No Pants Subway Ride Day takes place in early January every year, on January 9 this year, and the official date is announced a month before it in early December. It is an annual event where — as the name suggests — people ride the subway (or other rapid transit) with no pants on. Interestingly, it has been observed in different parts of the world in over 60 cities since 2002! Improv Everywhere organizes the event, and they have coordinators worldwide to make sure everyone knows and follows the instructions for this crazy holiday.
History of No Pants Subway Ride Day
The idea behind this amusing day came from Charlie Todd from Improv Everywhere back in 2002. The idea was simple — to confuse (and hopefully amuse) bystanders. Seven male participants all boarded a subway car at different stops, decked up in winter gear from head to toe with one catch — they had no pants on. In a hidden camera video from the scene, the other passengers look confused at first and then break into laughter. It was a light-hearted prank that quickly gained popularity.
The following year, there were about 30 participants, including women. With every year, the number of participants grows rapidly. The instructions for the event are simple — to nonchalantly enter the subway car pantless from different stops, pretending not to know any of the other participants. When asked about the pantlessness, the response should be that you forgot them or that they were getting uncomfortable. What adds to the comedic aspect is the choice of bottoms that people make. From SpongeBob boxers to funny quotes, “no pants” does not mean “no fun!” However, not everyone finds the prank funny. Over the years, participants of the event have run into trouble with law enforcement. Eight people were handcuffed in New York City in 2006, and many were investigated in 2016 in Moscow, Russia. All charges were dropped later, though. A group was even yelled at by a subway conductor over the P.A. once.
With that being said, many do find it to be amusing. The event has garnered incredible media coverage over the years. This annual event has been organized by Improv Everywhere for nearly two decades now, with thousands of participants worldwide. The coordinators are in about 60 cities, and people in more than 25 countries participate annually. What started as a small prank is now a worldwide event as No Pants Subway Ride Day every year.
No Pants Subway Ride Day timeline
The first-ever No Pants Subway Ride takes place in New York City with seven participants.
David Letterman jokes about the event and stages No Pants Cab Ride as a parody.
The first year the event invites other cities and countries to participate — an equal number of women and men participate.
The event is canceled for the first time in two decades.
No Pants Subway Ride Day FAQs
Why is No Pants Subway Ride Day a thing?
The purpose of this was merely to have a little fun and confuse people on the subway. The popularity was such that it became an annual occurrence.
Is there a National No Pants Day?
Yes, National No Pants Day is observed every year on the first Friday of May. We’ve got lots of fans of the no pants life.
What is a subway?
A subway is an underground railway, and these are trains used as a quick means of transportation.
No Pants Subway Ride Day Activities
Participate in the event
Keep an eye out for the official announcement by Improv Everywhere in early December. If your city is participating, layer up, take your pants off, and join them in this funny prank.
Improvise your no pants ride
Get creative and host a no pants ride prank. It could be as simple as showing up pantless on a chilly day to pick up your friend from their house and acting like it’s no big deal!
Watch the event
If you are in it for the amusement but have no interest in freezing your bum off, we’ve got you. There is endless official and unofficial coverage of the past events that are quite entertaining to watch. Take your pick and have fun!
5 Interesting Things To Happen On The New York Subway
“Sesame Street” subway
Once a group dressed as the entire cast of “Sesame Street” was spotted riding the subway.
The Guardian Angels
In 1979, a group of 13 known as the Guardian Angels patrolled the subway to protect its riders.
Hover over the line
Hoverboards are not allowed on the subway.
Subway cars painted to stop graffiti ended up being blank canvases for artists who fully covered them in art.
Subs don’t lie
Due to the overuse of the “my train was delayed” excuse, companies can request delay verifications.
Why We Love No Pants Subway Ride Day
It’s a funny prank
No Pants Subway Ride Day is a light-hearted prank that most people can appreciate, especially on the subway in the middle of the daily hustle and bustle.
It started with only seven people, but No Pants Subway Ride Day is now observed and enjoyed by thousands of people worldwide. Whether you’re a participant or watcher, there is a sense of community created by Improv Everywhere.
It reminds us to have fun
We often take ourselves too seriously. Events like this remind us to take it easy and have fun now and then.
No Pants Subway Ride Day dates