This one got away from me.
The cast of the television show Impractical Jokers (Sal Volcano, Joe Gatto, Brian ‘Q’ Quinn and James ‘Murr’ Murray) were in London for their first ever live UK performances and Den of Geek had managed to grab a little time with them ahead of the shows. In our excitement over what we expected would be a fun interview we had failed to consider the possible difficulties.
It turns out that interviewing four comedians at the same time is hard work. Typing up my recording afterwards was like trying to transcribe a riot. If a regular interview is like fishing (it’s not) then interviewing the Impractical Jokers was like attempting to lasso four octopuses with the same piece of rope.
Obviously, I had an absolute blast.
Here’s how our chat with the cast of Impractical Jokers went. Warning: some swearing.
So, you guys have been running for a few years with the TV show, but it’s only been shown in the UK for maybe a year. Did it surprise you how quickly the UK shows sold out? Because they went in seconds.
Joe: Well, we knew through social media how the show was doing here because we would see tweets of old episodes and people would be like “Oh my god, I can’t believe you did that.” And we would be like “Oh, what is showing over there?” It was a nice trip down memory lane. We got a really good fan base really quick, so we’re happy with it.
Sal: I don’t know. We said this earlier, we didn’t know if the show would translate, exactly. There’s a lot of universal things that happen in the show. But I think it’s safe to say that British comedy and television has a different sensibility, possibly, than American. So to be this popular here has shocked me. And then I guess you’re mentioning the live show?
Sal: We couldn’t believe how fast it sold out.
Murr: We’re actually doing a much larger UK tour in January. We’re doing arenas. We’re doing venues like the arena at the O2, which is gonna be great.
Wow. Normally it’s like 20,000 in there, right?
Murr: Yeah, something like that.
Sal: Is it really?
Joe: We’re selling 15 tickets, so it’s the first 15 people that show up.
Q: Yeah, it’s one row. But they have ways they can block off the top.
Sal: So then what is the maximum capacity at O2?
Q: I thought 17 (thousand).
I’ve seen stuff there and I think it may be more, but I don’t know so I’d tell you and it’d probably be wrong.
Murr: We’re also charging $10,000 a ticket.
When you’re coming up with your sketches or set-ups for the show, obviously you want what’s going to be funniest or get the most interesting responses, but how early in do you have to take into account the technical elements? So, whether you can get audio, whether you can get an image that’s of a broadcastable quality.
Q: We’re very lucky in that we have a production team that’s been with us since almost the beginning that are so good at their job that we don’t ever have to worry about anything like that. They handle it.
Murr: But we think about it all the time. Right?
Q: I never think about it. That’s why we have Dave Scarborough (cinematographer and various other roles).
Murr: But Joe thinks about it all the time.
Q: That’s why he has Dave Scarborough.
Sal: You start to learn when you’re writing. Like, if you were writing a movie and just had a million explosion scenes, you dial it back a little. There’s certain things we’ll know right away. If we want to film in a nightclub, we know music’s going to be an issue, because we have to have the rights to it, and then it can’t be really loud because we have to talk over it. So stuff like that we kind of have built into us. But our crew definitely finds a way if we really want something to happen.
Q: (to Sal) Hey, you said it at Seńor Frog’s the other day. You were like “What are we gonna do about this music?” and Daniel Cast (assistant director) was like “It’s our music, baby!” It’s pretty good. They’re on top of it. We have the greatest crew.
Murr: It does limit us in some ways. Like, we’ve toyed around with going up and ringing people’s doorbells. But how do you get the reverse point of view? You can’t set up hidden cameras in somebody else’s house.
Joe: I will say that the Go Pro has changed things, now that they’re HD and we’re able to air it. It’s really enhanced our show. If you look at the angles we’re able to get now. On set, our director Dave Scarborough has a bag of Go Pros. At the end, those’ll be the last cameras we’ll put up and we’ll talk about where we could get them. But you get some really good, interesting angles with the Go Pros.
Logistically (turns to Sal), and I apologise for bringing up what is probably a bad memory for you, but how difficult to organise was the wedding? (As a punishment for Sal, Murr legally married Sal’s sister)
Murr: The wedding was the biggest secret we ever held on the show. It was months.
Joe: At that time.
Murr: At that time. There’s been bigger since.
Joe: There were so many people involved in it, I think was the big thing. It took about two months to plan, where we were getting all the ducks in a row. And then just to corral people, because we had to create an audience at the church.