Charlie Todd is the creator of Improv Everywhere, a group that creates absurd and joyful public scenes.

Why you should listen

Bored by a temp job, and tired of waiting for someone to give him a stage, comedian Charlie Todd decided to make his own. So he walked into a bar and pretended to be musician Ben Folds. It went so well that it inspired him to create Improv Everywhere, "a New York City-based prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places." 

Todd has produced, directed, performed, and documented the group’s work for over ten years. In that time they've run over 100 prank missions, some involving hundreds or thousands of agents, and each one creating a wonderful and irreproducible experience.

He's a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City, and is the author of Causing a Scene.

Watch our photographer's view of the TED2012 prank ... and see how Improv Everywhere pulled it off with the help of a few willing TEDsters ...

What others say

“The great delight of the Improv Everywhere events is that they let subway riders slip out of the psychic silos that they normally travel in.” — Jim Dwyer, The New York Times

Charlie Todd’s TED talk

Charlie Todd on the TED Blog

Entertainment

New playlists: “Spoken-word fireworks” and “That’s absurd!”

February 24, 2013

TED playlists are collections of talks around a topic, built for you in a thoughtful sequence to illuminate ideas in context. This weekend, two new playlists are available: Spoken-word fireworks and That’s absurd! That’s absurd! 5 quirky talks remind us that life is funny, weird, sweet, absurd. Watch talks by Improv Everywhere’s Charlie Todd and […]

Continue reading
Entertainment

The ideas behind a prank: Q&A with Charlie Todd

April 1, 2012

As may or may not have been clear from reading the internet today: it’s April Fool’s Day. At TED, it came a bit early: At TED2012 Charlie Todd staged a beautifully colorful prank. An actor (Eugene Cordero) played a speaker who had a technical difficulty with his talk, and then another, and then another, and… then […]

Continue reading

Quotes from Charlie Todd

One of the points of Improv Everywhere is to cause a scene in a public place that is a positive experience for other people. It’s a prank, but it’s a prank that gives somebody a great story to tell.
Charlie Todd
TEDxBloomington • 2.3M views Nov 2011
Funny, Inspiring
The participants at Improv Everywhere events have just as much leisure time as any other New Yorkers, they just occasionally choose to spend it in an unusual way.
Charlie Todd
TEDxBloomington • 2.3M views Nov 2011
Funny, Inspiring
There is no point and that there doesn’t have to be a point. We don’t need a reason. As long as it’s fun.
Charlie Todd
TEDxBloomington • 2.3M views Nov 2011
Funny, Inspiring