Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 23, 2008

Improv Everywhere

Last week I took a train to London. As it pulled into Victoria Station the guard announced over the PA “Welcome to Victoria. As you leave please look around you. Have you left any mobile phones, lap-tops, book, coats, hats or scarves? Any livestock or children? Please remember to take everything you brought with you.” Everyone in the carriage broke into a smile, and started looking at each other. I thought ‘There is hope for humanity!’ Jolted out of fixed patterns of thinking for a moment it was as if we all woke up.
One of the central ideas in many spiritual teachings is that most of us are ‘asleep’ – caught in habitual semi or fully automatic patterns of behaviour, thinking and feeling. To ‘wake up’ we need experiences out of the norm. A group called ‘Improv Everywhere’ stages impromptu performances through co-ordinated ‘undercover agents’ to create these experiences. Have a look at the film clip – it’ll give you the idea!


  1. that is fantastic!! Good luck to them! Everyone is so serious so much of the time and there really is no need to be – we can all inject a bit of freedom into what we say and how we say it – everyone is open to smiling and having a bit of giggle and yet for so much of our lives we are led to think it is not appropriate – and yet there it all is under the surface ready to erupt into a beaming smile when someone says or does something out of the ordinary. You are totally right – it is a waking up – a jolt out of a routine of feeling less than we should 🙂

  2. Wonderful!! I think i might have joined in 🙂 ROFL!

  3. I loved this! It takes tons of guts to do something like this, I’d think.

    Maybe that’s just because I’m a Glaswegian – a city where, on the whole, a stunt like this will end, not in a grand finale, but in the Casualty Department 🙂


  4. Oh Philip….what a fantastic idea. Would love to have the balls to try this in North Yorkshire…..Hmmmm think it might be a trip to the local loonie bin if I do. reminds me of when we were in Glastonbury for Imbolc, a guy walked down the street with a bubble machine and bubbled everyone….for no reason and totally harmless, but boy did it bring some smiles. It also brings back the memory of the Free Hugs Video on youTube….. ah yes, the simple things in life are free. Life is too serious. Wonder what it will take for people to wake up and realise that laughter and smiles can be a life saver!
    bright blessings,

  5. Can I have a napkin please, I’m laughing hysterically. That cheered me up!

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