Today Show’s Viral Video Doesn’t Go Viral

Sure we like Mike Tompkins (YouTube’s pbpproductions). Sure his Dynamite a cappella remix was cool.

His appearance on yesterday’s NBC Today Show produced this, “Today Goes Viral.” While it’s one of the most-discussed videos in Canada (and we love our Canadian Tubers), it’s not exactly living up the the viral title at 15K views so far. But it is the #163rd most-viewed “News & Politics” video in Mexico today, so…

I recall when a media/journalism professor showed a newscaster’s coverage of a tricycle race, and pointed out how the reporter was making herself part of the story… by eventually riding one of the tricycles on camera. His lesson was to cover the news, not try to be part of it. Fortunately the Today show stays well safe of that criticism here.

Of course it’s nice to see Ann Curry get autotuned after hearing her in ImprovEverywhere singing without a safety net.

May I make a suggestion for a holiday YouTube/NBC collaboration?

Why Your Social-Media Expert Should Be an Improv Comic: 7 Reasons

Would you trust your social-media voice to an improv comic?
Would you trust your social-media voice to an improv comic?

I recently told a few hundred Canadian marketers that their social-media expert should be an improv comic, an insight that hit me during my all-night roadtrip to Toronto. Moments later, one former improv comic (from Freshed Baked Entertainment) confided at lunch that he’s using his improv experience to help brands create entertaining content.

This notion mostly went over well, and I pledged to write about it. I’m beginning here on and I’ve posted it on Scribd (a good way to distribute and SEO-optimize your writing if you can’t afford PRWeb or PRNewswire). If you’re a blogger or publisher, I invite you to use part or all of this with attribution… and hope to fancy it up for a magazine.

I have four sources of inspiration for this concept:

  • ImprovEverywhere’s Charlie Todd, who I’m connected to in an odd way that falls between friend and fan. It’s a parasocial relationship, but since I’ve met him and he returns my phone calls or e-mails I’m allowing myself to call dub the “Causing a Scene” author a “virtual colleague.” I was struck with how well he does media, and I attribute that to his experience as both an improv comic and advanced teacher of the discipline. Todd, in fact, was who encouraged me to enroll in the wildly heralded UCB Theater in NYC. I’d later, sadly, become an improv-school dropout because I lost my financial excuse to visit NYC weekly and my dad died. But I’ll do it again.
  • I did significant research to prepare for my Improv Comedy course, and learned a tremendous amount in the early classes. My goal was not to become an improv comic, but understand how improvisational skills might translate to my work and life. Like you, perhaps, I often default to “fighting the wind” (arguing the inevitable), which can be empowering but both exhausting and unsustainable. So I hoped to learn new ways to “roll with life” or “go with the flow.” One of my favorite affirmations is “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” (source). How many of life’s “problems” would vanish if we gave ourselves that rare gift?
  • I’ve also had lengthy conversations with Melissa Katz, a former colleague at Johnson & Johnson who oversaw Centocor’s public relations. She’s a former improv comic, and helped me understand how many of the tenets of improvisational comedy translate to corporate or public-relations.
  • Finally, David Alger is one of many improv-comics that crystalized the basic “rules” of improv comedy, and I hope to help you see how some of these rules apply to your social-media presence. I quote him simply because he ranked high on Google SEOs for “improv comedy rules,” but there’s no shortage of wisdom on improvisational comedy. I’m quite sure there are dozens of other applicable rules I’ve left out (like being honest, a truism in both improv and social-media).

So forgive me for being an improv-comic dropout, but trust that what I learned in my first portion of the class will help you either find a good social-media expert or nurture one who is. I give you “The Seven Reasons Your Social-Media Expert Should Be an Improvisational Comic.”

(oh- you gotta hit “more” to read them).

Continue reading “Why Your Social-Media Expert Should Be an Improv Comic: 7 Reasons”

NBC’s Ann Curry Joins ImprovEverywhere Prankers in “I Love Lunch” Musical

Ann Curry joined in a “spontaneous” musical about lunch at Trump Tower, and the ImprovEverywhere team worked with NBC to capture the fantastic moment in “I Love Lunch! The Musical.”  Watch the Today Show coverage of the event and see some fantastic photos by visiting

The bit borrows heavily from my favorite ImprovEverywhere clip “Food Court Musical,” but gives me goosebumps anyway. Charlie Todd’s mission is to to bring people a fun, harmless, interesting moment. And their reactions bring a wonderful richness to the experience. 5 of the largest stars possible.

I met Todd last year, and have remained puzzled why this format couldn’t substantiate an incredible 30-minute television show. It’s simply brilliant.

You may also like the Grocery Store Musical. “They turned life into a musical,” says a bystander. Could we ask for more?

ImprovEverywhere Goes Commercial

charlie todd, improveverywhere founderCharlie Todd, the genius behind more than 70 “ImprovEverywhere” stunts involving thousands of “agents” is going commercial. Despite a reluctance to commercialize his grassroots productions, Todd is partnering with Yahoo (to support a “go purple” campaign, according to this Advertising Age story).

Todd livs in NYC and teaches improvizational comedy. Every few months he organizes an amazing stunt that involves often hundreds of people performing odd acts in public. Todd has explored television pilots, but has kept the productions small and sponsor free. With the views he’s getting on YouTube, I’d guess he’s not likely far from living off the Partner revenue.

He’s also well underway with an MP3 tour, where spontanious actors will download an MP3 and follow instructions to create visual cinema. Learn more about the MP3 Experiment at ImprovEverywhere.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Todd in NYC, and he’s a modern Alan Able but oftn without an agenda other than entertainment. Speaking of which, I just watched “Able Raising Cain,” a documentary produced by the famed media hoaxer. He’s currently speaking in Europe but I think I’ve convinced him to participate in a YouTube video in November.