They are the faces of one of the biggest shows on Comedy Central (or Tru TV in the States) and this autumn Murr, Joe, Q and Sal from Impractical Jokers returned to the United Kingdom with their latest tour Cranjis McBasketball.
Their television show is all based on a form of improv – they go into the real world and do improv related tasks to members of the public without them realising that they are being filmed. They are pretty big in the US and they tour a lot and also have their own annual themed cruise.
I saw them on the Dorset coast at the Bournemouth International Centre – not the biggest venue in the world but can still hold a huge capacity. The good thing about the venue is that wherever you sit you can get a really good view of the stage. Saying that, I am surprised to see that there are areas around the theatre that are empty – this could be because a lot of the groups target audience are not in this part of the United Kingdom or it could be because the tickets were quite pricey for Bournemouth that students may not of been able to afford them.
The first thing that is important to higlight is that they are very similar to their personalities on the show and you can tell this is because what they have is true friendship. However I did find that Joe and Murray didn’t really talk as much as I thought they would and it was predominantly Sal and Q who ran the show. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show because when a television show comes to the stage like this one you are uncertain as to what it would include. The night was focused on their friendships and anecdotes around the show that have never made it to air and are sort of behind the scenes. A couple of highlights include no-one liking Q in the first season, Make Fake and Take and the stories about Bones. Throughout the show there are videos that play that have never been shown before and some of them are highly hilarious and make the show – it makes you realise why they are popular.
However saying this, I walked away not sure that some of the jokes transferred well to a UK audience – some of the references would not make sense as they are not relevant such as the shops etc to the UK as they are not as big over here. Whilst I got the jokes as I watch and travel to America a lot, I think that some of the jokes could of been adjusted just a tad to relate more. The one that completely failed was an off the cuff joke about Brexit that you could tell had been adapted from a joke about American law and it did not work.
Whilst it was great seeing the Jokers being themselves on stage as they are so comfortable around each other, it felt at times they forgot that they had an audience as they would cut off each other near the punchline to go on a sort of tangent that made some of the 6show hard to follow along with.
Overall the show was a fun experience but I did expect a lot more from it. The Jokers have a strong improv background as the Tenderloins, hence how the show came about, and I really wish that they interacted with the audience more and did a few improv related games to welcome us into their world a bit more instead of just viewing it. You can tell that they are highly greatful for their UK fan base but I do feel their show could be a tad more audience participatory. The support act went all the way out into the audience to the back of the theatre, in some ways I wish the Jokers did this sort of thing as well and came out it would of added a bit of magic to their show.
If you are going to see this show whilst it is stil in the United Kingdom then I would say go if you are a fan but don’t expect a show, expect a sort of ‘a night with’ style evening. There are some hilarious moments, the ending will make you never look at Murr in the same way again but you will walk away wishing there was a little bit more spark to it. That is sad to say as I am a big fan of their show but I feel it just needed something else to make it a great show.
Rating: *** 3 Stars