Submitted by Matt Rodriguez on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 12:54PM
Comedy prank show Impractical Jokers became a hit when it debuted last year on truTV. About to begin its second season, the show follows improv comedy group The Tenderloins as they prank unsuspecting people with outrageous challenges. Comedian and Tenderloins member Joe Gatto spoke with Shakefire about the upcoming season and his time spent on the show.
Shakefire: What’s been your favorite challenge so far?
Joe Gatto: I mean, all of them are kinda hard to do. I’ve had some favorite stuff that I’ve done. I’ve enjoyed when we able to work at White Castle. That was a lot of fun. The people there were interesting and there were a lot of fun things that happened.
There was a staring contest between Q and this guy that basically stood there. The real time that went by was 11 minutes. We had to cut it down for the TV show but Q actually took money from a customer and we told him to freeze before he gave him his change and the customer stood there in silence looking at Q and looking around trying to figure out what’s going on for a full 11 minutes! On the TV show it’s cut down to about a minute but in real life we were flipping out.
That was a lot of fun, and I also like the buffet bit where I steal food off other people’s plate. We had to serve ourselves our buffet but from other people’s plate and not using the buffet itself. I ended up doing a little “skebabobapow!” My approach was to confuse people, like maybe if they heard a weird noise they wouldn’t realize I was stealing food off their plate.
I think we’ve outdone ourselves this season, though. There’s a lot of good stuff coming up.
SF: You’ve actually done a lot of skits with White Castle. How did they come on board with the show? Were they ever worried about their brand image?
JG: They were a little worried, yes. White Castle’s pretty much a really fun brand. We’ve had a blast working with them and they’ve got pretty fun vision, you know. I mean, they have the Harold and Kumar movies so they’re a little bit out there as it is.
Most companies are worried when it’s a “prank show” because they’re afraid the customers will get upset but our show is the inverted prank show where we’re just making people confused by the antics we’re doing in front of them. We’re really embarrassing ourselves so once they saw how the show worked, they were fine with it and really had a good time. Actually, their vice president came down from Ohio, or wherever their headquarters are, and hung out in the White Castle when we did our first challenge and had a blast and they welcomed us back with open arms.
SF: Is there anything you guys won’t do?
JG: Uh, yeah. I think we all have our own limits in each way. We haven’t come up with a challenge yet. I mean, there is some stuff that we thought would be really out there to do and takes a little bit more to produce so hopefully by season 3 we’ll be able to do then.
Each guy has their own buttons so you’ll notice in the challenges people will say no to certain things. I think each guy has a hot button or an area they’ll shy away from.
SF: Have you guys ever thought about inviting guest comedians on the show before?
JG: Yeah, it’s been one of the ideas to bring celebs on or stuff like that. Our show’s really about the group dynamic, though. We’ve been friends for 22 years. We know each other’s buttons. That’s part of the magic of the show.
We are doing something with Kellogg’s which is going to be fun. We’re doing the 5th Joker Challenge and that’s going to be a lot of fun. As far as doing challenge I think that’ll work but as far as a fifth Joker full time I don’t know if that’ll necessarily work. The dynamic is really the magic of our show.
SF: There’s now a British version of the show. Have you seen their take on your work?
JG: Yeah, there’s more than the British. I think we’re on in about 12 different countries now. The format of our show has been sold with new people trying it. It’s been really, really cool and humbling at the same time. The idea was the four of us trying to make each other laugh for a living, but now to have the impact all over the world is something we’re very fortunate to have.
SF: Anything else you’d like to tell us about the upcoming season of Impractical Jokers?
JG: I think this season is going to be a lot of fan favorite moments. We’ve really done a lot of stuff that people will react to and enjoy watching. We’re so fortunate to have such a good fan base and the way social media is now we can talk to fans directly so we’ve been fielding calls from fans over the past couple of days. It’s been really awesome. That’s the best part of the show; we’re able to make the world laugh and share our comedy and meet a really cool fan base along the way.
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