Did you know that the term hooker originated on the Lower East Side? Or that at the 100th-anniversary celebration of the Williamsburg Bridge, there was a cake the size of a truck? Obscure facts abound in 2014—When We Were Idiots, a walking tour of the LES led by comic Xavier Toby, who has done variations on the tour in his native Australia tailored to different cities' histories. Toby also tackles heavier, contemporary topics—politics, gentrification, global warming—with a light touch and a handful of zingers. Decked out in a penguin suit (because penguins mate for life and “I’m out for a green card”), he stops passersby to ask them questions, leads impromptu applause sessions directed at diners in restaurants and encourages his audience (outfitted in high-visibility neon-green vests) to steal the gun from a police officer’s holster. In short, under Toby's charge, you become part of the most annoying tour group ever. But his amusing and surprisingly educational show succeeds in getting normally stoic, smartphone- and self-obsessed New Yorkers to take note of their surroundings.—Diep Tran
Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.