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Improv Everywhere turned random New Yorkers into impromptu commencement speakers

By David Goldberg

Since 2011, the comedy masterminds of Improv Everywhere have used flash mob-style schemes to disrupt the tedium of life in NYC. In 2016 alone, they staged a bizarre time-travel scenario on a local train and mortified passengers all over town with the annual No Pants Subway Ride. For the latest Improv Everywhere mission, founder Charlie Todd and his co-conspirators threw a fake graduation in Bryant Park—and invited strangers off the street to deliver commencement speeches. It looks like the mission seems to have produced interesting results. 

Photo Credit: Andrew Bisdale

After a group of robe-clad performers took their respective seats as graduates and faculty of the nonsense Big Apple University, ensemble member Ryan Karels took to the park with a sign reading "Commencement Speaker Needed." Then, things got interesting. 

Photo Credit: Andrew Bisdale

A panoply of diverse speakers took the stage, including pre-schoolers, an adult who mispronounced Susan Sontag's name, and a speaker who delivered her address entirely in Spanish. 

To check out more epic Improv Everywhere Missions or to become an agent, head to their site. 


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