Practically Impractical

So here’s the premise: A group of guys who are very close and demonstrably loyal to each other set out to fool the American public with inside jokes and pranks designed to embarrass their innocent victims, and humiliate each other in the process.

But enough about Congress…

If you haven’t heard of or seen the Impractical Jokers at this point in our pop culture existence, you might have been living in a cave or watching too much fake news programs. Four “gentlemen” buddies from Staten Island formed a comedy improv group called the Tenderloins and began a series of live stunts and sketches that quickly went viral and spawned a now infamous TV series on the TruTV network.

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. Here is where it differs and takes the genre to new heights: Before every challenge, the Jokers explain where they are, what the challenge is, and what will happen if they fail. Often (but not always) there is an ear piece placed on the cast member performing the prank while the others have a mic in a covert location. There are also hidden cameras near the area to capture the action. 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 or jokers with the most thumbs down is punished, and the punishments are usually more embarrassing, humiliating, disgusting, painful or scary than any of the challenges. Punishments cannot be refused, or the joker is off the show. The show differs from other prank television programs as the stars of Impractical Jokers do not know the details of the prank until the moment they are performing it on strangers.

The cast members are: Joseph “Joe” Gatto, James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn, and Salvatore “Sal” Vulcano, four graduates of Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island, who garnered success and a few coins in their pockets when, after seven years of doing improv sketches, they won the $100,000 grand prize on NBC’s “It’s Your Show” competition. That led to a pilot episode of the now appropriately titled show and the rest is history.

With the success and massive following they have achieved as a result of their stellar ratings (averaging 1.5 million viewers), they have returned to their roots as a touring improv and sketch troupe. Seeing them live, which I have, and seeing them on TV are two different animals. The live version is much more ferocious and dangerous, which makes it all that much more fun.

The boys will be bringing their insane antics to New Jersey this month when they appear at the Events Center at the Borgata in Atlantic City. Over two nights they will be cajoling and conjuring, tempting and teasing, shocking and surprising, and ultimately providing a night of live entertainment that will reverberate with the lucky and potentially targeted audience members for many moons to come.

Do yourself a favor. When the fake news and TV reruns get you down, tune in, turn on, and laugh out loud to this quirky quartet, in TV, but better in person. eNJoy.

Thursday & Friday August 17-18
Events Center Borgata Atlantic City

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