FAQ

What are flash mobs and pranks?

What’s a flash mob?
A flash mob is a group of people who assemble to perform an unusual act for a brief time and disperse, for the purpose of surprising and entertaining an unsuspecting audience.

What’s the difference between a flash mob and a prank?
For us, if we have an event and we invite the public to participate in it via our Facebook page and/or our mailing list, that’s a “flash mob.” Our most famous flash mob is the annual No Pants Light Rail Ride, that we do as part of Improv Everywhere’s global No Pants Subway Ride.

When we do an event that only involves our core team members and you don’t know about it until we post the video of it on YouTube, that’s a “prank.” Our most famous prank so far is the Coroner Prank.

What about “flash robs” and “flash mob crimes?”
We can’t stand it when the media calls a crime committed by a group of people a “flash mob.” We firmly believe that flash mobs have to have the primary purpose of entertaining others and so, by definition, group criminal acts can’t be flash mobs. It’s inaccurate and it hurts the flash mob community when the media does this. Flash mobs are innocuous; they are not crimes!

One of our core team members is a licensed attorney in Arizona. She puts a lot of time and energy into making sure we’re not setting ourselves up to get sued or arrested when we do a flash mob or prank.

How did it get going?

How did Improv AZ start?
In late 2008, Improv Everywhere in New York was preparing for its annual No Pants Subway Ride in January 2009. They invited anyone who lived in a city with public transportation to organize similar no pants ride on the same day. The Phoenix light rail was just about finished so Jeff Moriarty organized a group of friends to ride the light rail pantsless that day and posted an event on Facebook so anyone else who wanted to could join.

An astonishing 90 people showed up to ride the light rail sans pants that day. By the end of the ride, the core group had come to the consensus, “We have to do more things like this!” From that, Improv AZ was formed and we’ve been doing flash mobs and pranks ever since!

How often do you do flash mobs?
The short answer is “not as often as we’d like.”

We try to organize an event at least every few months. We wish we could do an event every month, but unfortunately we all have day jobs so that’s not possible. And we live in a desert where it’s too hot to do anything 4 months out of the year.

How can I get involved?

How can I participate?
The best way to stay in the loop on our upcoming activities is to get on our mailing list. We promise not to spam you or sell your information.

You can also stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

How can I get involved in planning flash mobs with you?
We welcome anyone who wants to help plan events. We’re also always looking for people who have video experience who want to help record our events. Please contact us at improvaz@gmail.com.

Can I share my idea for a flash mob with you?
Absolutely! If you come up with a cool idea for a flash mob or prank, shoot us an email at improvaz@gmail.com.

Can I hire you to do a custom flash mob?
We’ve done some custom flash mobs in the past, but we’ve been so busy lately we just can’t commit to doing any special ones for-hire or for your events. Sorry!

But what about [INSERT QUESTION HERE]?
Yeah, that is the VERY next question we were going to add, but just haven’t gotten to it yet. Send us an email and ask us if the answer isn’t listed here.