No Pants Today!

Improv Everywhere is a comedic performance art group based in New York City, formed in 2001 by Charlie Todd. (Wikipedia) It carries out missions aimed at causing “scenes of chaos and joy in public places”. One of its missions is The No Pants Subway Ride, which is an annual event held worldwide. In this event, participants enter the subway train at consecutive stops without wearing their pants, as you can see in the above video. When asked, the participants simply say that they “forgot” their pants.

If you have watched the video, notice the reactions of the “pants-wearing” passengers on the subway? Some were looking around wondering what was going on, staring at the “no-pants” passengers, asking questions. Others looked a little uncomfortable, while a few took pictures. One woman was even pretty impressed when she saw that there were actually more people not wearing pants.

Now, if you were one of those who did not get the memo on The No Pants Subway Ride, you would probably be wondering why all these people were without pants. Some would have thought that these people have gone insane, or maybe it is a protest of some kind (what protest involves you not wearing pants, I don’t know). There might be some who would not even bother about the “no-pants” thing. You might think, “So what’s new? The world’s full of crazy people.”

The point here is that you, like the people in the video, would have attributed a cause as to why some of the passengers were not wearing pants. Attribution is the “process of assigning cause to human behaviour”. What caused these people to be without pants? Are they going to continue this crazy antic in the future? What does this behaviour say about them?

One of the common errors of attribution is that we “assume that the cause for behaviour is the person, not the situation”. In this case, most people would have thought that all these “no-pants” people have lost their minds. I mean, is it so hard to put on some pants when you are in public? They probably would not have thought that these people were actually celebrating the 10th Annual No Pants Subway Ride.

So, what would you guys have thought was going on with these “no-pants” people? Would you have realised that it was just an event, all in the fun of causing “scenes of chaos and joy”?

To learn more about Improv Everywhere and their missions, you can visit their website:

Improv Everywhere

Sources:

Improv Everywhere (Wikipedia)
No Pants Day (Wikipedia)
No Pants Subway Ride 2011 (Youtube)

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10 responses to “No Pants Today!

  1. TheycallmeKenneth

    I’m really enjoying your topics covered so far! First Kevjumba and now this, it keeps our com101 blog thingy interesting! Anyway it’s really hilarious to witness the reaction of those unaware, and they’re all likely to question the same thing as to why so many people aren’t wearing pants in their minds. While they’re all questioning the same thing, the difference lies in each individual reaction (non verbal cues!). If it’s me though, I’d probably have guessed there’s an event going on, I mean what are the chances so many people forgot their pants!

    • This event is really interesting, no? I do agree with you that while everyone might be wondering the same thing, not all of them will react to it the same way. If it were me, I’d probably crack up seeing all the people not wearing pants but still be a little uncomfortable being surrounded by all of them.

  2. Improv Everywhere is a great ongoing project. If I’m not wrong they did one here in Singapore a while back, something about a mass dance in the CBD area? Personally though, the no-pants idea would probably be a no-no over here since we live in a comparatively conservative environment. Still, the concept of spreading joy is quite unique and inspiring, it would be great to experience more of that locally!

    • Oh I didn’t know that they held an event here. I do know that there was a petition going on against holding the ‘no pants’ event. Although it would be interesting to have this event in Singapore, I don’t think it’s such a good idea just because of the super humid weather we have. Can you imagine all the sweaty bodies?

      The concept of Improv Everywhere is unique though, like you mentioned. It’s a really different way to get people to loosen up and not be so stressed about life and just be silly once in a while.

  3. My initial reaction was to gasp, typical Singaporean response! :)

    If I was on the subway, I would assume those people without pants have lost their mind and are attention seekers. Based on our culture, something like these would be ridiculous and there would be much complaint about it.

    However, the idea behind the event is very interesting. It would be great to see something like this in Singapore one day.

    • A typical Singaporean response would be taking a picture of the ‘no pants’ people and post it on Stomp. Like you said, holding an event like this would be insane because of Singapore’s conservative culture. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people called the authorities or something if they saw something like this.

  4. Hidayah

    Judging from the first person I see, I’ll probably think said person is crazy. But seeing more and more of them, I’ll know there’s some kind of event going on. Protest maybe but very unlikely. But having not heard of The No Pants Subway Ride, I won’t know exactly what it is. I can’t believe they’ve been holding it for ten years already!

    • Yup I think if people saw that there are other people not wearing pants, they would probably figure out that there is an event going on. I mean, it can’t possibly be pure coincidence that so many people aren’t wearing pants because that would be just ridiculous.

      It is a really interesting event though. I think if Singapore held an event like this, not necessarily the ‘no pants’ event because even I think that’s a bit too much to be held here, but other kinds of unique events it would make us a little less conservative. Singaporeans always say that life here is too stressful so isn’t this the perfect way to relieve all that stress?

  5. Don’t think this is the same as a FlashMob, although equally random and strange?! Haha. I love all things unusual and will probably find this event amusing. If I didn’t know it was an event going on, yes, I would probably wonder to myself why people are forgetting their pants…pretty hilarious actually! In Singapore, a mass event so bold (e.g. in this case, to not use pants) would most probably be violently objected to I would think, and you know how typical Singaporeans are…Stomp will be where your bum is rated (haha)

    • It’s different from flash mobs but I guess both kind of have the same purpose. Yup I think this would be a bit too extreme for Singaporeans to handle. I cannot imagine if some people in Orchard, for example, were not wearing pants. Completely crazy! But I would like to see some kind of event by Improv Everywhere held here. Not on the same scale as the ‘no pants’ event, of course, but maybe something a bit more mild.

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