He started the group in August of 2001 when he played his first prank in Manhattan by pretending to be musician Ben Folds at a local bar.
To date, Improv Everywhere has carried out over 100 missions with notable ones including New York’s infamous No Pants Subway Ride, Frozen Grand Central, Mp3 Experiment, The Subway Spa and Black Tie Beach Party.
Todd has also given a TED Talk about the importance of play in adulthood and the philosophy behind his public pranks.
He continues to perform at UCBT where he taught for many years prior.
Ari: Welcome to 20to30, I’m Ari King, and we’re here with Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere.
Ari: Do you think that if you want to get into that film/theater industry that there’s a certain city or a certain strategy that will work better than others?
Charlie: Yeah I mean I think if you want to be in entertainment, you probably want to be in New York or Los Angeles. There’s probably more opportunity in Los Angeles, really, if you want to be in production, if you want to be in film or television. But I think New York is such a great place to live when you’re in your twenties. You don’t have to drive. The public transportation is amazing. You can go out to bars until 4:00 a.m. There’s so much possibility in so many young people. And it’s a tough city. I know that rent’s really expensive and it can be tough to find a good job here, but I think the experiences of New York are just so wonderful for somebody in their twenties.
But it’s definitely hard work figuring out how to make a life in New York but I think it’s the best thing in the world.
Ari: You figured it out.
Charlie: I did, yeah. It took a little while but I did.
Cinematography: Danielle Calodney & Dyani Douze
Edited by: Danielle Calodney
Interviewed by: Ari King
Extra Footage Courtesy of Improv Everywhere