For April Fool's Day, Improv Everywhere staged a massive prank involving over 1000 participants. The "No Underwear Subway Ride" shocked thousands of New York City subway riders as they watched fellow riders nonchalantly take off their pants and underwear in the close quarters of the subway car. (They pulled it off by wearing skin colored underwear strategically blurred in the video so that people would think they were actually exposing their genitals. Clever, eh?)
Since 2002, Improv Everywhere has made a tradition out of staging a "No Pants Subway Ride" every April Fool's day, but this year they decided to "up the ante." As one of the main organizers reported, "I was careful to instruct the participants to be as respectful as possible. This was not about offending people. We wanted to give those who saw it a memorable experience that they'd be laughing at for the rest of their lives."
According to a New York Times Blog, some people laughed and covered their eyes, while others got up to switch cars. Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, no one was bothered enough to call the cops, or even to complain to the NYC City Transit. Notably, New York law regarding indecent exposure (section 245.01) states that someone who strips down naked in public gets a free pass if s/he is "entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment."
Okay, so it wasn't technically full exposure. And maybe it's even a funny prank. But since when do the nude person's rights to entertain override my rights to go about my day without having to share a confined space with someone (or someones) exposing their nudity in my face?
Am I just being a killjoy? Or does staging a no-underwear subway ride--even a pretend one--go a liiittle too far?