Hidden camera comedy shows have been a massive hit with audiences ever since Candid Camera pioneered the concept in the late 1940s in the States.
rian Quinn, James Murray, Sal Vulcano and Joe Gatto are best friends who grew up together in New York’s Staten Island. In recent years, viewing figures for their Comedy Central series Impractical Jokers have gone through the roof, making the show an astonishing phenomenon.
Nine thousand tickets for their first Irish live show have sold out in a flash, and four London arena shows last week were the biggest shows they’ve done yet. Their appeal is obvious, as this is laid-back, wisecracking New York humour at its sharpest and stupidest. While these jokers are often incredibly puerile, and spend large chunks of the show unmercifully mocking each other’s appearance, it is undeniably effective and keeps the audience in stitches for most of the night.
The format is simple. They perform simultaneously as a quartet of comedians. Clips from their blockbuster TV show are shown on the big screen, but this is mostly all about the troupe rambling and riling each other live.
Murray and Quinn flaunt their Irish heritage to ingratiate themselves with the locals. Quinn is later put down with the knockout line, “You look like Jack Black left in the microwave.” The funniest moments are from footage of a “creep off” that sees them try to outdo each other in being creepy in a public park, such as dressing up as Willy Wonka offering strangers candy.
In a world gone completely mad and in dire need of a good belly laugh, the Impractical Jokers' irreverence and old-fashioned sense of cheeky fun is a real breath of fresh and funny air.