Posted by mike in Film,Friends,Internet at 9:20 pm on November 13, 2006

I have a Bacon number of 4. This is due to the fact that my oldest friend Andy (who I’ve known since kindergarten) lives and works in Hollywood, and pretty much everybody in Hollywood is shortly connected to Kevin Bacon.

Andy lived for a period of time in Manhattan, in an apartment more or less right across the street from Madison Square Garden, with a couple of friends who we’d attended high school with. When Andy moved back to California, a guy named Charlie took his place. Charlie founded something called Improv Everywhere, which can most easily be described as a roaming improv comedy and pranking group, but that’s oversimplifying it a great deal. Their infamous U2 mission takes place on the roof of the aforementioned apartment.

After about 5 years of performing what Charlie refers to as “missions,” Improv Everywhere decided to release a compilation of their antics thus far on DVD, which Andy edited and assembled for them.

I was visiting Andy in Los Angeles as he was finishing up these DVDs, and got to see early versions of them. I’d like to think that I helped in debugging some of the menu navigation and hidden features as well, but Andy had largely completed all of the work by the time I got a chance to see them. Forever the supporter of endeavors of my friends, I pre-ordered the DVDs from IE’s website upon my return from LA, and I received the finished product a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve gone through every nook and cranny of both discs, over 6 hours worth of material, and have thoroughly concluded that I’m a big fan of the concept in general. I think it’s no coincidence that I often accidentally type Improve when referring to IE; they really do live up to their billing of trying to spread joy with their missions. One of my favorite hidden features on the discs explores this very notion, along with some of its implications, in an as-yet-unaired episode of This American Life, the forthcoming TV series. I won’t spoil the content for my readers, but suffice it to say that it’s worth seeking out. I’m looking forward to more entertaining missions from Improv Everywhere in the future.

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