Impractical Jokers

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Impractical Jokers
Impractical Jokers Logo.svg
Genre
Directed by
  • Peter Fowkes
  • P. J. Morrison
  • Andrew Hood
Starring
Narrated by
  • Drew Patterson
  • Bill St. James
  • Erik Falcon
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons9
No. of episodes205 (+ 35 specials) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Charlie DeBevoise
  • Mark Hickman
  • Brian Quinn
  • James Murray
  • Joe Gatto
  • Sal Vulcano
  • Pete McPartland
  • Simmy Kustanowitz[1]
Production locationNew York City
Camera setupHidden camera
Running time
  • 19–21 minutes (seasons 1–5)
  • 23–24 minutes (seasons 6–8)
  • 40 minutes ("Live Punishment Special")
  • 82 minutes (season 5 finale)
  • 47 minutes ("Universal Appeal")
  • 48 minutes ("Paradise Lost")
  • 49 minutes (season 6 finale)
Production companyNorthSouth Productions
Release
Original networktruTV
Picture format480i (season 1)
1080i (season 2–present)
Original releaseDecember 15, 2011 (2011-12-15) –
present
Chronology
Related shows
External links
Website

Impractical Jokers is an American hidden camera reality show with improvisational elements. Produced by NorthSouth Productions, Impractical Jokers premiered on truTV on December 15, 2011 starring the four members of The Tenderloins: Joe Gatto, James "Murr" Murray, Brian "Q" Quinn and Sal Vulcano. It also occasionally airs on TBS.

Impractical Jokers' ninth season premiered on February 4, 2021.[2] The series has been renewed for a 26-episode tenth season.[3][4][5] A feature-length film began production in April 2018 and was theatrically released on February 21, 2020.[6][7]

Overview[edit]

A typical episode is a series of competitive games of dare, in which each joker receives either a thumbs up or thumbs down for his performance. At the climax, the joker who tallied the most thumbs down is the loser and is thereby subjected to a "punishment". The games are contrived scenarios in which one joker is challenged to embarrass himself by engaging with unwitting members of the general public, receiving commands from the other jokers who are orchestrating and surveying the bizarre scenario from behind the scenes with covert recording equipment. The most common premise is "you refuse - you lose." The intro describes the show as "scenes of graphic stupidity among four lifelong friends who compete to embarrass each other." The games are loosely structured, relying heavily upon improvisation. The show's comedic themes range from witty dialogue to slapstick routines, with the reactions of both the jokers and the members of the public serving as punchlines.

Development[edit]

Intertitle used since Season 3. From left to right: Q, Murr, Sal, and Joe.

Joe Gatto, James "Murr" Murray, Brian "Q" Quinn, and Sal Vulcano, four friends from Staten Island, New York, who attended Monsignor Farrell High School, formed the live improv and sketch comedy troupe The Tenderloins in 1999.

After a long and successful history, including winning the $100,000 grand prize in NBC's "It's Your Show" competition, the group went into television. In 2008, they filmed a pilot episode for a scripted sitcom for Spike TV, but the show did not go to series. TruTV announced Impractical Jokers, originally slated to be named Mission: Uncomfortable, on April 12, 2011, eight months before the show's debut. Murray explained how the hidden camera format made sense based on the jokesters' skills. "We needed to find the right format... thing is, we've been doing this for years, but when it's on camera, the embarrassment is amplified."[8] Quinn and Vulcano have said when they gave their pilot episode to TruTV, it was recorded on their iPhones. At the time that they pitched the idea to TruTV, Murray was VP of Development for NorthSouth Productions, the company that has produced the series since its inception. Murray describes the show as an "upside-down hidden-camera show where the joke is on us, instead of the public. So it takes away the thing people hate about hidden-camera shows, which is, 'Oh, I feel bad for the people getting pranked. We're messing with each other. The public is just there to witness our embarrassment."[9]

Challenge format[edit]

Prior to every challenge, the Jokers explain where they are, what the challenge is, and what will happen if they fail. Often (but not always) the cast member(s) performing the prank wears an earpiece, while the others have a mic in a covert location. Cameras are hidden near the area to capture the action. The challenge location is usually a public area in or around New York City such as a city park, or store. The criteria of each challenge are the same for each of the Jokers competing in the round. If the Joker cannot complete their task, they get a thumbs-down. At the end of the episode, the Joker(s) with the most thumbs down receives a punishment. The punishments cannot be refused, lest they be kicked off the show,[9] and are usually more embarrassing, humiliating, disgusting, painful, scary, or dangerous than any of the other challenges.

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
116December 15, 2011 (2011-12-15)May 3, 2012 (2012-05-03)
228September 6, 2012 (2012-09-06)December 12, 2013 (2013-12-12)
331January 2, 2014 (2014-01-02)October 30, 2014 (2014-10-30)
426January 29, 2015 (2015-01-29)October 22, 2015 (2015-10-22)
526February 11, 2016 (2016-02-11)November 3, 2016 (2016-11-03)
626February 9, 2017 (2017-02-09)November 2, 2017 (2017-11-02)
726February 1, 2018 (2018-02-01)December 6, 2018 (2018-12-06)
826March 28, 2019 (2019-03-28)March 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
9TBAFebruary 4, 2021 (2021-02-04)TBA
Specials35February 2, 2012 (2012-02-02)TBA

As of the 2017–18 television season, the series is syndicated to American broadcast stations by Trifecta Entertainment & Media, with a clearance rate of 85% of television homes.[10]

Cast[edit]

The Tenderloins in Times Square in 2010

The cast consists of four long-time friends, collectively on the show referred to as "Jokers".

Main[edit]

  • Brian "Q" Quinn is an improvisational comedian from the New York City borough of Staten Island. He attended Monsignor Farrell High School, where he was involved in numerous activities, including drama and sports.[11] He attended Brooklyn College and later went on to join the New York City Fire Department.[12] He is the third host of the podcast Tell 'Em Steve-Dave!, which was formerly on SModcast.com.
  • James "Murr" Murray is an improvisational comedian from the New York City borough of Staten Island. He attended Monsignor Farrell High School there, and was also part of a community theatre.[11] He continued his education at Georgetown University where he received a BA in English.[13] He continues to work at NorthSouth Productions, where he is the Senior Vice President of Development.[14] In 2018, he released a sci-fi/horror book called Awakened, which was co-written by Darren Wearmouth, and revolves around a monster that lives in the subways of New York City. Two sequels, called The Brink and Obliteration, were released in on June 18, 2019 and June 23, 2020, respectively. He is married to Melyssa Davies.
  • Joe Gatto is an improvisational comedian from the New York City borough of Staten Island, where he attended Monsignor Farrell High School.[11] He studied at Long Island Post University where he received a degree in Accounting.[15] He founded the Tenderloins comedy troupe in 1999 and worked at the baby retail store Giggle, until January 2012. He is the first married Joker(one of two), and has two children with his wife Bessy.[16]
  • Sal Vulcano is an improvisational and stand-up comedian from the New York City borough of Staten Island. He earned a degree in Finance from St. John’s University. Vulcano is also an ordained minister, and officiated Gatto’s 2013 wedding.

Guest appearances[edit]

Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 Season 8 Season 9

International versions[edit]

  • A British version of Impractical Jokers began airing in winter 2012 on BBC Three. It starred comedians Paul McCaffrey, Joel Dommett, Marek Larwood and Roisin Conaty.[17] The pilot was filmed and placed online as part of "The Comedy Kitchen" in 2012. The first series included six episodes, which aired from November 15 to December 20, 2012. The second series also included six episodes, and aired from February 24 to April 2, 2014. It was produced by Yalli Productions.[18] It was cancelled after Series 2 in April 2014, mainly due to its unpopularity. However, more recently, Comedy Central and Channel 5 picked up the rights to co-produce a third season of Impractical Jokers UK with Yalli Productions, starring Late Night Gimp Fight.[19]
  • A Dutch version was broadcast on Veronica TV in 2013, called De Fukkers. In 2015 a new version started at RTL 5, named Foute Vrienden, like the Flemish version.[20]
  • A Belgian (Flemish) version broadcast on 2BE in the fall of 2012, titled Foute Vrienden. James Murray appeared in episode 5 of the first season.[21] The second season, which started in March 2014, included 10 episodes.
  • A Brazilian version is currently being broadcast on SBT titled Amigos da Onça. The series premiere aired on January 7, 2013[22] and ended on August 13, 2013. James Murray appeared in episode 3 of the second season.
  • A Lebanese version was broadcast on Al Jadeed in the fall of 2013.
  • A Mexican version broadcast on TBS Latin America started on May 20, 2015 with the title Impractical Jokers.
  • A Greek version was broadcast on Ant1 in February 2014 with the title Wanted.
  • A French-language Canadian version was broadcast on V on February 24, 2014 with the title Les Jokers.
  • A Swedish version was broadcast on TV6 in April 2014 with the title Radiostyrd.
  • A Spanish version was broadcast on Neox in 2014 with the title Sinvergüenzas.
  • An Egyptian version was released in 2015 with the title Al Mohayesoun.[23]
  • A Russian version started broadcasting on November 17, 2018 on Che with the title Shutniki (Шутники)[24]

Critical reception[edit]

Impractical Jokers has been well received by most critics, with Linda Stasi of the New York Post calling it "possibly the funniest, most ridiculous show I've seen in years."[25]

While it has been compared to earlier hit prank shows such as Candid Camera and Jackass, critics have offered praise for its unique twist on the genre, wherein the stars' reactions to the pranks are often equally as humorous as those of the innocent bystanders. Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times stated that "the gag pays off twice: once in the reaction of the unsuspecting passer-by, once in the discomfort of the fellow doing the asking." He later wrote that the cast-members' occasional integrity [kept] these four clowns a little bit lovable."[26] Dean Robbins of The Daily Page echoed this sentiment, stating that "the friends are jovial rather than Jackass-obnoxious, even rejecting some dares as too offensive."[27]

The series has been generally well received, garnering 1.5 million viewers during its December 15, 2011, premiere.[28]

The review of the show by Variety's Brian Lowry was less positive, ending with this statement: "Nobody will ever confuse Impractical Jokers with high art, certainly, but as low-brow, micro-cost comedy in the context of truTV's programming resources, it's actually quite practical—and occasionally funny."[29]

Spin-offs[edit]

Jokers Wild[edit]

Jokers Wild was a spin-off of the original series in which the guys filmed a different style of skits that differ from ones that they normally film for the show. These skits are story type as opposed to live interaction with people. The first episode of Jokers Wild aired on September 25, 2014. Only four episodes of the six that were filmed for this series ever aired on truTV as the show did not do well in the ratings and was cancelled after the 4 episodes aired.[30][31]

Impractical Jokers: Inside Jokes[edit]

Impractical Jokers: Inside Jokes is a spin-off of Impractical Jokers in which episodes that have already aired are shown again with pop-up facts throughout, including behind-the-scenes stories and facts directly from the Jokers. The first episode of Impractical Jokers: Inside Jokes aired on July 14, 2016, following the mid-season British special.[32][33]

Impractical Jokers: After Party[edit]

Impractical Jokers: After Party is a spin-off hosted by Joey Fatone, in which the Jokers and surprise guests go through a deep dive of challenges, special play-by-play punishment analysis from the latest episode, and bonus content from the latest episode or the whole show. The first episode of the series aired on August 3, 2017, after the episode "The Q-Pay" had aired. After Party is filmed at The Flagship Brewing Company bar in Staten Island. When the series came back on August 2, 2018, the series moved to The Mailroom Bar in Lower Manhattan.

Impractical Jokers: Dinner Party[edit]

Impractical Jokers: Dinner Party is a spin-off of Impractical Jokers, in which the Jokers do a video group chat while eating dinner and having guests visit one or more participants. The spin-off was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States that prevented Impractical Jokers episodes from being produced. The show's theme song is "Uzi (Pinky Ring)" by Wu-Tang Clan. The first episode of the series aired on May 21, 2020.[34] On August 5, 2020, the series was ordered 10 additional episodes and began airing on October 15, 2020. The first season ended on January 14, 2021. At the end of the episode, "Don't Stop Believin' " by Journey plays to commence the return of regular episodes.[35][36]

Film[edit]

On March 7, 2018, truTV announced that Impractical Jokers was renewed for an eighth season and a feature-length film to begin development in spring 2018, directed by Chris Henchy and produced by Funny or Die. Production on the film began at the end of April 2018. A trailer was released on December 17, 2019, and the movie was released on February 21, 2020.[37][38][39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Petski, Denise (July 22, 2016). "'Impractical Jokers' Renewed For Season 6 By TruTV". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 28, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  2. ^ Darwish, Meaghan. "'Impractical Jokers' Renewed for Season 10 at truTV Ahead of Season 9". TV Insider. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  3. ^ White, Peter (February 4, 2021). "'Impractical Jokers' Stars Strike WarnerMedia First-Look Deal As Show Is Renewed For Season 10 At TruTV". Deadline. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  4. ^ Sanders, Andy (January 9, 2020). "Impractical Jokers: The Movie: Trailer and Release Date Revealed". CheckerSaga. Archived from the original on January 31, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
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  9. ^ a b https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/these-four-friends-grew-up-pulling-pranks-then-they-turned-their-shtick-into-a-cable-tv-empire/2017/12/20/4ab477fc-e293-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html
  10. ^ TruTV's 'Impractical Jokers' Cleared in 85% of U.S. Archived September 4, 2019, at the Wayback Machine - Deadline Hollywood (Published May 24, 2017; accessed September 7, 2017)
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  33. ^ "truTV to Present Mid-Season Premiere IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: BRITISH INVASION, Today". BroadwayWorld. Archived from the original on July 18, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  34. ^ "truTV Expands on Wildly Successful Franchise with "Impractical Jokers: Dinner Party"". The Futon Critic. May 13, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  35. ^ "TruTV Expands 'Impractical Jokers' Franchise, Renews 'The Misery Index' For Season 3, Adds 10 More Episodes Of 'Impractical Jokers: Dinner Party'". Deadline Hollywood. August 5, 2020. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
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  37. ^ "'Impractical Jokers' movie is filming: Behind-the-scenes photos, plot info". SILive.com. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  38. ^ Dickerson, Brad. "Portions of 'Impractical Jokers' movie filmed along Grand Strand". Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  39. ^ "TruTv's 'Impractical Jokers: The Movie' sets premiere Date, releases trailer". Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved December 19, 2019.

External links[edit]