By Stacey Harrison
Only best friends could humiliate each other so thoroughly.
That’s the thinking behind the new hidden-camera comedy series Impractical Jokers, which features four longtime bros who put each other through dares aimed at maximizing public humiliation. This is accomplished by sending each man out individually and having what he says and does be dictated to him by his cackling buddies, who are feeding him their demands through an earpiece. In trying to get customers at a White Castle counter to leave tips, that means having to be flirtatious, staying completely silent, or even saying everything in an Old English parlance. Or maybe you have to get random people to sign a petition — the topic of which you don’t know until you open up the envelope after the complete stranger has agreed to sign. The guy who comes in last after all the challenges must then undergo a supersized public humiliation as punishment.
“If there’s one thing friends know how to do, it’s push each other’s buttons,” says James “Murr” Murray, who makes up the gang along with Brian “Q” Quinn, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano. “These guys know everything about me for the past 20 years, and I know everything about them. So I know all their neuroses, all the things that drive them crazy, the things they will and won’t do, the things that drive them totally nuts.”
The guys met during their freshman year of high school in Staten Island, N.Y., and got back together after going their separate ways in college to form The Tenderloins comedy troupe. Their goal remains the same as it was back then — to make each other laugh.
“It’s always about embarrassing ourselves and each other,” he says. “The public is there to witness it and laugh at it — laugh at us — but it’s a lighthearted thing, friends screwing with each other. … It’s not mean-spirited.”
Impractical Jokers premieres Thursday, Dec. 15, at 10pm on truTV.
Photo: Credit: Jeremy Freeman