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High Five Escalator.
February 9, 2009 11:39 AM   Subscribe

"For [Improv Everywhere's] latest mission, Agent Lathan gave out 2,000 high fives by standing next to a subway escalator during the morning rush. Five additional agents spread out along the adjacent stairs, holding signs that prepared commuters for the upcoming high five fun. Enjoy the video first and then check out the mission report and photos."
posted by sarabeth (67 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
This one-linker is one of the top stories on reddit. It's nice to watch the stoic faces of the subway grind crack up when they see Rob.
posted by plexi at 11:43 AM on February 9, 2009


sarabeth, put your hand up.

(gives sarabeth high five)
posted by billysumday at 11:43 AM on February 9, 2009


This seems like a good way to create jobs. Just hire a bunch of people to stand in random places where a lot of people go by and give everyone high fives and cheer them up.

They have to be better at it than Walmart Greeters though, they never do the trick for me.
posted by Chan at 11:44 AM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


How many communicable diseases did Rob's hand pick up in thr course of that 45 minutes?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:46 AM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am officially the worst high-fiver ever (oh hey there, lackluster hand-eye coordination!), but I will enthusiastically high-five you anyway. Being personally acquainted with the usual humdrum of the morning subway, this story sort of made my day, even by proxy. If being amused by high-fiving is wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by sarabeth at 11:47 AM on February 9, 2009


High Five!

*brushes hand through hair*

PSYCHE!
posted by clearly at 11:50 AM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


My 3 youngest (all under 4) have been well-trained in giving 5s. One of them has even graduated into an "awesome" cheerleader. I.e. someone asks how I beat that level on World of Goo and I'll say "it's because I'm" and then point to my 3 year old daughter who says "AWESOME!!!"

Eventually I may teach them how many 'I's are in "team" (zero) but probably not how to snap towels.
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on February 9, 2009 [26 favorites]


In a perfect world, every person would probably be assigned an official "awesome" cheerleader. Nicely done.
posted by sarabeth at 11:53 AM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


How many communicable diseases did Rob's hand pick up in thr course of that 45 minutes?

Eh, if you're already riding the subways, holding onto hand rails and opening doors, you've got them all. And everyone knows whatever doesn't kill you, only makes your immune system weaker, making you a mere shadow of you're former self. But you're stronger in character.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on February 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh man, I want a high five so bad now!
posted by orme at 11:55 AM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


^5
posted by boo_radley at 11:55 AM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


"How many communicable diseases did Rob's hand pick up in thr course of that 45 minutes?"

Rob should have worn a latex glove on his high-five hand.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 11:55 AM on February 9, 2009


With all the cameras there I would feel peer-pressured into doing it and so wouldn't do it because I don't like being peer-pressured.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 11:58 AM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Old dude nodding while holding the "A High Five!" sign is the best. He has this whole, "oh hells yes" look to him.

Also, wouldn't your hand kill after a while?
posted by chunking express at 11:59 AM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh and the "down low" low-five was hype too.
posted by chunking express at 12:00 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of them has even graduated into an "awesome" cheerleader. I.e. someone asks how I beat that level on World of Goo and I'll say "it's because I'm" and then point to my 3 year old daughter who says "AWESOME!!!"

Oh man, I want a kid so bad now!
posted by heathkit at 12:01 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


everything improv everywhere does is great - usually pretty funny, but they do an even better job of making people laugh in a way that makes them feel better about themselves. this one is my favorite: Best Game Ever!
posted by ccpearce5 at 12:10 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


My 20 year old sister will often times just look at me, raise her hand, and ask "high five?". I can't help but to be in a good mood afterwards.
posted by collocation at 12:12 PM on February 9, 2009


that's pretty cool
posted by edgeways at 12:17 PM on February 9, 2009


Hmm, I guess I'm the only one that's kinda sick of Improv Everywhere then.
posted by spilon at 12:20 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. Nothing else gets me pumped quite like a high five.
posted by Curry at 12:21 PM on February 9, 2009


My only complaint about Improv Everywhere is that "everywhere" happens to be NYC. (And yes, I've seen their "Global" link. It's not the same...)
posted by educatedslacker at 12:24 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


good game
good game
good game
good game
good game
good game
good game
good game
good game
good game...
posted by sourwookie at 12:24 PM on February 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


Hey You

Read The Notes

Give Rob A High Five

And Catch Strep Throat!

Burma Shave
posted by clearly at 12:28 PM on February 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


What's funny is that NBC shot a pilot but turned town an Improv Everywhere series (which explains NBC's cooperation with Best Game Ever)

Maybe if it was hosted by Howie Mandel.
posted by ALongDecember at 12:29 PM on February 9, 2009


Cocaine gets me more pumped than a high-five.
posted by everichon at 12:32 PM on February 9, 2009


Hmm, I guess I'm the only one that's kinda sick of Improv Everywhere then.

Looks like it. Anything that makes a couple thousand people smile while they're going to work is okay by me. It's not-Improv-Everywhere that I'm tired of.

I'm really glad they didn't make it into a tv show, though. Network television has an uncanny ability to ruin any idea, no matter how fun.
posted by nosila at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem with Improv Everywhere, other than they seem to be out of ideas, is that they've gotten a bit too big. When nobody knew what the hell was going on they could be effective, but now that No Pantsarama makes the national news before it even occurs every year, it seems to have sort of lost something.

I still like most of the stuff they do and I wish I'd thought of it all, but it's been a while since they did something that was really impressive. That said, their next stunt could involve punching kittens and I'd still love 'em just for that goddamn mobius loop prank.
posted by bondcliff at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2009


ROB WANTS...

TO GIVE YOU...

A LINE.

GET READY!!!!!
posted by nosila at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2009


Wow, and no one was shot by transport police or arrested for being a terrorist. I can high five that.
posted by Elmore at 12:40 PM on February 9, 2009


I agree that Improv Everywhere can be hit-or-miss (I attended the Mp3 Experiment in SF, and it seemed so-so), but I think the fact that it even exists is admirable and refreshing. And any group of people who can make something like this actually happen in real life deserve a round of applause, in my book. Also:

Anything that makes a couple thousand people smile while they're going to work is okay by me.

/seconded, stamped APPROVED.
posted by sarabeth at 12:42 PM on February 9, 2009


Cocaine + High Five = Ultimate Pump
posted by Curry at 12:50 PM on February 9, 2009


I will always despise Improv Everywhere and consider them to be a bunch of narcissistic cretins due to the way they came off in that one episode of This American Life where they pretended to like that one band and couldn't grasp why the band didn't appreciate it.
posted by anazgnos at 12:51 PM on February 9, 2009


Cocaine + High Five = more Cocaine + more High Five = more Cocaine + more High Five ad nauseum
posted by nosila at 12:53 PM on February 9, 2009


I will always despise Improv Everywhere and consider them to be a bunch of narcissistic cretins due to the way they came off in that one episode of This American Life where they pretended to like that one band and couldn't grasp why the band didn't appreciate it.

As someone who has played shitty gigs to empty, disinterested and/or actively antagonistic venues in the past, there would have been some nights where I would have been thrilled to have a few dozen people at least pretending to enjoy themselves.
posted by empath at 1:00 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


High Five + Ecstasy = High Roller
posted by Curry at 1:00 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


*Barney Stinson voice*

Whoo! Subway-High Five!
posted by quin at 1:01 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aww, I love Improve Everywhere when their stunts are in the spirit of making people feel good (and not duped, as in this case)
posted by serazin at 1:21 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oops, missed your comment anazgnos!
posted by serazin at 1:21 PM on February 9, 2009


Thanks bondcliff for bringing the moebius strip prank to my attention... that was awesome.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:26 PM on February 9, 2009


when their stunts are in the spirit of making people feel good (and not duped

I guess my point is that they don't seem to know the difference.
posted by anazgnos at 1:27 PM on February 9, 2009


(Sorry to link to the moebius loop, bondcliff...I think I missed your comment by sheer moments.)
posted by sarabeth at 1:27 PM on February 9, 2009


I like the idea of Improv Everywhere, but that "This American Life" made me feel kind of oogy about it too. It just sort of had a "we're cooler than you" meanness about it.
posted by JoanArkham at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2009


Nothing new here...

In Atlanta (city notorious for escalators, ESPECIALLY near the GA Dome and World Congress Center), with the robotics "Championship Event", you could expect to have other teams with spirited members asking for high fives practically everywhere, and if I recall correctly, on top and at the bottom of the escalators.

Those were some good times. Glad to see someone take that element out into the real world. This Rob should have just worn something a bit more noticeable and wild.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 1:53 PM on February 9, 2009


My friends tell me that the secret to the perfect high-five is for both parties to look at each other's elbow, but no one has been willing to participate in my double blind study to verify/disprove this.

More like hive five, AMIRITE?
posted by niles at 1:59 PM on February 9, 2009


I'd like to see this same thing done as follows. Three signs on the lead up...

Rob wants...

.... you to...

... slap him in the face.


Then him there with his chin stuck out.
I'm curious how many people would do it.
posted by datter at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2009


Great Party
posted by homunculus at 2:10 PM on February 9, 2009


What's funny is that NBC shot a pilot but turned town an Improv Everywhere series (which explains NBC's cooperation with Best Game Ever)

Maybe if it was hosted by Howie Mandel.
posted by ALongDecember at 3:29 PM on February 9 [+] [!] No other comments.


Hey, I was actually in that pilot! We froze for 10 minutes in the middle of Grand Central, it was good times.
posted by Mach5 at 2:25 PM on February 9, 2009


For fans of Improv Everywhere: I'd be interested to see a link to any one of their "mission reports" where they concluded that maybe this one wasn't such a good idea.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:30 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am officially the worst high-fiver ever (oh hey there, lackluster hand-eye coordination!)

The key is to look at the other person's elbow while you do it.

My new thing is to go for the fist bump but right as you touch you spin the fist around into a thumbs up.

POSITIVITYLOCK ENGAGE
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:44 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Send me $1 and I'll email you a high five. No hidden charges.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:59 PM on February 9, 2009


POSITIVITYLOCK ENGAGE

Oh yeah, I'm stealing this.

Surely this will finally make me the bane of my department.
posted by quin at 3:00 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Running out of ideas should just make them work that much harder to come up with new ones. The results will probably be more nuanced, hit-or-miss, less high concept. But still worth attempting - we need improv everywhere, and for now that means Impov Everywhere (which I can never stop misreading as Improve Everywhere).
posted by bonefish at 3:14 PM on February 9, 2009


Oh yeah, I'm stealing this.

Surely this will finally make me the bane of my department.
posted by quin at 3:00 PM on February 9 [1 favorite -]


HUGLYFE BANGERS IN THE HIZZLE
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:22 PM on February 9, 2009


Now everybody in the 2-1-2
get ready for what Rob's gonna do to you!

Now everybody in the 2-1-2
get ready for what Rob's gonna do to you!
posted by bwg at 3:48 PM on February 9, 2009


I continue to wish an Improv Everywhere would actually exist in my small town. Hah. If I ever visit NYC for any reason, I dearly hope a mission that requires the general public is going on.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:49 PM on February 9, 2009


Aw. That was cute. 2nding that it was lovely to see those commuters unwittingly crack a smile at all the signs ("Rob v").
posted by Phire at 4:08 PM on February 9, 2009


I'm in New Orleans. You'd think the area is big enough for one of these, but alas. I've sought and sought to do a "mission" here, but no go.
posted by Night_owl at 4:11 PM on February 9, 2009


Worst. Improv Everywhere. Yet.






(Does that sound a little wrong to you?)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:57 PM on February 9, 2009


5















posted by inconsequentialist at 6:57 PM on February 9, 2009


How many communicable diseases did Rob's hand pick up in thr course of that 45 minutes?

You mean spreading a little bit of joy in an otherwise mundane existence? Sure, I'll buy that.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 7:18 PM on February 9, 2009


Wow, and no one was shot by transport police or arrested for being a terrorist. I can high five that.

About five years ago I was at Reading Festival and had gone with a mate to pick up some friends of his from the entrance to the campsite. We were both fairly drunk and I waited inside the camp site while he collected his friends. He ended up being longer than expected and after a while I started high fiving everyone that walked in. I have no idea whether I beat Improv Everywhere's 2000, but after about 5 minutes I was stopped by three policemen who proceeded to caution me for being a public nuisance. They didn't arrest/shoot me and let me go after filling out a couple of forms, but to this day it's still the most I've ever been in trouble with the authorities. Rebel.

What made it more annoying was the fact that my friend (Friend 1) had taken my ticket and another friend's (Friend 2) out with him so that his two friends could enter the campsite (they were only able to collect their tickets the next day and the way ticketing at the event works this is actually possible). On re-entering the site and seeing that I was being spoken to by the police, Friend 1 decided the best course of action was to give the policemen my two tickets and, pretending not to know me, said that I must have dropped them. As one of the tickets was Friend 2's and didn't have my name on it, it was then returned to lost property. Problem was that Friend 2 had bought his ticket off a tout and had no idea what the name on the ticket was, and trying to persuade the people at Lost Property to return his ticket was an absolute ball ache. Would probably have made it all a lot simpler if I'd just been arrested.
posted by muthecow at 7:25 PM on February 9, 2009


This is the first time I really liked an improv everywhere bit.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:39 AM on February 10, 2009


Oh shit, sourwookie!
You took me right back to little league!

Do you remember a movie where the kids are lined up for the post-game "good game" thing, but all the kids are like "good game, yeah right, you suck, etc"?

I need to remember!
posted by orme at 6:04 AM on February 10, 2009


I will always despise Improv Everywhere and consider them to be a bunch of narcissistic cretins due to the way they came off in that one episode of This American Life where they pretended to like that one band and couldn't grasp why the band didn't appreciate it.

Yeah, they were kind of dicks about that, but I still enjoy what they do for the most part.
posted by Edgewise at 6:24 AM on February 10, 2009


Not everything IE does is gold, but this one made me smile. Like their Little League "mission" that ALongDecember linked to, I think more of what they do should be of the positive, make-people-smile form. Just saying.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:13 AM on February 10, 2009


someone asks how I beat that level on World of Goo and I'll say "it's because I'm" and then point to my 3 year old daughter who says "AWESOME!!!"

Hells yes. Left 4 Dead needs to show the survivors high-fiving whenever they leave in their escape vehicle.
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:11 PM on February 10, 2009


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