Review by Rob:
The Impractical Jokers TV show is the biggest thing TruTV has and is wildly popular. Four lifelong friends (Sal, Joe, James, and Brian) from Staten Island surprise and set-up unsuspecting strangers and each other in prank after prank, recorded on the sly. The power of the show is the endearing personalities of each of the four guys and their collective chemistry. The show is very funny and, as a result of a lot of people questioning the validity of the program, launched a “behind-the-scenes,” version of the program that answered a lot of questions about how they pull off the stunts we see. Years ago, the four guys actually were discovered as a result of their stage show under the name “The Tenderloins,” so going back out on tour is them returning to their roots. And God, do I wish they wouldn’t have.
The Impractical Jokers stage show is the furthest thing from improv you can get. In fact, it’s so over-written, over-prepared, and over-choreographed, that they actually try to work in some seeming improv, only to execute it so poorly that it is so transparently set-up, that it’s painful. And what’s more painful is this; great stand-up comedians write their acts and do the same stuff over and over again…I get it…there’s two differences here. First of all, the Jokers’ entire appeal is what we’re supposed to believe is their ability to improv and execute on the fly. Secondly, if you’re going to present a cookie-cutter “we did this same show every night for the last 3 months,” show to me, then at least make it funny. Like make me chuckle or smile, neither of which I did, nor did much of the 3,500 seat auditorium. Many fans were so awestruck, they would have laughed at any noise that came out of the Jokers’ mouths. But many more were squirming silently very early on, and a few muttered “can’t blame you,” as we walked out early.
My wife and I were huge fans of the show and the disappointment in this event can’t be overstated. Notice I said we “were,” fans of the show. This stage performance was so bad, that we immediately began identifying what really happens when they’re filming the TV show, and what we really see in the final product. They have amazing editors, and clearly all of their seemingly outlandish impromptu moments are completely planned and written ahead of time. Most awful; they’re phony. All of that falling down laughing in hysterics is theater. They tried it on stage Saturday and it was so miserably fake, especially since they knew exactly what was coming every time. I feel conned. Good for them, on the same weekend that Ocean’s 8 premiered, the Impractical Jokers revealed to me that they’ve pulled off one of the greatest heists in entertainment history. Bravo, gentlemen. Thumbs Down.