Food Court Musical, by Improv Everywhere

The pranksters at Improv Everywhere describe their latest noble work thusly:

For our latest mission, 16 agents staged a spontaneous musical in the food court of a Los Angeles shopping mall. We used wireless microphones to amplify the vocal performances and mix them together with the music through the mall’s PA system. We filmed the mission with hidden cameras, mostly behind two-way mirrors. Apart from our performers, no one in the food court was aware of what was happening.
Link to their blog post with more details and pix. (thanks, White Male in Business Attire!)


  1. I prefer to be known as “Agent Thorn”! Or, alternately, by my creative name, “Man in Suit.”

  2. would have been funnier if some random person got off their ass and given them what they wanted. what would they have done then? sing, “thanks for the, one of thousands of, like there aren’t being stored right here, but thanks for the napkins, sir!”

  3. That is seventeen levels of awesome!

    And big props to the mall management for their support and opening up the mall the night before for rehearsal.

  4. There’s a group in Australia called The Chaser that does a similar thing for their tv show. There are a bunch of clips to be found on Youtube by searching for “the chaser musical”

  5. This is pretty much the best thing of all time. Didn’t these guys do the Grand Central Station freeze?

  6. @Travelina: Awesome! We need more spontaneous, non-commercial stuff like this. Whether or not this is considered culture jamming, I like the idea of moving comedy away from the film studios and sold-out theaters and back onto the street.

  7. That was kind of cool. A hot dance number featuring about 30 mall-walkers would make it cooler.

  8. They should stick to college campuses where they can be appreciated. From the slack jaws it’s obvious they might as well be singing Klingonese to produce.

  9. Damnit! They took my idea! We need to see a troupe like this here in Portland. Some of us would probably join right in–I know I’d at least try.

  10. Sometimes, IE is brilliant. The Best Buy stand-around comes to mind, as does the Grand Central freeze.

    Then there’s this.

    That’s OK, keep firing. Can’t hit the bulls-eye every time.

  11. Every clip of IE shown has been beyond awesome. Not everyone appreciates them, but they do make life lively. To the comment that this would be better appreciated on a campus, most probably, but I think bringing it to the world at large is exactly the lively bit of chaos we all need to see more of in our lives.

  12. Awesome in the food court. The reactions of the people are a little strange – like they’ve never even seen something like this on TV.They are just a little too zombie-like for comfort.

    @Evil-Jim – the Midwest is the place where they need this the most. This would be considered weird even in Chicago

  13. The filtering software my school district uses blocks improv everywhere as “Adult/Mature Content”. Did I miss the video about Improv Everywhere’s Mall of America strip-in?

  14. That guy looking dumbstruck at the players who points out that the janitor is still cleaning up at the end – is he not the same guy who was looking dumbstruck at all the frozen people in Grand Central Station?

  15. Apart from our performers, no one in the food court was aware of what was happening.

    …because that’s what you want in an audience, lack of awareness.

  16. I love these guys!

    One thing bothers me though… It’s not actually Improv, it seems quite rehearsed.
    Otherwise it’s great to see street theatre make a comeback in the age of complacency!

  17. Dan — I think the guy you’re talking about is Charlie, the founder of Improv Everywhere. Sometimes afterwards he talks to people afterwards about what happened to get their reactions.

  18. Improv Everywhere are a bunch of jerks. You should not encourage them by providing free publicity.

  19. When I was a teen, I had this same idea: to stage musical numbers in the real world to make life… well not as surreally numbing and stupid as a mall food court. Thrilled to see someone actually doing it.

  20. Just when you think that the world is nothing but crap, gloom and doom – along comes something like this to remind you that there’s still a bit of playfulness and wonderfulness out there still.

  21. Wonderful, and even more wonderful because it made use of the most adorable uniform ever — the Hot Dog on a Stick uniform.

  22. Captain, we’ve just received some signs of life on what was thought to be a mossy moon of the sun!

  23. To me, the most remarkable thing about this is that they got the cooperation of the mall management and of one of the merchants. They’re right, that made it possible to embed players in positions which no one would have suspected. When’s the last time you saw a singing security guard?

  24. Oh NO. . . my nightmare is coming TRUE. . . life is becoming like a cliche’d Hollywood musical!!!

  25. I enjoyed the Abercrombie and Fitch one better… prolly cuz of all the shirtless guys.

  26. The world is a better place with Improv Everywhere in it.

    All the nay sayers and curmudgeons can bite me. This is art for art’s sake. No price tag, just entertainment for it’s own sake, shared with everyone. Pure, silly, and joyous.

  27. That wasn’t funny, that wasn’t art, that wasn’t joyous, that wasn’t improv. That was annoying.

  28. Oh, oh! I also noticed that this was rather rehearsed — though this is openly acknowledged and documented on IE’s site — and that this blatantly contradicts the name of Improv Everywhere, as “improv” stands for “improvisation”, which is entirely the opposite of such rehearsed shenanigans! Also, they performed their act in a SINGLE place, rather than, as they so falsely claim, “everywhere”!

    Ah, don’t you feel so much more clever now? A good day.

  29. Well put, Gloria.

    Khonsu, I’m in PDX too and would love to do something like this. Talk about keeping Portland weird!

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