Intermission: Brightening Moods With Three Simple Words

Improv Everywhere brings smiles to New Yorkers by encouraging them to "say something nice."


Improv Everywhere, the New York City-based "prank collective," describes its mission as "[causing] scenes of chaos and joy in public places." They're probably best known for staging the annual No Pants Subway Ride, in which thousands of people board trains in their underwear. But their latest "prank" involves no chaos at all, just joy.

The group set a wooden lectern in bustling Union Square one afternoon and set a megaphone on top. The setup included a small plaque with three words: "Say something nice." Organizers then moved away to surreptitiously record the results.

At the beginning of the video, several people look quizzically at the megaphone and sign without approaching. "Have a good day, everybody," one man begins. From there, it's a steady stream of people following instructions. One woman compliments a stranger's umbrella. One guy shouts out "You are all wonderful!" A few break into song or beat-boxing rhythms. One toddler, Buzz Lightyear doll in tow, exclaims "To infinity and beyond!"

The overall effect is awe-inspiring. Across the square, people stop to listen and grin at what they hear. The project clearly brightened a few moods in New York that day, and the video is doing the same for thousands more online.