Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Faceless Men in Bowler Hats

Between January and June of The Year 2000, we must have watched Thomas Crown Affair upwards of 100 times.

Back then life was much simpler: late afternoon wakeups, 72 holes per diem of Mario Golf, ham and swiss sandwiches from Al's Deli or D&D, chocolate milk, lots of ecstasy and dope and, with no cable television, the same five movies running on a loop.

We loved the first and last 15 minutes, couldn't get enough of it. If you've never seen the flick, the last scene involves hundreds of dudes in bowler hats and briefcases running around The Met in an attempt to let Tommy Crown, aka the Coolest Man Alive, roam freely through the museum's halls. Plot-wise it's an incredible twist, but artistically it's even more genius -- there are more than a few stunning shots. Throw in Rene Russo's supple breasts and a hot sex scene on the stairs and you have me at hello.

I'd love to have been involved in some kind of chaos like that, a magnificent mindfuck with no negative repercussions for me or really for society at large. A tribute to Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, only just a little more straight.

Enter Improv Everywhere, a semi-comedic group of interchangeable members that form these anonymous happenings. I'm not entirely sure if this is old news already, but these guys flawlessly executed a brilliant plan to flood a Best Buy store with random people in collared blue shirts and khaki pants.

The underlying gimmick: "Wearing clothing almost identical to the store's uniform, the agents would not claim to work at the store but would be friendly and helpful if anyone had a question."

This write-up may take a few minutes to read through and check out all the photos and videos, but I promise it's well worth it. Like the Super Mario Brothers clip from yesterday, this type of comedy is just that much more special in this era of canned laughs. So an extra-large Kudos bar goes out to Improv Everywhere...that's great work.

Slack Video of the Day: This one's making the rounds, a stoner bidding $420 on The Price is Right and loving every minute of it. (And if you've never read the amusing story of my grandfather wearing a "From One Silver Fox To Another" T-shirt and winning all the friggin' prizes on TPIR, click on this post...)

Slack Song of the Day: I'm feeling very cover-rific today, so here's Umphrey's McGee playing William Joel's The Stranger on 9/30/05. And while we're at it, here's the Bridgeless from the Green Apple afternoon set outside Grand Central on 4/21/06.


At 11:51 AM, Blogger hoobs said...

That is a funny prank indeed. The best prank I've ever been involved in when H.S. friends broke into a girl's car and filled it with styrofoam peanuts. It was called Operation Avogadro because we estimated there were about 6.02 x 10^23 peanuts...

Also, the thought of tomato soup and a butter cookie from Al's Deli makes my stomach weep.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

We did the same thing once, except we used horse semen. Took forever to jerk off all those horses, but it was worth it.

Mmmm, styrofoam peanuts.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger the belligerent intellectual said...

We should try out this "improv everywhere" technique. We'll drive over to the West side dressed as police officers and just "talk" to the prostitutes and be very "helpful" if they offer "blowjobs" for their "freedom."

At 2:57 PM, Blogger ethan said...

i might have mentioned this on slack before, but the best high school prank ever is releasing 3 pigs in the school numbered 1, 2, and 4. administrators will kill themselves looking for pig #3.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Alex Fritz said...

I've always wanted to put on my old Office Depot polo and walk into random Depots across the nation and start working. If the manager asked what I was doing I'd just tell him it was my first day. I'd really like to see where that conversation would go.

Best prank ever? When I got a hand job from hooker in Memphis. She wanted $50, so I bit her face and ran away. I got her!

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Not a bad idea, Dan...I tried an improv like that once last year, and I got the crabs.

That does sound familiar, Ethan...still as funny as the first time I heard it though. Some people are just that much smahter than I am, and it kinda bugs me.

Anyone else notice there's a handicap accessible sign in the word verification box? That's strange. I hate wheelchairs.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger ismateo said...

as a side note, the song that plays during that bowler hat sequence in Thomas Crown - "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone - is dope.

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Seyeko said...

I remember this one time in high school, I left subliminal messages on a mixed tape so the hottest chick in the school would go out with me. Oh wait, that was Zach Morris. I always seem to get the 2 mixed up.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger dhodge said...

Improv Everywhere was profiled on This American Life last year for showing up at a show for an unknown band and acting like a horde of die-hard fans. Interesting story.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Oh I'm well versed in the beauty of Sinnerman...if I had a nickel for every time we cranked out the Nina Simone classic apart from the movie, I'd have a bunch of fucking nickels and perhaps a sock full of quarters. Love that tune. It makes the scene, really. Not sure if it'd be half as powerful without it.


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