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It’s only funny if somebody cringes: The ‘Impractical Jokers’ bringing their madness to Rupp

The cast of “Impractical Jokers,” from left James “Murr” Murray, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto and Brian “Q” Quinn will bring their live show to Rupp Arena next week.
The cast of “Impractical Jokers,” from left James “Murr” Murray, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto and Brian “Q” Quinn will bring their live show to Rupp Arena next week.

Successful improvisational comedy has to have more than a few characteristics to work. This is something that Salvatore “Sal” Vulcano, one-fourth of the comedy troupe starring in the truTV hit series “Impractical Jokers,” knows all too well.

Ever since the show began in 2011, Vulcano, Joseph “Joe” Gatto, James “Murr” Murray and Brian “Q” Quinn -- collectively known as The Tenderloins -- have had to endure any number of insanely hilarious and extremely cringe-worthy pranks and challenges with unsuspecting pedestrians to the amusement of viewers both stateside and across the globe (the show is a hit in both the United Kingdom and India).

And if you ask Vulcano, the basics of improv still come into play on the show, whether it’s listening, surrendering to the moment or one other characteristics that leads to some of the show’s most memorable moments.

“Our show it big on commitment,” Vulcano said. “The comedy comes out of the confusion and bemusement and we will only get that if we commit so hard, they might think we’re being serious.”

The comedic quartet’s mission to get laughs has led to them staying seriously busy. In addition to “Impractical Jokers” debuting its eighth season this past week, the guys are also planning on releasing an an “Impractical Jokers Movie” later this year and will be starring in the new TBS game show “The Misery Index.” But right now, the guys are currently hitting the road on The Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour, which plans a bit of madness when it comes to Rupp Arena on Tuesday, March 26.

Before Vulcano and company were involved with “Impractical Jokers,” the group of high school buddies from Staten Island, New York, initially participated in improv and sketch comedy in high school and college before forming The Tenderloins in 1999. After performing live shows for several years, they began filming comedic sketches and putting them on YouTube and MySpace, leading to millions of views.

After pitching several scripted ideas to networks to no avail, Vulcano said they “started to think about genres of television and how to make it our own,” eventually landing on the hidden-camera concept that would become “Impractical Jokers.” Since the show’s success, Vulcano said he is consistently blown away by the journey and ascending popularity the show has taken, whether finding out about its popularity overseas or learning the age range of its appeal.

“The show is a co-viewing show and we hear that families watch it. Each of them kind of find their own humor in it” he said. “We try to have a little bit of every type of humor in it in every show we can.”

While the show certainly could have worked with four talented comedians, Vulcano said the key ingredient to the show’s success is the genuine connection he has with his castmates.

“The intangible is we have known each other for 30 years,” he said. “Really, it’s a show about friendship that everybody can relate to.”

Vulcano said The Tenderloins current tour does feature written segments mixed with multimedia and improv interactions with all four members that plays with the energy more in line with a music concert than a stand-up comedy show. By the end of show, he hopes people get to know the comedians a lot better while getting plenty of bang for their buck.

“This is our fourth tour, so we really have it down what we want to present to people,” he said. “We’re not happy unless it’s hysterical from beginning to end.”

If you go: truTV’s “Impractical Jokers” present The Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour

When: Tuesday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $52 to $198

Where: Rupp Arena, 430 W. Vine St.

Call: 859-233-3535

Online: rupparena.com

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