Wednesday, 18 December 2013

TV: Impractical Jokers

"Warning: The following program contains scenes of graphic stupidity among four lifelong friends who compete to embarrass each other."

Whichever Joker gets the most fails is that week's loser
and has to suffer the end of show punishment.
That's the cautionary note that precedes every episode of Impractical Jokers and at its most basic level that's what the show is all about; four friends trying to embarrass each other.  What the warning doesn't mention though, is just how funny Impractical Jokers is.

I got into Impractical Jokers more and more as the first season progressed and I think it definitely helps the humour once you get to know the personalities of the four jokers.  Once I was hooked, some of the episodes had me absolutely crying my eyes out with laughter and in fact on one occasion I was literally laughing so much that I had a sore throat.

In some ways Impractical Jokers is very loosely similar to other shows before it in that it follows the hidden camera prank show format, but what sets it apart is that this time the joke is on the presenters, rather than the public.  The format has four friends competing against each other in various challenges where they each have to perform an outlandish task set by the other three.  If you wimp out and don't do what you're told, or if you fail to achieve the goal of the challenge then you get a fail, and whoever ends the show with the most fails must then perform an embarrassing or humiliating act as a punishment.

There's a great bond between the four jokers but that doesn't stop them from going all out to embarrass each other and in fact the friendship between the jokers only seems to make them more determined to set each other impossible and generally extremely funny tasks.  For example when handing out free samples on a cheese counter in a supermarket, Sal has to ask shoppers a survey which starts off innocently enough with questions such as "Do you use cheese as a snack often?"

Murray manages to pull off a seemingly impossible task.
The other jokers then quickly crank up the embarrassment factor as the survey soon progresses to less conventional questions such as "Where do you get all that booty from?"  To be fair, the customer is a good sport and replies, "From my mama," but he's even more surprised when Sal then has to ask, "I want to treat you right.  Will you let me treat you right?"  After a few moments of total confusion the dude taking the cheese survey shrugs and replies, "I guess so."

Another strength of the show is that the jokers compliment each other so well.  They're all on a similar wavelength humour-wise, but they also each bring something different to the party.  Murray has his 'foolproof' plans and his over-the-top elaborate back-stories which he dreams up to help him accomplish some of the tasks, Joe has basically got no shame whatsoever and will pretty much do anything in the pursuit of laughter no matter how embarrassing, Sal is unable to keep a straight face and often breaks down in fits of contagious laughter, and Q has, em ... his hats.  (Only joking ... Q with his laidback attitude is just as brilliant as the other jokers.)

The only worry with Impractical Jokers is that as the show continues to become more and more popular, the Jokers are inevitably going to be recognised more often which might detract from the hilarity of some of the genuine reactions from the public, so in a way a part of me hopes it doesn't become too popular.  But the good news is that for now there are already three seasons' worth of excellent episodes to watch which will have you crying with laughter.

Impractical Jokers has developed a rapidly growing following in the US, so if you're a UK fan of daft but brilliant comedy and you're yet to discover the genius of Impractical Jokers then I can't recommend it highly enough.

If you've never seen Impractical Jokers before then you can check out a few clips on the TruTV website, or if you're already a big fan then there are also a few deleted scenes to watch:
Impractical Jokers on TruTV

You can follow Impractical Jokers on twitter:

And each joker also has his own twitter account:

Worthy Of A Bigger Audience is also on twitter:

Please note, all promotional images used on this blog remain the copyright of the respective artists/publishers and are used in accordance with 'Fair Use' legislation for review purposes.

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