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