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The way pranks on TV mostly work is for unsuspecting members of the public to be used as victims. That is not the way with Impractical Jokers. The American hidden camera reality show makes victims of four lifelong friends and comedians who are competing to embarrass each other in public with outrageous and humorous dares.
It features four members of a comedy troupe known as “The Tenderloins”; Joe (), Murr (), Q (), and Sal (). Since the comedy series began in 2011, these friends have done every crazy thing in the book of the crazies, from playing in a band even with no talent to asking people to support charities that don’t exist.
The comedy series is aired in different parts of the world including the United States, UK, Ireland, India, and much more.
Who Are The Impractical Jokers?
Impractical Jokers began when four High School friends who all attended Farrell High School in Staten Island, New York City, came together and formed a comedy troupe in 1999, choosing to be known as “The Tenderloins”.
The Tenderloins began in 1999 with four friends, James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Gideon Horowitz, and Mike Boccio. In 2000, Joe Gatto joined the troupe and in 2001, Horowitz became the first member to leave the troupe. In 2005, Boccio left and was replaced in 2006 by Bruan Quinn. Since then, it has remained without anyone joining or leaving. It is the last 4 members of the troupe that later joined to be a part of the Impractical Jokers.
As a group of comedians, they have participated in various comedy show competitions within the US, winning NBC’s “Its Your Show” competition Grand Prize of $100,000. With this, they went into television production. In 2008, they made a pilot episode for a scripted Sitcom for SpikeTV but the show did not make it to the series.
Not relenting, they continued pursuing their career until April 2011 when TruTv made an announcement to premiere the series “Impractical Jokers” which was initially named “Mission: Uncomfortable”. Quinn and Sal were key to securing the deal as they recorded the pilot episode of the show on their iPhone and pitched the idea to TruTv which saw it as an opportunity and immediately approved it.
Since the comedy series began to air in 2011, they have produced and aired seven seasons with each season having a particular number of episodes from 16 to 31. Members of Impractical Jokers are:
1. Brian Quinn
Brian Michael Quinn was born on the 14th of March, 1976 in Staten Island, New York City. He was a student at Monsignor Farrell High School, where he participated in various drama and sporting activities.
He also attended Brooklyn College and later became a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department. All these were before he took a decision to pursue a career in comedy. In the world of comedy, he is nicknamed “Q”. He also features in SModcast.com podcast “Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave!” as the third host.
Apart from being a comedian, he is also an actor. His first role was in 1996 when he played a soldier in the movie Warshots. He was also in other productions like Dogma, Big Helium Dog, and Vulgar, all in 1999. Q has written a dark urban fantasy graphic novel, Metro together with Walt Flanagan and Cullen Bunn. For the book, he realized over $128 thousand on Kickstarter.
2. James “Murr” Murray
He was born James Stephen Murray on May 1st, 1976 in Staten Island, New York City. He also attended Monsignor Farrell High School, where he fully participated in the community theater activities. He went further with his education and bagged a BA in English from Georgetown University. And from there, he ventured into film and TV productions.
He started work at Northsouth Productions, where he became the Senior Vice President of Development. As TV savvy producer, he released a science-fiction and horror book “Awakened”, together with Darren Wearmouth as co-writer in 2018. However, a sequel “The Brook” will be released this year 2019.
The improvisational comedian got married to Sal’s sister, legally as just another prank and revenge on Sal in 2014. The marriage was annulled on the honeymoon night, even though the marriage had their family members in attendance.
3. Sal Vulcano
Salvatore Vulcano was born Salvatore Edward Anthony Vulcano on November 6, 1976, in Staten Island, New York City. He also attended Monsignor Farrell High School. Sal participated in various sporting activities such as football, hockey, and basketball. He bagged a degree in Finance from St. John’s University in New York and graduated in 1998.
One would have thought that Sal being a graduate of finance would end up in an office as a financial analyst or consultant, but instead, he opted for comedy. Asides being a comedian, he is also an author. He wrote the book “Impractical Jokers” which is about the comedy show itself. It was co-written by the other three fellow comedians. Even before comedy, he worked as a pizza delivery man and then as a bartender.
Of Italian, Cuban, and Puerto Rican descent, he has also acted in a number of movies including the 1998 movie Damned!, Just Another Romantic Wrestling Comedy (2006), Bones (2015), and 12 Monkeys (2017).
4. Joe Gatto
He was born Joseph Anthony Tattoo Jr. on the 5th of June, 1976 in Staten Island, New York. Just like his friends and fellow comedians, he attended Monsignor Farrell High School and later bagged a degree in Accounting from Long Island Post University in Brookville, New York.
After founding the comedy troupe with his friends in 1999, Gatto worked at Giggle – a retail baby store. He is the only married member of the troupe. He met Bessy in 2012 and married her in 2013. They are blessed with two children – Milana Francine Gatto and Remington Joseph Gatto.
After seven seasons and 177 episodes as well as 29 specials, Impractical Jokers has not only sustained for a long time, but it has also been very successful. When it premiered in 2011, the show got over 1.5 million viewers and it has continued to enjoy massive followership.
With the success of the show, the question that remains is as regards what the cast members earn.
The exact earnings of each member of the troupe are not yet known. But, they disclosed that each one of them is paid according to their tasks and roles. Also, the value of their deal with truTV which renewed the deal into the eight seasons of the show is not known.
However, a rough estimation of their net worth shows that they each run into the millions which they got from their highly popular show. Individually, James Murray has a net worth of $5 million which he mostly made from his performance in the show and Sal Vulcano also has the same net worth of $5 million.
Like others, Brian Quinn has a net worth $5 million, most of which he made from Impractical Jokers. The comedian, actor, and producer has also made his fortune from other things such as the weekly podcast, Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave! On his part, Joseph Gatto has a net worth that is estimated at $5 million. In the same way as all others, he made his fortune from the comedy show as well as other engagements including his appearances in films.
Is It Fake Or Staged?
Impractical Jokers just like many other prank shows depends on hidden camera so that people get to believe everything is happening in real life. There are various hidden cameras following the four friends as they challenge each other to do crazy things in public to unsuspecting members of the public.
However, like any other reality show, there have been speculations regarding the originality of the comedy show. Fans and critics alike have given varying degrees of opinions regarding the show in terms of if it is fake, staged, or real.
However, members of the troupe have disagreed with those who claim that the show is staged. Quinn replying to such accusations in a 2018 Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread stated categorically that they sometimes use actors even though the actors don’t get to know that they are in the show for a purpose. The basis for the production of the comedy show is to perform very confusing and perplexing acts in the public’s eye for the sake of getting the funniest footage.
According to Sal, the golden rule of the show is to have everything real because what they want to achieve is an authentic reaction from everyone including themselves as cast members.
While they argue that everything is real, the Impractical Jokers reveal that they sometimes write their jokes beforehand with a lot of other things being improvised. Also, they reveal that all their surprises are real as they always try to keep everything away from each other.
That said, there are still some aspects of the show that still make one believe that some parts are staged with some conspiracy theorists claiming they have proofs that the show is fake. But then, considering the number of seasons it has lasted, it has attained some level of credence that one may easily believe it is real and not fake.