What the guidebooks won't tell you

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Improv Everywhere



WHY ESSENTIAL:
Although Improv Everywhere creates some of the flat-out funniest scenes in New York, you won’t see them in any theater. And unless you join the group’s e-mail list, you won’t know when the performances happen, either. Founder Charlie Todd eschews mean-spirited pranks and says his goal—and that of his cadre of agents—is simply “to make scenes happen.” This could involve putting a bathroom attendant in a McDonald’s or staging an Olympic-trial synchronized-swimming practice in Washington Square Park fountain. Watch footage of past stunts on its website, and then join in the next one.

The secret:
“Two U.S. senators—who requested anonymity—have participated in Improv Everywhere missions,” claims Todd. “Improv Everywhere missions never take place on odd-numbered streets, and if you plot all of the Improv Everywhere missions on a map of Manhattan, it creates a giant smiley face.”(improveverywhere.com)

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