Impractical Jokers is one of the most successful prank shows ever created, thanks to the fact that its four stars - Brian "Q" Quinn, James "Murr" Murray, Joe Gatto, and Sal Vulcano – have been playing jokes on each other for years.
The series ninth season is set to air in 2020, with filming on an Impractical Jokers movie already underway, alongside a live tour that has sold out venues around the world.
The premise of the show is simple. Murr, Q, Sal, and Joe dare each other to carry out outrageous pranks on the public, getting points every time they are successful. The loser is then subject to a bizarre and often embarrassing punishment at the end of the episode.
Here are some of the strangest things which have ever happened on Impractical Jokers.
20 Q Tries To Eat Food Donations
In season seven, Brian “Q” Quinn was sent to a local food bank donation center for his punishment. While pretending to be a volunteer, he had to also try and eat as much of the donated food as possible – though the Jokers made it clear that for every one thing he destroyed, they would be donating three new items.
19 Wheel Of Piercing
A lot of the punishments thought up on Impractical Jokers aren’t designed to be just embarrassing, but physically uncomfortable too. Murr was faced with the “Wheel of Piercing” when he lost a challenge, which resulted in him being pierced in the belly button and both nipples when he got three questions about the guys wrong.
18 Insulting Bodybuilders
Another potentially painful punishment for Murr came in The Dumbbell episode in season eight, when he had to go to a local bodybuilding gym with a fanny pack full of insults dreamed up by Sal. As his penalty for losing, Murr had to deliver random insults to random gym-goers, no matter how much bigger they were than him.
17 Captain Fatbelly
Captain Fatbelly was a character created by Murr, Q, and Sal when Joe was the loser of an episode in season four. After dressing him in a rather figure-hugging superhero costume, Joe was strapped to the top of the Roosevelt Island tram car and had to rescue stuffed toys representing his own dogs, before insulting everyone who lives on Staten Island.
16 Strip High Five
The fifth episode of season two saw the first-ever double punishment handed out, with both Joe and Murr ending up as losers. Their punishment was to try and get as many high fives from strangers as possible; but for every rejection, they had to take off an item of clothing. Joe managed to retain some of his dignity, but Murr was left standing naked on the street.
15 Q Wrecks A Cake Competition
Some of the best punishments are those that involve unwitting members of the public, such as the episode in which loser Q had to pose as the judge in a cake competition, ruining each offering as he “judged” before revealing that he was actually a fellow competitor. Naturally, he won as his cake was the only one which hadn’t been destroyed…
14 Oiled-Up Interview
Murr has apparently always had a celebrity crush on actress Danica McKellar who played Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years. The guys even arranged for him to interview Danica as part of a punishment. The catch? He had been told he was entering a bodybuilding competition and was only wearing a pair of Speedos when he met his idol.
Every Impractical Jokers fan has their own thoughts on which of the Jokers gets the harshest punishments, but there is little doubt that it seems to be poor Sal who gets pushed closest to the edge by the rest of the gang. They even got Sal to climb in the trunk of a random car, only for it to drive off unexpectedly, with the driver pretending that she wasn’t in on the prank.
12 Human Pinata
In season two, loser Murr ended up being dressed as a human pinata and suspended from a crane while kids hit him with sticks. A slightly degrading punishment, but not too painful; until the rest of the guys got involved with their bigger sticks, including Joe’s brother-in-law who was looking for revenge after Murr had grabbed his wife’s backside.
11 Cat Attack
The Impractical Jokers team have been friends for years, so they know all about each other’s fears – and how they can be used to craft the perfect punishment. Sal, for example, has a bizarre and crippling fear of cats, which was exploited when he was trapped in a cage with a dozen kitties as his penalty for finishing last.
10 The Jaden Smith Tattoo
Traumatic as many of the Impractical Jokers punishments may be, at least they are all over within a few minutes. Unlike the three-way penalty imposed on losers Q, Murr, and Sal in season three, for which they had to get embarrassing tattoos. The most bizarre design was Murr’s, which featured a portrait of young actor Jaden Smith.
9 Sal's Zombie Apocalypse
One of the most complex punishments ever devised by the Jokers involved 40 extras, in full zombie make-up, who were roaming sewer below the streets of New York. Because he lost the challenges, it was Sal who had to descend into this real-life horror movie in order to rescue his nieces who were being “attacked” by the walking dead.
8 Murr Marrying Sal's Sister
Sal is very close to his family; he must be if he is willing to rescue his nieces from marauding zombies. The gang played on that weakness in an episode in 2017 when Murr married Sal’s sister Jenna – for real. Sal’s face was a picture when he realized the marriage was legal, even though it was later annulled.
7 Joe The Genie
Another creative punishment from 2017 saw Joe playing the genie in a stage version of Aladdin, complete with a harness to enable him to make a dramatic entrance. Unfortunately for Joe, it wasn’t a stagehand who was in charge of his harness but the rest of the Jokers, who made sure that Joe the Genie crashed into the set at every opportunity.
6 Bingo Shame
One of the most awkward punishments was inflicted on Sal in season three when he came in last following the challenges. He was sent to a Bingo hall, where he had to “accidentally” shout Bingo even though he was nowhere near getting a full house, much to the annoyance of the regular players.
5 Sumo Wrestling Contest
Joe had no idea what the guys had lined up for him when his punishment for losing involved him being dressed as a baby, complete with bonnet and nappy. The nappy, of course, was a big clue as to what was really going on, as the Jokers had actually lined him up to fight a real-life sumo champ named Byamba.
4 Q Teaching Sex Ed To His Parents
The Impractical Jokers guys love nothing more than springing a surprise on their co-stars who are facing punishment for losing challenges. Q may have thought that the prospect of teaching a sex education class was punishment enough, but things only got worse when he found his parents waiting for him in the classroom.
3 Relaxation Station
One of the most bizarre punishments saw Joe being sealed into a giant costume designed to look like the massage chairs you see at malls. From the outside, it looked like an ordinary if slightly over-sized seat, but anyone who paid their money for a moment of relaxation was actually getting a massage from Joe himself.
2 Sal Delivering A Baby Cow
Sal’s encounter with his feline nemeses wasn’t the only time that he was forced to get up close and personal with a member of the animal kingdom as part of his punishment. In season five, germophobe Sal was driven out to an upstate farm to help deliver a calf, ending up elbow deep in the mother-to-be during her labor.
1 Public Prostate Exam
The guys took things a step further for one of Murr’s punishments when he was given a very public prostate exam in front of a room of 50 men. Just when he thought his ordeal was over, the doctor called in a colleague to give him a second prostate exam, just so that he could get a second opinion.
Sources: Den of Geek, Comedy Central, Fandom, Deadline