Impractical Jokers

Cheerful stupidity can be harder to master than it looks, which is about as strong an endorsement as there is for "Impractical Jokers," TruTV's latest stab at attracting the predominantly male "Jackass" crowd with utterly juvenile comedy.

With: Brian "Q" Quinn, James "Murr" Murray, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano.

Cheerful stupidity can be harder to master than it looks, which is about as strong an endorsement as there is for “Impractical Jokers,” TruTV’s latest stab at attracting the predominantly male “Jackass” crowd with utterly juvenile comedy. In a twist on a hidden-camera show, four guys try to top each other with ridiculous challenges, taking turns feeding one of the suffering pals outlandish things to say and do, then watching the silliness that ensues. If it’s not exactly festive, it is fitfully merry.

Each member of the quartet — Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano, a comedy troupe known as the Tenderloins — is alternately placed in a mundane setting, and the others, using a hidden earpiece, see what they can force him to do while he interacts with understandably baffled strangers and bystanders.

In one sequence, they try to get passers-by to sign bizarre petitions, such as one “to allow whites in the military” or for the “Public restroom masturbation act.” In others, they take turns behaving like morons while manning the counter at White Castle or a big-box store.

It is, essentially, “Candid Camera,” if Allen Funt were replaced by four immature frat boys. Fortunately, most of the gags — the notable exception being the last one, which involves fresh dog poop — are harmless enough, or at least the dudes are lucky not to encounter anyone who hauls off and slugs them.

There is something infectious, too, in how much the four players appear to be enjoying themselves, howling like lunatics at their friends’ discomfort.

Nobody will ever confuse “Impractical Jokers” with high art, certainly, but as low-brow, micro-cost comedy in the context of TruTV’s programming resources, it’s actually quite practical — and occasionally funny.

Next time, though, please hold (or rather, don’t hold) the poop.

Popular on Variety

Impractical Jokers

TruTV, Thurs. Dec. 15, 10 p.m.

Production: Produced by NorthSouth Prods. Executive producers, Charlie DeBevoise, Mark Hickman, Brian Quinn, James Murray, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, Dave Wechter; co-executive producers, Michael Addis, M. Blaine Hopkins; supervising producer, Steve Melcher; comedy producers, Lou Perez, Julia Young; director, P.J. Morrison. 30 MIN.

Cast: With: Brian "Q" Quinn, James "Murr" Murray, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano.

More TV

  • Sofia Wylie arrives at Variety's Power

    Disney Channel Enlists Duplass Brothers for YouTube Hip-Hop Dance Series Starring Sofia Wylie

    Disney Channel’s first original scripted series made exclusively for release on YouTube is “Shook,” a hip-hop dance short-form series starring Sofia Wylie, produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. “Shook” will debut Saturday, Sept. 28, on Disney Channel’s YouTube channel. The scripted single-camera show centers on 15-year-old Mia (Wylie), who yearns to dance professionally but [...]

  • Lena Dunham

    Lena Dunham Debuts Production Company, First-Look Deal With HBO

    “Girls” creator Lena Dunham has unveiled her new New York-based production company, Good Thing Going, which has a portfolio of projects that spans television, film, theater and podcasts, with an exclusive first-look deal with HBO. Good Thing Going produced with Bad Wolf the new HBO international-finance drama series “Industry,” for which Dunham directed the pilot. The [...]

  • Thomas Fick Hollywood Cares Vetarans DVDs

    How Project Hollywood Cares Uses Industry Screeners to Support the Troops

    As the Television Academy readies to do away with For Your Consideration screeners starting with next year’s Emmy season, a lot of ink has already been spilled hypothesizing on what will replace the mailers in order to ensure series get seen by the almost 25,000 voting members. But they are not the only ones who [...]

  • Yara Shahidi

    Audible Teams Up With Big Names as Audio-Only Storytelling Expands

    Hobnobbing with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Kate McKinnon and Yara Shahidi isn’t typically the gloss applied to the cerebral audiobook set, but Audible is putting the humble audio story through its own movie-makeover montage, inking high-profile development deals with entertainment names like “The Walking Dead” comics creator Skybound Entertainment, Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Lorne [...]

  • Barack Obama Michelle Obama

    Obamas Discuss Higher Ground Productions, 'American Factory' in New Clip (Watch)

    In a new clip released by Netflix, Barack and Michelle Obama discuss the reasons why they’re jumping into the story business with their Higher Ground production banner. The clip takes the form of a sit down between the former President and First Lady, and Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, the directors of “American Factory,” a [...]

  • Phyllis Nagy

    Writers Guild Candidate Phyllis Nagy Warns of Risks to Residuals (EXCLUSIVE)

    Phyllis Nagy, who is challenging Writers Guild of America West President David Goodman, has warned that guild leaders are endangering future residuals. Nagy, in a message posted Wednesday on her Writers Forward Together site, said residual payments are the most important issue the WGA faces during upcoming negotiations on a successor deal to the current master [...]

  • Kathleen FinchDiscovery Executive Session panel, TV

    Listen: Discovery's Kathleen Finch on How to Nurture Lifestyle Brands

    Kathleen Finch is a big believer in staying in your lane. Discovery’s chief lifestyle brands officer juggles a portfolio of 11 linear cable channels and their digital offshoots, from Food Network and HGTV to TLC and crime-centric Investigation Discovery. Many of Finch’s channels are defying the gravity of the moment in generating extremely high levels [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content