Schön! has a laugh with the stars of hit com­edy show Im­prac­ti­cal Jok­ers.

Schon! - - On Skype With ... James Murray - In­ter­view / Sheri Chiu Photography / Ni­co­las Guérin

other. We are best friends; we’ve known each other for 25 years. We know ev­ery­thing about each other. That’s re­ally where all our chal­lenges start from. How can we come up with an idea that will screw with Sal the best or Q or Joe? Also, a lot of what we do is to spin so­cial norms on their head a lit­tle bit.

What are some of the chal­lenges of work­ing in a group?

Part of the chal­lenge is that ev­ery­thing is up to a demo­cratic vote. The prob­lem is that I’m al­ways right. Some­times, when I get out­voted, it makes for a re­ally hard day. Peo­ple ask us if we fight. Yes, of course we fight all the time. That’s what best friends do. As soon as we’re done with the fight, we say, “Do you want to get some din­ner? Do you want to see the new X-Men movie?” It’s like ar­gu­ing with fam­ily; you get over it quickly. I think it’s our strength and our weak­ness. We know too much about each other.

What is the Ten­der­loins?

phi­los­o­phy

be­hind The

Laugh­ter first, Chicken Parme­san sec­ond. That is al­ways what we go by in the show. Funny trumps all. So if some­thing is funny, we do it, and we fig­ure out how to make it part of the TV show af­ter­wards. But then Chicken Parm is a very close sec­ond to that. Get­ting some good Chicken Parm in your mouth is just un­beat­able.

What is an im­prac­ti­cal joke that you would love to try but haven’t done yet?

I would love to do the Su­per­bowl in some way. I would love to fig­ure out any kind of way to do a chal­lenge at a fu­neral, but I don’t know how to do it. We wanted to do a wed­ding for a long time and we fi­nally got to do it last year. We forced Sal to give a best man speech at a wed­ding but no one [there] knew who he was. He just got up there and did it. We wrote the speech for him. It was re­ally em­bar­rass­ing. We had some very an­gry wed­ding guests star­ing at him.

What is the public’s gen­eral re­ac­tion?

Most peo­ple re­act be­mused or they are a lit­tle bit con­fused by what we’re do­ing. That’s ex­actly the re­ac­tion we want. The jokes are never at their ex­pense. We were all raised to be gen­tle­men. That’s the hook of the show: it’s not see­ing what we do, but it’s see­ing what we won’t do. That’s what’s funny to me. What were some mo­ments in your ca­reer that you felt you were help­ing some­one?

A few months ago, there were two teenagers in New Jer­sey. One of the kids started chok­ing on pizza and his best friend gave him the Heim­lich. When re­porters asked the kid how he learned to do [it], he quoted “I learned it from Im­prac­ti­cal Jok­ers.” In Sea­son 1, we did a health chal­lenge where we were teach­ing first aid. Joe started do­ing the Heim­lich. It was a ridicu­lous scene and he made a joke out of it, but the kid saved his best friend’s life by watch­ing the show. He got to meet the mayor in Manala­pan. The kids will come to set this sea­son to meet us. When it came onto our radar, we were like “holy cow!” It was re­ally thrilling.

You know what else is cool? The guys and I tour al­most ev­ery week­end. We travel all over the coun­try. When you film a hid­den cam­era TV show, you don’t have any idea how it af­fects peo­ple be­cause you’re be­hind the scenes all the time, hid­ing. When we do the live shows, it’s like a rock con­cert, see­ing 3,000 scream­ing fans. You see how the show af­fects them. They love it, they quote it, and they have signs and T-shirts made. It’s not lost on us on how amaz­ing our job is and how amaz­ing our fans are.

Who is your au­di­ence?

It’s ac­tu­ally changed! We thought we were cre­at­ing a show for guys our age. Very quickly, there were more fe­male view­ers than male. As the show con­tin­ued, our fans got younger and younger. The coolest thing for us is how we have three gen­er­a­tions of fam­ily mem­bers watch­ing. They all come to our live shows and say it’s the only show the whole fam­ily agrees on. That re­ally blew our mind.

Do you have a fam­ily your­self ?

Joe is the only one who is mar­ried and he has a baby on the way. The rest of us are the def­i­ni­tion of Ar­rested Devel­op­ment.

What does hap­pi­ness mean to you?

Get­ting to do what you love and living ev­ery­day like it could be your last.

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