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Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere Hardcover – May 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006170363X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061703638
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Causing a Scene], like the group itself, is inventive, entertaining, and frequently surprising.” (Booklist)

Review

"[Causing a Scene], like the group itself, is inventive, entertaining, and frequently surprising." (Booklist ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This isn't a great book as literature, but it is a book that is great fun to read.
W. A. Carpenter
This is not just a great read for adults, but I bet your kids will like it too, and you'll have fun talking about the pranks and dreaming up your own ideas.
Amy Senk
The book is very well-organized with firsthand accounts from the actual agents who both planned and participated in the missions.
Scott William Foley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By P. Mann VINE VOICE on May 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Prior to reading this book, I had not, at least as far as I know, heard of Improv Everywhere. (Some vague memory exists of footage of one escapade, but I certainly don't recall the name of the group involved.) 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? Or suppose seven people on a subway train weren't wearing pants? What if the next year there were year there were 30 and then 40 and the number kept growing each year? 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.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anne on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have been a fan of Improv Everywhere (IE) for several years, checking their site intermittently to see what crazy new antics they were up to, so I was thrilled to see that they had released a book.

This book compiles thirteen of IE's "missions," describing the event in great detail, from the inception to the actual incident. They've included some of my favorites - the book signing by (the very dead) Chekhov, the Best Buy employee army, and the subway ride sans slacks. All the agents do a great job and the reactions from members of the public are priceless. Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to be in New York when IE strikes!

As far as downsides to the book, I would have to say that it is a fairly small book, the paper quality isn't great, and the pictures are black and white. But I consider these relatively small issues and I feel the book is fairly-priced.

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!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Bornhorst on May 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Causing a Scene" provides an inside perspective on the familiar exploits of the veteran pranksters at Improv Everywhere. Having already watched many of the IE pranks online, I was concerned that the text might simply rehash what I'd already viewed. This proved not to be the case as the book told each story in a fresh way, flush with detail obscured to and commentary unavailable in IE's previously recorded exploits. The authors have captured what the cameras missed.

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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Katie C. Nelson VINE VOICE on June 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My son (who is 15 years old) has been following the antics of Improv Everywhere on their website for quite some time now. He was thrilled when I handed him this book and he has been pouring over it ever since.

Most of the material in the book has already been on the website in some form, but it is expanded upon and better put together for the book. I believe that fans won't really even mind that the material has appeared on the website because they will enjoy being able to read and share the funny experiences and stories.

My son would love to figure out how to get to New York and find himself in the middle of one of these extraordinary pranks!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In a way, this little book is a bit pretentious. The authors think very highly of themselves and it shows.

But who cares?

The deviltry they've been up to with Improv Everywhere is hilarious. The intent is obvious: improvisational theatre everywhere.

Recounted here - in sometimes too much detail - are the plans and execution of each of their events. Some involve just a few people, others many more.

For example, one of my favorites involves a reading of his own works by Anton Chekhov, who had been dead only for a century or so. There's a bit of irony here because Anton Chekov and even his mother were notorious pranksters themselves. The idea was simple: a wonderfully bearded and wild-haired John "Wimpy" Ward was found taking classes at a local (New York) improv theatre. He became Chekhov. The stunt was staged at a Barnes & Noble and several dozen people gathered to hear Anton Chekhov read his works. The stunt went off successfully - and hilariously.

Another stunt, that you may have seen on YouTube or on television, involves people riding the subway. Pretty prosaic, eh? Not when they do it without pants!

How about walking into the men's room at a McDonald's - and find a tuxedoed attendant, complete with a collection of toiletries to aid in your grooming?

These people know how to have fun and the book can produce chuckles. It would produce more, however, if the authors could actually write well and the production values were higher. I thought the writing was kind of stilted and that the primary author puts way too much of his ego on display. The book is physically small, the paper of poor pulp variety and the many black and white photos are muddy and difficult to view.
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