a little bit in love with you all.

    The best part about ‘Best Funeral Ever’ was that I actually believed it was true for a good few minutes. I don’t mind admitting that I was even gearing up to write one hell of a disgusted and indignant email (my creative juices were really flowing yesterday). That is, until I saw the photo of an agent ‘discreetly’ taking pictures on his cameraphone.

    Oh, and well done to CW 11 – that right there is some top-notch journalism. When do they announce the Pulitzer nominations?

  31. Does this mean that the chic in the green coat is available? She got some nice legs :) Or how about the chic that was standing up in the back (one of the original 8)? She was cute too.

  32. You got me good. I was thinking that you guys really did go insane. lol glad to hear you still only semi-insane =) looking forward to the next big mission to participate in!

  33. Oh man, layers and layers of comedy right there. You hacked the news! Good job everyone!

    Yesterday, it was an okay prank. Today it is the best April Fools prank ever.

  34. Seems the video’s been removed now. Does this mean CW11 had to remove it to save face? If so, you guys deserve a lot more kudos for this.

    Other than that, I can see the idea being funny but it still seems a little sick, even for an April Fools’ Prank. Ah well, it were still quite amusing.

  35. The best part was that the news folks assumed that you did the mission on April Fool’s Day – they obviously have no idea that most of your missions aren’t reported on until weeks or months after the fact.

  36. wow.. I was so fooled. I thought how can you guys came up with (i admit) a good idea, but poor execution, like how the agents came together. It was so unnatural. And I felt like it was rude, because the family might think it was a joke. Prank well done guys. But seriously, the idea of making “the greatest funeral” is very nice, but with better execution of course. Keep improving guys!

  37. I have to admit – I fell for it. Kinda felt it was crossing the line a bit but really did no harm. Today when I realized I was snookered I had to laugh out loud! It was fantastic!! Keep em coming!

  38. Mad props to IE for a great realistic prank. I couldn’t get over the whole cameras hiding in the bushes thing and how the tourist line went over, but I still didn’t question it enough…had me goin’ with an odd “this doesn’t feel right, but oh well” taste in my mouth. Awesomely well reported newscast :) They need to feature you now to make up for it with some real journalism.

    Also, Kudos to Timothy from New York for the acrostic in the original comments. I wouldn’t have believed my mother if she had told me she knew it was a prank all along unless she could prove it …apparently Timothy was smart enough to include APRIL FOOL in his paragraph to persuade his nay-sayers. Excellent work Timothy from New York.

  39. the thing about this is with IE, you seem to have the idea that everything they do seems possible. Haha, good job =D

  40. My cousin introduced me to your work yesterday, of all days. I knew it was fake because a couple of items that didn’t add up in the video. The camera man was in plain sight, first off. Just a couple of other things weren’t believable… Plus, it was April 1st.

    I think the scenes are marvelous. Kudos.

  41. I’m sorry, but I am still pretty pissed about this prank. I realized yesterday that it was such an awesome reversal – pranking the fans who prize being on the “inside” – that it would be nearly impossible to top. How can other groups compete with this level of Total Shenanigans? You’re raising the bar too high.

    Well done, you insensitive jerks. Well done.

  42. LMAO … where do you guys dig up these ideas …. I bet these actors & friends were just dying to get in on this prank!!

  43. LOL! I was wondering, because how could you post it online without getting permission to show the people? Haha! But for some reason it didn’t dawn on me that the prank was a prank. Well done!

  44. The cemetery is not a place for a gag. Hey I got an idea for another gag, do it in a church or a mosque, How about you stand on top of sombody’s headstone and get hit in the nuts?

    That’d be hilarious…Go run into a wall

  45. Oh my Gosh! I think the fact that you tricked the news reaches new levels of awesome!

    Like I said in my previous comments, I was totally fooled, and it wasn’t until I read folk’s comments that I realized it was a fake.

    You guys astound me. Just when I think you’ve run out of ideas, you come up with something supremely brilliant. I’m truly humbled by your creativity.

    Great mission, IE!

  46. Thanks IE, this was the best joke I saw yesterday. I showed all of my friends and they didn’t really get it and I got allot of flack for thinking it was funny. Perhaps now they’ll understand :)

  47. Ah, the modern world of news-gathering: sitting at a desk watching Twitter and YouTube.

  48. you guys made it quite believable!
    next event should be a fake attack on earth by aliens on halloween!

  49. Oh my god! That was the second April Fool’s prank I fell for this year… I watched it in horror and vowed to “boycott” IE.
    Did anyone else try to activate gmail autopilot?…

  50. Thanks for the best prank EVER! Even the prank itself was genius, but having a news crew stumble upon the story is priceless!

    Keep up the great work!

  51. what??????
    i love improv everywhere,they are hilarious……but….this wasn’t funny at all.
    somehow death (even staged death) and comedy dont go together well. at all.
    i’m disappointed.

  52. laughed my ASS off! i want to be an agent! please! pretty please! chad–let me know when you’re in NYC again, and i’ll do LA next winter! you are all geniuses!!!

  53. Ah, the news coverage is what pushes this over the top and made it pure hilaritly for me.

    I was fooled into thinking it was real when I first read it. I wasn’t terribly offended by it (to be quite honest, I’d love for a swarm of strangers to show up at my funeral). I realized after seeing a few comments though and remembering what day it was and just chuckled. The replies and comments are what really had me laughing though.

    Kudos to you guys for actually pulling off the first prank I’ve laughed at in years on April Fool’s Day.

  54. The prank –
    Great prank! I was disappointed (not angry) with IE for pranking at a funeral. Now I think it hilarious that we, the “insiders,” were pranked. After all, who do you prank best but your family?

    The duped TV news –
    Now THAT is the perfect topper!

    Timothy –
    I read your APRIL FOOL yesterday and loved it. Very clever.

  55. I must say, when I first saw the video, I thought it was real. I wasn’t too offended, I just kept saying to myself “Wow, you’d have to be REALLY careful with this mission!” Then someone commented the video wondering if it was an April Fool’s joke, and I realized that it must be. It was an awesome idea, though – and that WPIX bought it is even more hilarious. (Though, they should make a “sorry for buying it” announcement.)

  56. As a member of IE, I thought that the original video and report were really realistic, but I had a gut feeling that IE would not be so disrespectful. Anyway, you had me fooled. Great Job!

  57. I think its OK as long as they didnt make jokes at the funeral and made fun of it …

    Improv’s missions are usuually good … :)

    Keep em coming …

  58. Wait, did you see what WPIX wrote on their blog about the whole thing? I’m not exactly sure what to make it of, but unless this is an embarrassed tongue-in-cheek retraction, it looks like Jim thinks WPIX pranked IE…

    What in the world does he mean that “burying an April Fool’s joke within an April Fool’s joke” is “quite possibly illegal in New York State”? Is the WPIX legal counsel the same person who fact-checked the original story?

    Don’t worry. I took a screenshot.

  59. I just read the blog too.

    Looks like we have a sore loser. Wouldn’t you think that WPIX pranking the general public would be far worse than Improv Everywhere pranking WPIX? First off, it’s WPIX’s fault for not looking into the matter clearly.

    Also, if it was really a prank from WPIX, I think that they would have already broadcasted a follow-up report about it by now. I don’t see that anywhere. Am I going blind?

  60. Jim from WPIX emailed me this afternoon and admitted they were fooled. He then said they were going to “run with it” and pretend like it was a prank within a prank within a prank. So yeah, his blog post is tongue-in-cheek. He also mentioned it on the air tonight, saying that the funeral was fake but to check out his blog to see who really got fooled. It’s all sort of strange, but over email he was definitely a good sport about it.

  61. OMG I really believed yall i was like wat da hell is wrong with yall everything was so funny and cool until this 1… COOL APRIL FOOLS JOKE!!!

  62. Okay…Lol now it all makes sense. When I watched this on April Fool’s day, I thought you were serious at first and I did not think it was funny. I thought on April Fools day you played with the website.

  63. Best April fool prank I’ve seen in years. Most web sites just put some fake information or change they way they look for the day. You guys definitely put a lot of thought and effort into making yours happen to get a reaction from most of us.And the best part was the hilarious results.

    Kudos to Timothy from New York for his brilliant play on the letters for April Fool to leave evidence that he knew all along what was happening without giving it away so early in the game.

    Now on to the next mission. Can’t wait to see it or better yet.. to be part of it since I live in NYC.

  64. I believe that there is only one word that can truely describe this crazy mission. Epic.

    Seriously, Homer couldn’t have come up with a better mission…
    (except without insider info it does look pretty wrong 0_o )

    Three cheers for the News reporters laziness!!

  65. WOW! you guys got me good. At first i was thinking it was a good ideam but then i was like “even if they are being nice and trying to make the family feel good, thats still messed up!” and i thought you guys did a great job of pulling the prank on us. Thats what invisible theatre is all about, getting a reaction and u sure got one out of me!!!!

  66. i knew it was a joke from the start — my faith in IE wouldn’t let me believe they would really do something like this! awesome joke guys!

  67. That micheal at the top, if its the same micheal from the other one is a complete F F’in liar..Totally got fooled, and freaked out.

  68. you realize it’s not CW11, right? looks like you should have done a little fact checking yourself, funny man. I’ve seen some of your other work via your ‘youtube’ channel…and just to throw it out there…you guys suck! you actually do this for a living. GET LIVES!

  69. I kind of love WPIX now. Dudes, they pasted their own heads over ours. That is funny stuff, and I like that they’re being silly with it instead of getting mad that they got fooled.

  70. I was seriously torn thinking…oh how cool for the family to have people show up…to…oh thats just wrong.

    Beautifully played. Couldnt have been more convincing and subtle.

  71. that was SO good. like david, i love ie so i kept thinking, ‘gee, well, hmm… maybe the family liked it?” and then at the end, with the fellow’s hand across the camera, and IE saying how great it went….. i thought maybe you’d lost your minds.
    now i can love IE all over again.

  72. I am so relieved to know it was an April Fool’s joke. Somehow I missed that (and was still the biggest prankster in the office.) I love the IE stuff, but this one seemed to go too far. It should have been obvious. Great job – I was fooled.

  73. I dont know why people would be so offened…a funeral is the celebration of life not death. if you dont like what you see go back into your narrow mind a quit watching…i was waiting for something to jump out of the coffin personally haha!

  74. To be honest, it’s really not hard to fool the news media on April 1st. They’re so mindless and terrified of making an actual decision that they’ll fall for just about anything. In fact, I attribute the end of my career in network news to an April Fool’s joke that management fell for completely, and never even tried to investigate, sending it all the way up the chain of command instead. By that time, it was too embarrassing to admit they were duped and somebody had to pay. Nonetheless, to this day I consider it my finest work.

  75. HAMPEH!!!
    We were fooled thought that you all has been sued by the family members! At first was thinking what are the fate of the cameraman which has been cought huhuhu =p (Must be bruises and fractured hahaha) Great job!! =)

  76. This was great, a bit morbid, but clearly an April Fools and quite funny.

    To people who are upset that they ‘pranked’ the news, they didn’t. The news apparently ran the story just having seen the video and nothing more. The only people they set out to fool were us, their audience…thinking, let’s just make an over the top video…as a joke…on april first…1+1=2…

  77. Lol, that was pretty awesome, but i thought it was fake when i saw the red haired girl sitting there. I thought i saw her in another mission

  78. Dennis
    “The cemetery is not a place for a gag. Hey I got an idea for another gag, do it in a church or a mosque, How about you stand on top of sombody’s headstone and get hit in the nuts?

    That’d be hilarious…Go run into a wall”

    The gag never took place in the cemetery, the gag was making people think they did. What IE actually did do was use a cemetery as a setting to film in. If you’re mad about that, then you should be mad at movies that any footage of cemeteries, a church, or a mosque. You ever heard of a show called “Little Mosque on the Prairie”? Its a comedy about Muslims and one of the main settings is a mosque, but I guess that would offend you too much because there’s nothing “funny” about mosques.

  79. Okay, I’m way late at coming to this whole event, but I’m glad I did. Why? Well, the prank was funny, but reading all of the comments was HILARIOUS! My favorites were the ones who got the April 1 connection, but still thought the funeral was real and were incensed that you had pranked the “family.”

    Bravo, Charlie & IE, bravo.

  80. I’m most-disturbed by the curtain-pulling idea that– while I recognize that American news is crap– local news is little more than a blog without the reading.

  81. OMG they file a copyright suit for posting something of their’s on your site yet they posted your guys video on THEIR site. What idiots seriously…they are just sore that they didn’t get the joke

  82. You should file a copyright claim against them for posting your youtube video on their site!
    Great prank!

  83. i should have known it was an april’s fool prank. great job! and, thank goodness it is a prank, if not it would so insensitive.

    “Our apologizes”?