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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Improv invades NMU

Charlie Todd began Improv Everywhere as a group of prankster friends in New York City. What began as Todd pretending to be musician Ben Folds soon became a huge Internet phenomenon, sometimes with many people, even thousands, simultaneously performing a variety of pranks, called missions. Missions range from riding subways without pants to freezing in place in Grand Central Station.

Todd will be hosting a two-hour event at NMU on Tuesday, Nov. 9, during which he will present about Improv Everywhere followed by an improv comedy show with a few of his friends from the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Theater where he teaches and performs in New York City.

Though Improv Everywhere involves unscripted arranged pranks, Todd said the missions are not to be confused with actual improvisational comedy, which is performed extemporaneously.

“Improv Everywhere is a New York City prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places,” Todd said. “Apart from its name, Improv Everywhere doesn’t have much to do with improv comedy.”

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Improv Everywhere is composed primarily of people from the UCB Theater. The pranksters, called agents, go into public in New York City and use the skills they have acquired from the UCB Theater to fulfill Improv Everywhere’s mission statement to cause “scenes of chaos and joy in public places.”

Despite the sound of the mission statement,  Todd said the group does not break the law. However, law enforcement officials have occasionally had problems with Improv Everywhere – during 2006’s no-pants subway ride and a Best Buy mission that involved many agents going to Best Buy dressed as employees, for example.

“We may break store policies or park regulations from time to time, but we do not break the law,” says Todd’s website, improveverywhere.com. “It’s unfortunate whenever a cop has his time wasted responding to something we do.”

Todd said Improv Everywhere is more about having fun, which is its fundamental appeal.

The second hour of the event will feature Todd and his friends performing improv comedy. The first half hour of the improv portion will be longform improvisational comedy, which is a longer form of improvisational acting. Todd and his colleagues will take a suggestion and work off of it without interruption for about a half hour.

“A group of performers takes inspiration from a suggestion,” Todd said, “or sometimes a monologue or audience interview, and then performs a seamless series of scenes over the course of about a half hour.”

The second half of the improv portion of the event will involve someone from the audience being interviewed.

“(We will) start with an interview of an audience member,” Todd said. “We’ll take all of the unusual things we learn in the interview and turn them into scenes for the set.  It’s a way of finding inspiration from a single audience member’s life, which makes the whole set feel like an awesome inside joke everyone in the room is in on.”

The event will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 9 in Jamrich 102 and is will be free to NMU students. Tickets for the general public will cost $2.

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