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Charlie Todd
extraordinary pranks in ordinary places with Improv Everywhere.
Prior to reading this book, I had not, at least as far as I know, heard of Improv Everywhere.That fact certainly did not keep me from reading the book in a single sitting, laughing frequently.
"Causing a Scene" catalogs some of the work of Improv Everywhere, a group of people devoted to, well, causing a scene--in a word, pranks. What if, for example, 80 people showed up at Best Buy wearing blue shirts and khakis? These, apparently, were the sort of questions that the authors thought needed answers. So they set out to answer them.

The thing that separates the "missions" in this book from the realm of the ordinary practical joke is their sheer inventiveness and the fact that there is nothing malicious here. At their finest, the members of the Improv Everywhere are simply providing free entertainment for the lucky few who happen to be present at, say, the Olympic tryout of the New York City Synchronized Swimming Team--in about four inches of water in a public fountain.

The book describes thirteen missions, devoting around 20 pages to each one. The authors share the genesis of the idea, the planning, the execution, and the reactions. This project--by which I mean the book, not the missions--strikes me as a risky proposition. Describing jokes never works, so would describing pranks? The answer is a resounding yes, at least for most of the chapters.

If you're looking for a good laugh, definitely check out this book (and their site at improveverywhere dot com to see more missions). Be sure to leave it out on your coffee table so friends and family can enjoy it as well!
Whether or not you're already familiar with Improv Everywhere, this book will amuse in an easy-to-read, lighthearted way. Five stars.
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  • Seller location: Christchurch City, Canterbury, NZ

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