James Murray and Joe Gatto Talk Impractical Jokers Season Two!

When we tuned in last December for the series premiere of truTV’s Impractical Jokers, none of us knew what to expect from a show so outrageous. Now, as we all prepare to tune in for the premiere of Season 2 tonight, Thursday, December 13 at 10/9c (and another episode at 10:30/9:30c!), we still don’t know what to expect!

That’s part of what makes the show brilliant. The only thing we know for sure is that James Murray, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano and Brian “Q” Quinn, four life-long best friends, will make us laugh until we cry – or if we’re like Sal, fall over.

And you better believe the season premiere will!

Having screened the premiere three times already, I can tell you this: the laughs never get old. Chockfull of the same antics we love and expect from the Jokers, it also introduces some of the new aspects that are bound to make this season have challenges, punishments and vendettas that prove the funniest yet! And that’s pretty hard… because it was already funnier than everything else on TV.

In a Joker vs. Joker challenge of my own, I was lucky enough to speak with both Murr and Joe a few days ago to get the scoop on the new season and more. (Spoiler alert: Sal and Q lost this challenge.)

Considering I talked to Murr just before he got to punish Sal and I chatted with Joe on the last day of filming for Season 2 when he would get to punish both Murr and Q, both were in the highest of spirits and sitting pretty (for now). They’ve been filming Season 2 for five or six days a week for the past six months, with filming wrapping last Friday, December 7, so they were more than ready to share some stories.

The second season kicks off with a team challenge – something we’ll be getting more of this season. As Murr explained, they rotate partners so that by the end of the season, we’ll have seen every combination of teams possible. With team challenges that will include teaching a sensitivity workshop, working as advertising executives and financial advisors, they both saw the good and bad in working with someone rather than against someone.

“I’ll tell you why I love it. It’s good and it’s bad, here’s why… It’s good because you go up there, you feel like you have one of your best friends supporting you, but the bad part about it is we set each other off.” Murr began. “So, if Sal starts to laugh, I start to laugh. Or if my teammate is Joe and he starts to crumble, I start to crumble.”

“We did a challenge yesterday where it was Joe and I versus Sal and Q in teams,” Murr continued, “and Joe started to – his eyes started to water when he was up there with me and it set me off and I just lost it! I literally started crying with laughter in front of the whole audience,” he laughed.

Joe had similar feelings on the matter – even divulging his (least) desired partner.

“It’s fun. It’s a good dynamic that we’ve really embraced, which is cool. I really like the fact that you’re not out there by yourself, but at the same time, it’s two minds against you at the same time,” Joe laughed. “So it’s like a double edged sword, you know?”

“Sometimes, like, if you’re teamed up with Sal, you’re already in more trouble. The guy’s useless.” Joe laughed again. “He’s not going to help you, he’ll just leave you out there by yourself. If you’re with Murray, you’re at a little bit better of an angle and then, Q, you can dump a lot of stuff on him and he’ll be able to handle it so that helps, too. So I guess my least favorite teammate, if I had to say, would be Sal,” Joe willingly confessed. “You’ll probably see why in the season premiere.”

 

But the challenges won’t be the only time we see a Jokers duo. In the season premiere, we’ll get the first ever two-way punishment. And it is the type of public humiliation that you will not want to miss! Let’s just say, we’ll get to see a new side of some of the Jokers. It’s a punishment that undoubtedly raises the stakes.

“The punishments this season have been insane!” Murr admitted.

“What I liked this season is we really got personal with our punishments. We really dug in and made it a little bit more personal which is a lot of fun,” Joe elaborated, “so that’s one of the things I’m excited about that people are going to see us mess with each other in a real, fun way”

And there’s no question these punishments have become payback for what one Joker has put the other through. While Murr explained “you’re so excited about the idea you came up with that’s going to horrify the other Joker that you don’t think about the ramifications,” it was clear the punishments leave a taste for revenge.

“I am about a half hour away from getting even with Sal. He’s about to get punished,” Murr laughed, “He’s going to die. He has no clue what we’re doing to him and he’s going to die when he walks in and sees what we have in store.”

“I get nervous when it’s my turn to get punished because we’ve all gotten pretty good punishments. And they got me really good this season with one, I think that’s one of the times when I was a sweating little bit,” Joe confessed with a laugh.

While Joe told us last time that he likes to think about how he can get the others back while they are trying to get him, he did admit they were successful a few times.

“This season,” Joe started, “This season, they do [get me] a couple of times, but more times than not I’m able to come out on top,” he spoke proudly.

“You know, they actually got really frustrated this season at one point. They threw a big, big curveball at me and I was able to knock it out of the park so it was okay, I didn’t end up losing the challenge, so you’ll see that later this season. But they actually, it was funny, because this season it became a thing where the three of them were like, ‘we’re going to get him!’ and I’m like, ‘guys, we’re still friends! Where’s the love?’” Joe laughed.

While we continue to get to know the Jokers quirks and eccentricities better through the challenges and those in-between segments where Murr notes “they’ll make fun of me plenty of times in those!”, it’s clear the Jokers have gotten even better at knowing what makes each other tick, too.

“There is nothing second nature about the show. It’s never easy. You know, people are like ‘Oh, it must be easy now! You can just go out there and do anything!’ It’s not!” Murr laughed. “You’ll see in this season, we’re as terrified as we’ve ever been, if not more so, because we’ve gotten better at embarrassing each other and I think this season we get much more personal.” He echoed Joe’s sentiment.

“You know, so in the season premiere, you’re going to see some family members of the Jokers that we secretly worked into the episode. Q’s parents make a return visit to the show in episode 2. So I think we’ve gotten, we’ve just gotten better at the torture.” He laughed again.

While it never gets easy, it’s clear they’ve been able to keep it together. “I think I just wake up every morning with the same attitude. I’m like, ‘Okay, it’s me against the world, let’s see what happens.’” Joe laughed. “But, yeah, I mean, my personality – and I think you get to see it on the show – is just that if I’m given a challenge, I’ll go after it, and given the opportunity to mess with one of my friends or make them cringe, I will definitely make it happen.”

And there will certainly be a lot of that this season.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done this season,” Joe elaborated, “I think we’ve got a lot of stuff we’ve expanded on to give the show more – I think it’s got several different things… Like, there’s new types of challenges, it’s not just put an earpiece in and do what you’re told. We’ve come up with fun mechanisms to really mess with each other, like the Wheel of Doom is one that we’re really excited about. It’s basically our version of Wheel of Misfortune where you spin the wheel and have to do what it tells you,” he laughed. “So it’s a fun way to see each other get at it.”

“We also boiled it down to its bare essence a lot of times,” Joe revealed. “We said, let’s go [somewhere and interact with strangers]. Let’s see how that goes. We’ve done stuff as simple as that, as well, so it’s a lot of fun and there’s a lot for fans and people who watch the show to relate to, I think, and a lot of opportunities for them to see us doing what we do best, which is just having fun messing with each other and the general public.”

Another thing the Jokers do best is interact with their fans. While they’ve been doing the comedy stuff for years, the explosion of popularity from the show hasn’t changed them a bit. They continue to go above and beyond when it comes to their very proud, loyal and growing fan base. The launch of the brand new Impractical Jokers app only further proves that.

Not only can you listen to your favorite catch phrases or watch your favorite challenges, but you can dial the Jokers hotline. Every day, they record a new message and, even cooler, there’s a chance one of the four Jokers will answer instead!

When I caught up with Murr, it was mere hours after the app had launched and his excitement was contagious. “How exciting is that? You’ll see the commercials for it in a few days on TV and it’s really crazy. truTV did such an amazing, amazing job with the app. It’s great! I mean, I’ve never seen an app in my life that lets you call somebody on TV. I mean, how cool is that? And you might actually get us!”

Plenty of fans already have! In fact, Murr called in for our chat on his special truTV phone and in the middle of the interview, his phone died. What else to attribute it to but all of the calls he was taking on the hotline?

“All four of us were taking calls at midnight. In the past ten hours, I’ve probably talked to 50 or 60 fans already,” he explained. “Whenever they call, they’re just like in shock. It’s like, a moment of silence when I saw ‘Hello!’ or I’ll say ‘Ray Ray’s Pizza!’ or whatever I say when they pick up, and there’s like silence and then they realize they’ve got one of us live and they freak out and start screaming,” he laughed, “and it’s just a lot of fun. I love it! The app is really fun.”

“The phone literally just never stops ringing which is cool! I love that that many people are watching the show and are enjoying the app,” he noted.

 

Joe’s excitement the next day was similarly contagious. “How awesome is that thing?” He asked. “I was up all night talking to fans.”

“I mean, this is the first thing of its kind. It’s absolutely amazing,” he continued, “And a big thing for me is that, you know how much I love our fans, and I take pride in the fact that we are accessible and stuff because I’ve been fans of people my whole life. You know, being a comedy guy growing up, there’s been plenty of people, so I think accessibility is a big difference.”

“Being out there to inspire people to go after it or just to take a second to listen to them tell you about how your comedy has impacted their life is very important,” Joe spoke very genuinely. “Without people watching, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.”

And sometimes what he’s doing is listening to himself on the Soundboard Smorgasboard. While he knows he has “the golden bullet” with “Larry!”, he does acknowledge that “Sal has a couple of good sounds. That’s one of my favorite parts,” he continued. “I flipped [the app] around when we were all together, we just actually opened it up the other day and were playing it in the office. We were like, ‘That’s me!’ I can just say ‘Larry!’” he laughed.

“That thing blows my mind. All the opportunities that the show has brought to us, you know, what are the odds? I never thought it would get to where it is and now we’re having a lot of fun with the season and I really, really hope everyone enjoys it,” he finished.

I don’t think Joe has to worry much about that. With the season premiere alone, fans are going to be left doubled over in laughter and counting down the days until the next episode.

Every chance I get to catch up with the Jokers leads to a priceless conversation. Don’t forget to download the Impractical Jokers App and you could have a chat with them of your own!

These guys are the real deal. They make us laugh, the make us cry (from laughter) and they genuinely love every single one of their fans. There are good programs on TV, but it’s rare to find one that makes you feel like a part of something. The Jokers and their fans are family and if you can’t laugh with (or at!) family, well, who can you?

Don’t miss a single minute of this highly anticipated second season or you’ll have a big Jokers family sending Santiago after you… besides, why wouldn’t you want to laugh? Tune in tonight, Thursday, December 13 at 10/9c and 10:30/9:30c on truTV for TWO back-to-back new episodes! We’re kicking the second season off right!

 

“Yeah, I’m still charming with the belly out.
There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t battle that.”
Joe Gatto

 

For more stories and antics from the past year, be sure to check out
our special Year in Review with Murr and Joe!

Impractical Jokers airs Thursdays at 10/9c on truTV.

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