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Series / Impractical Jokers

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Q, Sal, Joe, Murr. Unpictured: LARRY!
WARNING: The following program contains scenes of graphic stupidity among four lifelong friends who compete to embarrass each other.
Opening Disclaimer

Impractical Jokers is a hidden-camera series from TruTV, featuring four friends (Brian "Q" Quinn, James "Murr" Murray, Salvatore "Sal" Vulcano, and Joseph "Joe" Gatto) challenging each other to act outrageously in public. If you refuse, you lose. The show is presented as a sort of reality competition, where whoever fails the most challenges in an episode is forced to undergo a non-negotiable punishment of greater humiliation than normal.


This show provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: The jokers give Q a fake safe word of "pumpernickel" during his tarantula punishment. After Q says it multiple times, Sal points out "You're a grown man screaming pumpernickel in a warehouse!" which causes Q to crack a smile.
  • Aerith and Bob: On one hand, we have Joe and Sal. On the other, we have Murr and Q. Justified as these are just nicknames derived from their last names; Murr and Q's real first names are James and Brian, respectively.
  • Ain't No Rule:
    • No rule says that, when challenged to shop out of other people's cart, you can't just walk away with the whole cart long enough to qualify.
    • Q is one that tries to bend the rules the most, such as when he had to get someone to dance with him without asking him. He did it twice. The first time he mumbled under his breath. The second time he didn't even try hiding it.
    • Advertisement:
    • Even though it's already written, no rule says that you actually have to use the excuse provided to keep people from using a restroom. Sal did not like this since it negated the need to write the excuses.
  • All There in the Manual: The Inside Jokes version of "The Good, The Bad, and the Punished" reveals that all the characters Q encountered were given names (even though they knew they'd never be used on TV).
  • Amusing Injuries: Some of the later punishments involve the guys going through tons of pain.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The "Sashay Away" challenge was done twice. The first time, the jokers weren't allowed to talk at all. Nobody won the challenge, with one of them (Q) getting caught cheating. The jokers changed that rule to "No talking about dancing" the second time they did this challenge. This time, Sal and Murr won, Joe lost and Q got disqualified again.
  • April Fools' Day: The show's social media pages pulled one in 2014 when they claimed that the guys were being replaced with a new cast, even going so far as to film new footage with them to use in a "teaser" for the next season.
  • Arc Welding: In one challenge ("Well, That Went Badly"), Joe opts to use Murr's story as a basis for his own, saying he's from "Stomp" and that he beat up a guy with an "A" tattoo (Murr).
  • Aside Glance: Happens frequently, especially when the challenge is ridiculous. Joe and Q are the worst offenders. In a challenge where Q had to sabotage Sal's story, the latter had an epic one after blurting out "I hate the guy who killed my uncle."
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Sal's weapon of choice in a few challenges.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: In one of the after party episodes, Sal tells Murr why he is such a great friend, which is heartwarming since they usually argue a lot.
  • Bald of Evil: When Murr's head is shaved for a punishment (including his eyebrows, but not the top of his head like an inverted Tonsure), he says he looks like Lex Luthor.
  • Big Applesauce: The Jokers are from Staten Island, and most of the routines they pull are done in the city or the general Tri-State Area. Since New York City has odd things going on at any point, they can get away with a lot of incredibly unusual behavior.
  • Big Damn Movie: Impractical Jokers: The Movie, a Road Trip Plot extended episode.
  • Bindle Stick: In one challenge, Murr made one of these when the guy he rubbed the wrong way in a challenge told his friend, the manager of the restaurant where they were filming the episode, that Murr should be fired.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: In bonus footage of "The Butt of the Joker," Joe's presentation included a point "It's tru. TV is awful," a jab at the show's network TruTV.
  • Black Comedy: The Flea Market challenge, where Sal, Murr, and Joe are forced to admit that their items were looted from dead bodies.
  • Bonus Space: Two of these are on the Wheel of Doom: Automatic Win and Get $20 from Each Joker.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Subverted because this is reality TV, although Q revealing to the woman in the elevator challenge that she was on a hidden camera show qualifies.
    • Murr revealing the show during a challenge in "Brow-Beaten" after an ill-advised remark in the presence of a police officer qualifies as well.
    • During the British Invasion episode, Q is in a challenge to give away tickets to a made-up show. He starts talking to a guy whose first reaction is to look RIGHT at the hidden camera operator. At this point Q pitches the pretense and just tries (unsuccessfully) to get the mark to accept the tickets despite the now-obvious set-up, and even introduces the mark to the operator.
  • Breath-Holding Brat: In an unaired challenge, the guys had to beg toy store customers to buy something for them. This was Q's tactic even though the mark informed him that you can't die from holding your breath.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: In the shoe-store challenge, Murr is instructed to (and does, shamefacedly) put on a Jamaican accent to a Rastafarian customer.
    • Q is forced to do the same in a punishment where he worked as a playwright.
  • Brooklyn Rage: The Jokers have had to deal with unruly people within their own city. Q once had a punishment where he collected band entrance fees to a club, only to learn that the band there played for free. It got to a point where staffers posed as security guards to protect Q from a near-riot.
  • Butt-Monkey: All four of them take turns being this—it's essentially the premise of the show—but especially during the punishments. Murr and Sal have it the worst, though, as their punishments are usually more personal (i.e. exploiting Sal's fear of garbage and Murr's of skydiving).
  • Calvinball: Not a full example as the games ostensibly have rules, but the Jokers give immense leeway to them, sometimes giving extra chances despite a clear failure or awarding victories despite conditions not being fulfilled. In addition, it's not always clear what will lead to a victory or a loss - in some games you only need to succeed once out of multiple tries, in others a single failure among other successes means a thumbs down. It generally boils down to "whatever the Jokers think counts."
  • The Cameo: Chica, a dog who appeared regularly in previous TruTV show South Beach Tow, makes a cameo in a challenge that sees Sal and Q working at a pet store. Though not specifically mentioned for her role in South Beach Tow, they do call her by name and refer to her as a "production mascot".
    Sal: For a small fee, you could put her (Chica) down
  • The Cast Show Off: Joe and Sal are surprisingly good singers!
  • Catchphrase: After Joe rode the top of the Roosevelt Island tram and yelled "Suck It" with a pelvic action, the phrase and action occurred in following episodes.
  • Cats Are Mean: Benjamin Cat, a man in a black cat mascot suit, whose only objective during his appearances is to scare Sal.
  • Character Aged with the Actor/Divergent Character Evolution: The Jokers' hairstyles change as they become more experienced. Q and Sal sport facial hair from season two onward, while Murr's hairline continues to recede. Around the time he gets married, Joe's hair starts to go gray, as does Q's. After Q shaved his hair for Murr's toupee, he lets it stay a short cut when it grew out.
  • Clip Show: Has had three already, one in the middle of season one, and two in the first four episodes of season two.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    Joe: "With a f*** f*** here and a f*** f*** there, here a f***, there a f***, everywhere a f*** f***."
  • Continuity Nod: In the ep The Truth Hurts, Murr was hooked up to a lie detector and forced to admit he had a crush on his Spanish teacher, Senora Lanza. When Joe and Sal get punished in the ep Enter The Dragons they have to pose as a rock group that Murr names...Senora Lanza!
  • Continuity Porn: The Nitro Circus special. The challenges were fan favorites (with the last one being a combination of the Wheel of Doom and "Now!"), most of the guys came out in outfits referencing past punishments for the obstacle course, and two of the obstacles alluded to past moments in the show. For an unintentional extra nod, Joey Fatone pitch-hit for Q once again.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: This happens to the loser(s) if they lose a challenge. They range from Murr being forced to skydive, Q being covered with tarantulas, Joe's house being entirely gift-wrapped from the inside, to Sal being forced to watch his sister get married to Murr.
  • Cringe Comedy: The entire show, although it's often turned Up to Eleven during the punishment rounds at the end of every episode. Perhaps the biggest one is when Q refused to paint a giant red X on a canvas during a parent-child art class, and since he was the Joker with the most losses that episode, his punishment was to draw red X's on all the canvasses. It's telling that this episode closes with production revealing the show to the kids and parents, which is normally restricted to bonus content.
  • Death Glare: Though this happens often enough when the guys say something truly insulting, nothing reached the levels of the Klepto Buffet.
    • Sal shoots Joe one after the reveal of his new tattoo.
  • Dragged into Drag: Often part of a punishment.
    • Happens to Murr twice during his punishment in "Kill the Centaur".
    • Happens to Joe in three separate punishments: "Bellydancer", "Dog Days of Bummer" and "Fe-Mail".
  • Depraved Kids Book Author: In "Scarytales", Q has to pretend to be a children's book author with a story the other guys wrote for him, entitled "Q the Dung Beetle", which starts off normal but then involves marital problems, prostitution, swearing, and drinking.
  • Dodgy Toupee: After Murr was shaved (As mentioned in Bald of Evil) Q had his hair cut (but not to the degree that Murr had as in the original shaving, Q said it would be the end of his time on the show) and turned into a wig for Murr that he had to wear for the rest of the season.
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • What several people feel Murr's punishments became later on (infamously, skydiving when he's obviously terrified; pretending to burn his most prized possession - a blanket his now-dead grandmother made for him; having to go through TWO prostate exams; having to take the entire Human Pinata punishment when it was supposed to be a DOUBLE punishment, etc.).
    • Many people feel that Q's punishment in the episode "Spider-Man" was this. Q suffers from severe arachnophobia, and his punishment was to be shackled down on the floor of a warehouse and allow tarantulas to be put all over him. This was the first punishment in which Q was truly scared and sweating, threatening nothing short of death to the other three. Q immediately swore revenge on the other Jokers, and Sal got hit with a retaliatory punishment in the next episode, which was the exact same punishment but with cats.
    • Q seemed to feel this way about Murr's punishment in "Browbeaten". His body language and remarks suggest pretty strongly that he was not finding it nearly as amusing as Joe and Sal were, and he even said that he would quit the show if it was being done to him.
    • An Inside Jokes note indicates that the other Jokers once tempted to make Joe tear up a photo of either his wife or his daughter.
      • This idea was Turned Up to Eleven in Joe, Murr and Sal's firefighter training punishment, where Q made Joe put an ax through an image of either his wife or daughter.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first episode had more narration, left out the word "lifelong" from the opening crawl, and genuinely attempted to build up the suspense about who the big loser at the end of the episode would be. It wore off over time (especially with the truTV previews that actually do reveal who the loser is) and currently there is little to no narration except to introduce the show and say what's coming up after the break.
    • The first couple of seasons would regularly include short clips of the Jokers walking around and cracking jokes between challenges.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo:
    • Sal has an unfortunate one from a heavier time that keeps cropping up as Employee of the Year, or a background picture to a photo booth.
    • The picture of a younger, hairy-chested Murr wearing nothing but his favorite blanket first appeared in the punishment of "A Charity Case" and has been exploitable ever since.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The entire first episode is this for all four Jokers, but especially the White Castle challenge (since it's the very first), establishing the Jokers' playing strategies and willingness to say lines to strangers, as well as their individual traits, such as Sal's germophobia and Joe's Fearless Fool status.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Murr'll ask someone on their way to a memorial service "Who kicked the bucket?", but he and the others have a hard time being outright degrading to women.
    • The boys have no problem saying stupid and embarrassing things but will usually refuse to outright insult people to their faces especially if the comment involves the person's looks, race or weight.
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: Q, who thinks mimes are creepy, once had to spend 24 hours chained to one. The Montage shows Q slowly breaking down because the actor refuses to break character. Once the punishment was over, the mime walked off after saying a farewell.
  • Evolving Credits: Seasons 1 and 2 have simple intros with a narrator who has a deep voice, but Season 3 gives us a more polished and unique intro credits now that the show has had time to develop a following and recognizable gags with a new narrator with a more energetic voice.
  • Exact Words: In one episode, the guys are specifically tasked to "prevent people from going into a bathroom" which they had just come out of; when questioned, the excuse was to be provided by the other Jokers. After the first turn (Q), the Jokers quickly found out that people evidently did not really want to hear the excuse and were content to simply heed the Joker and walk away. Sal was not amused by this as this sidestepped the need for the wild excuses they had planned, allowing three Jokers to win effortlessly.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Once when the Jokers used the "Wheel of Faces" (one Joker shoots the wheel, and whichever Joker's face they hit has to complete a task), they brought out a version of the wheel where every face was replaced by Sal's. It twice succeeded in assigning Sal to tasks before he noticed he was played, with the first time being when he was the one taking the shot.
  • Fearless Fool: Joe almost never backs down from anything, no matter how dangerous it is or how stupid it makes him look. The most notable exception is when they challenged him to kiss a woman in a mall, who was obviously in on it, but he realizes he's in trouble when his wife shows up, sits next to the girl, and says that he can kiss her, but he'll be sleeping on the couch. He leans in, but turns to his wife and kisses her instead.
  • Flanderization: The punishments originally focused more on humiliation, but over time it's gotten to where they cause more physical harm and come off as pure torment, such as forcing Murr to get a prostate exam for no reason other than because it's funny.
  • Flat "What": When Q "gives birth"
  • Four-Man Band:
  • Forced Meme: In-Universe, Joe mimes slipping backwards on a wet floor, while making exaggerated hand gestures and yelling "Whoa! Whoa!". He does this no less than three times, then tries to have the rest of the Jokers do it. Sal just gets more annoyed every time.
    Joe: "It's sweeping the nation!"
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Joe is choleric, Q is melancholic, Sal is phlegmatic and Murr is sanguine.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: The show goes out of the way to avert this in group challenges, by making sure each Joker is paired off with all the others at various points.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Murr and Sal once laughed until they cried at a funeral because someone's phone went off and their ringtone was "The Exorcist" theme. Whose funeral was it? Joe's grandmother's.
  • Gag Haircut: For all four in the first season. Joe got a mullet; Q, bright red curls; Murr, shaved except for a tuft in front; and Sal, whose haircut is basically two bleached horns.
    • Murr gets one as a punishment where he gets his head and eyebrows shaved...then has to have his driver's license picture taken.
    • Murr also had to wear a wig made of Q's hair for a whole season...and get his passport photo taken.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: The mission was to get people to comment on bogus news stories in Times Square, and when approached two women commented "We don't speak English." It was promptly lampshaded.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When doing the potato scoops challenge, Q tries to "loophole" his way to victory by giving a man the entire bowl of mashed potatoes. This backfires when the guys reveal to Q that the challenge was how many scoops one can put on somebody's plate. Q ends up losing the challenge with only 1 scoop.
    • In the "Flatfoot the Pirate" who-laughs-first challenge, Sal has a lady leave a baby with Murr, but it's Sal who cracks up and loses.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The intro to the car lot challenge invokes this, as does Q's entire outfit and demeanor.
  • I'll Kill You!: On two occasions, Q threatened this on the other jokers during a punishment: the first while teaching sex education to his parents and the second when had tarantulas crawling on him. Q also says "I'm gonna kill you" to the cowboy who drags him around during his rodeo punishment.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Q in the "Eat and Run" challenge uses this approach and it works.
  • Jerks Use Body Spray: An episode had a variation with a "Joker vs. Joker" challenge between Sal and Q. In the challenge, they were supposed to present a fragrance to a panel, and Sal's fragrance was called "Eu Ver Compensat" (overcompensate). The packaging featured an overconfident looking guy kneeling in front a sports car. The "Inside Jokes" version states that the art department was asked to use the "douchiest" looking stock photo they could find.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Such as in this clip, Sal faking not speaking English well is some sort of weird Italian-esque gibberish. Joe also puts on this kind of act when he pretends to be a funny foreigner.
  • Kick the Dog: A lot of challenges descend into Schadenfreude if a Joker is having a bad time and somebody among them finds a way to make it worse.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • What people who felt sorry for Murr during "Human Pinata" and Sal during the Garbage Barge ep when Joe sent him to voicemail felt finally happened to Joe at the end of "Dog Days of Bummer".
    • The same people who felt sorry for Murr at the end of "Look Out Below" cheered when this happened to Joe again in "The Great Escape" and Sal in "Field of Screams".
    • Sal and Q get hockey pucks slung at them in their punishment in "Deal With the Devils". They get very direct payback at the end of the "British Invasion" episode, where they subject Joe and Murr to the same punishment, only with soccer balls.
    • After having tarantulas put on him and being embarrassed in a play in front of his firefighter friends in back-to-back punishments near the end of season 5, Q got the rest of the guys back in a triple punishment by forcing each of them to undergo a part of firefighter training.
    • Q immediately follows THAT during the ep "Catastrophe" when it's Sal's punishment by basically repeating the tarantula punishment, but with SAL'S biggest fear — cats! Sal is actually MORE scared than Q was and is not only sweating up a storm but crying by the end of it!
    • The season 2 episode "The Alliance" has Sal, Joe, and Murr form the titular alliance in the final challenge to vote Q into taking the challenge repeatedly. Eventually, Q gets sick of it and demands that if he succeeds one last time, the other three automatically lose the episode. The three agree. No points for guessing what happens next.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Usually on a losing statement the guys will just substitute a line or refuse to do an action, but occasionally they'll drop hints of something being up (a notable one in particular when Joe was working as a hot dog vendor and challenged to make a wife joke). Other times they'll make references to "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" after winning or losing a challenge, incorporating the passers-by involved in the game.
  • Look Behind You: Part of Murr's strategy in the Klepto Buffet is to tell a guy a tree almost fell in the parking lot. It worked.
  • Lying on a Hillside: Parodied when the jokers are in the park watching the clouds, and Q says that a cloud looks like Murr's mom.
  • Manchild:
    • Hilariously, Q was told to be this as an Ikea salesman, wearing pajamas over his uniform, lugging around an oversized stuffed monkey, and asking a customer to read him a bedtime story. Made funnier when the customer continues to treat Q as a legitimate employee, even after all of the above.
    • There was a challenge where each joker had to get a person to buy them a toy after they threw temper tantrums. The only one to win that challenge was Murr, with his rubber ducky.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Murr isn't the best of the four at most of the challenges, but it seems like he can get people to do almost anything.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Joe as a horoscope reader, culminating in somersaults and cartwheels.
  • Mirror Reveal: The four guys all got a Gag Haircut punishment at the end of Season one, when the stylist turned the barber chair towards the mirror. Joe, who hates having long hair, was revealed to have been given a sparkly mullet. Q, who sports wavy black hair, was revealed to have bright red curly locks (think Little Orphan Annie). Sal's head was shaved down the middle, and the hair in the front of his head was bleached. Murr was given the hairstyle of a Munchkinland resident.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Murr almost got into hot water by asking if two school children were over 18note  right in front of a police officer. He needed to blow his cover and lose the challenge (and therefore the episode) in order to avoid getting in trouble.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Played for Comedy in the episode "Scarytales". Q is punished by being forced to portray a children's book author with a story the other guys wrote for him, entitled "The Remarkable Misadventures of Q the Dung Beetle", which he shows to a group of children and parents. The book itself features a fight between Q the Dung Beetle and his wife, who storms out. The next page is just her walking by a car which features another male dung beetle who asks "How much?" Q's response?
    Q: Even dung beetles need companionship.
  • Mistaken for Racist: "Stripteased" has a very unfortunate moment for poor Murr. Q reads his Twitter posts aloud in the middle of a crowded cafeteria, which only annoys him at first until Q adds in that Murr said he wants to bring back segregation. While Murr desperately tries to defend himself, a black girl recognizes him and asks for his autograph, so Murr tells her to sit back down so that his cover's not blown.
  • Mr. Seahorse: A very funny variant. As punishment for one episode, Q, while obviously not capable of becoming pregnant, was forced to go through simulated labor pains. What's worse, he's doing it in a room full of women in various stages of pregnancy who were expecting a Lamaze class but instead got this joker experiencing the worst part in the process: delivery. Hilarity Ensues as Q succumbs to shouting out loud, "Get this demon baby out of me!" in front of them while busting apart a nearby divider screen.
    Q: (after "giving birth") Now comes the hard part: what to name it.
  • Monster Clown: Q has to be a clown in his punishment on "Smushed." His make-up job doesn't cover his beard and he isn't a great entertainer but the kids treat him just like they would any terrifying clown. They scream at him from the start, boo at him, complain that he's a bad clown, and even hit him when he's face first in the cake.
  • Mythology Gag: In one "get the guy to housesit for you" challenge, Sal was forced to explain away a baby sitting in the middle of "his" bedroom with a jug of milk. This is actually a reference to "The Do's and Don'ts of Parenting," one of the comedy sketches the guys did back in 2007.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • The basic premise of the punishment in "Strip High Five." Joe and Murr, the two losers, must get a high-five from passersby or remove an article of clothing for every high five that they fail to pick up. Joe narrowly survived in his underwear, but Murr wound up naked in public.
    • Joe is the first to end up naked during Sal's Joker home invasion punishment in "Sweat the Small Things," with Q and Murr following suit as they start pelvic thrusting in the window, much to the horror of Sal's neighbors.
    • Murr becomes a victim of this trope once again in "Not Safe for Work," where he poses as a nude model.
    • It's also used successfully twice during the Now You See Me challenge in "Jokers Playhouse".
    • Another Murr punishment features him in a sauna with many other towel-clad men. Suddenly the Electric Slide music plays and all the men gather to start dancing with Murr in the middle. Then the towels drop...
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Q's punishment in the Miami episode had him having to wrestle what (he thought) was his backpack off the back of a live, 7-foot alligator.
  • Non Standard Game Over:
    • In the second episode, the Jokers competed to pay as little as possible for a cup of yogurt with the loser being the one who paid the most. When it was Joe's turn, the cashier got fed up with his "sampling" and kicked him out of the store. The other jokers counted this as a disqualification, giving him the loss.
    • In S02E08 "Do Something to My Face", Joe feels he cannot convince a stranger to protest with him. Q defies Joe, betting he can get a stranger hold Joe's "Wash It After" sign. Joe loses and gets the punishment, despite Murr having lost the most challenges.
    • In the Texas special, the last challenge was Murr taking commands with the blinding glasses. He was told to say "You look like you remember the Alamo" to an elderly couple, and Q was so sure that he wouldn't say it that he would take the loss for the whole episode if he did. Murr did, causing him to lose instantly while Murr was in last place. Sal and Joe even called him out for making a needless bet when Murr was going to lose no matter what he did anyway.
    • In the episode "Tooth and Consequences", the last challenge of the episode was to get a selfie with a stranger. Before it could even get started, Murr had a front tooth fall out. He refused to play the challenge, and the loss caused him to lose the whole episode instantly. The challenge then became Murr's punishment on the spot, where he had to get multiple selfies with a tooth missing.
    • In "The Alliance", the final challenge was one where the task was selected by lottery, and the players could vote on who would have to do it. Every single time, Q was voted to play. When he learned that the other three conspired to have him do every one (which he succeeded), and when a particularly difficult challenge came up (up-zip someone's pants zipper), he cut a deal with them: if he pulls it off, all three of them lose the whole show (it was a three-way tie for last that included Q at that point). He one-ups them by unbuttoning someone's jeans, which allowed Q to put them through his own punishment: a quiz about him on the precipice of a waterfall, where wrong answers put them one step closer to the edge.
    • In "Water Torture", the challenge was to protect someone after a child actor squirts them with a water gun, then insult the person. Sal (who had already received a thumbs down in another challenge) was the first one up. The kid ends up making so many mistakes, and they have to shoot so many multiple takes that Sal starts to get annoyed. Joe comes up with the idea that since Sal already has 1 thumbs down while the rest of them don't have any, they should just make THIS Sal's punishment! They then tell the kid to deliberately mess up each time until Sal basically can't take it anymore and storms off the set before the other 3 reveal that they made THIS his punishment!
    • In "Remember the Pact", Murr would lose if the other three did not get a thumbs down so they made a pact to make Murr lose, everytime the joker doing the challenge would get a difficult task, they would say "Remember the Pact", at the end, they told Murr about the pact
  • Noodle Incident: How did Q's tooth get so jarred? All we know is that it involves a German police officer punching him in the face...note 
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Joe's common trick of "nosing" (touching his nose to someone without them noticing) is a variant, although sometimes they're just challenged to get as close as possible.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: In the season one episode where the guys have to ask people to donate to a fake charity, Q notices a man that is not wearing a shirt under his jacket, and asks him to donate money to his "charity." Not appreciating Q's humor, the guy threatens to kill everyone in the neighborhood, and says he'll go looking for him. Q refuses the money for the sake of the safety of the people living in the area.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In one punishment, Sal was made to walk through a cornfield maze at daybreak, which he was told was full of booby traps and jump scares. The other three remarked how they left much of the beginning of the maze empty just to freak him out more.
  • Off the Rails: In "Pulling the Rug," Murr is planted in a crowded restaurant and find a specific patron wearing a wig. Things don't go to plan when Murr finds the wig but fails to recognize it as such, giving the other three an opportunity to keep him out there longer.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • After losing an episode, Murr gets dressed as a pinata and hit with bats by the other Jokers until candy comes out. Unfortunately for Murr, they decide to bring in a ringer: Joe's brother-in-law, a muscular man who wasn't exactly pleased about Murr groping his wife, Joe's sister, during a raunchy political correctness video on a previous episode. Murray is understandably terrified when they hand him a bat and let him give a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner before going to town.
    • Murr had an epic one after being told he has to jump out of a plane. A series of Rapid-Fire "No!"-s and Jumpsuit disrobing ensues.
    • Joe had a pretty epic one in "Pseudo-Sumo" when he realized he had to fight 300-pound sumo wrestler Byumba!
    • Q had one at the beginning of his punishment in 'Spider-Man' when he found out that the thing he fears the most — spiders — were going to be put all over him while he's shackled to the floor.
    • Q had a particularly painful one after refusing to draw an X on a child's canvas in "X-Man," costing him the episode and leading to him being forced to draw an X on all eight canvases in the room.
      Q: Oof, I think I'm just gonna draw a red X on my head, you know what I'm saying?
      Joe: Oh, that's interesting because we just checked the scoreboard, buddy. You lost this episode.
      Murr: Aaah!
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Q and Murr.note  Downplayed in that they regularly go by their full names when conversing with strangers.
  • Panty Thief:
    • Murr's very first punishment was to go in to a laundromat, steal other people's underwear, and, ultimately, wear it on his head. It did not go unnoticed.
    • In "Strip High Five", Joe runs off with Murr's clothes except his underwear.
    • In a Housesitters challenge, Q and mark walk up to a drone stealing Q's underwear
  • The Pig-Pen: Sloppy Joe, an overweight, shirtless man with a habit of chugging milk jugs and spilling it onto everyone, is a character that tends to pop up in punishments where the loser gets dirty.
  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Doesn't happen in-show, but is referenced in Sal's past as a delivery boy, having a door answered by a topless woman.
  • Pop-Up Trivia: In 2016, a set of reruns with added production trivia started airing as Inside Jokes. Since they're old episodes, they tend to spoil the losers immediately.
  • Potty Emergency: Poor Q, having to beg for anti-diarrhea medicine to be poured directly into this mouth.
  • Potty Failure: One of Sal's punishment involved being locked in a room with strangers and the only way out was to pee his pants in front of them all.
  • Prank Punishment: Every episode ends with the Jokers pulling a grandiose prank, called a punishment, on whichever Joker lost the most challenges in that episode. These punishments often place the losing Joker in awkward public situations, and are sometimes tailored to each Joker's specific fears.
  • Precision F-Strike: Countless times, although the "f" words are bleeped out, of course.
  • Precious Puppy: In a first season episode, all four Jokers are holding very cute puppies as they talk about having to do or say what they're told in a pet store specializing in puppies.
  • Product Placement:
    • Happens pretty obviously with Kellogg Granola Crunch in one challenge.
    • Happens in season two with Dairy Queen.
    • In some episodes, the start of a commercial break has a special mini-challenge segment centered around a sponsored product, such as Cheez-It and Fiat. The challenges are otherwise identical to the normal ones, but they're not part of the episode proper.
    • Many challenges take place into chains or locations, most notably White Castle (see Incoming Ham above).
    • One episode was shot entirely in Universal Studios Florida.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The 'WHEEL! OF! DOOM! intros.
  • Punny Name: Consistently used in the "Cranjis McBasketball" game. note 
    • Disfatt Bidge. note 
    • Juanita Indacaboosa. note 
    • Eetwont Flush note 
    • Dadood Frumcheers. note 
    • Meaningful Punny Name with Simmy Kantstandyourbitz note . The name is a pun of Simmy Kustanowitz, the Vice President of Development & Original Programming for truTV.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: For a debate challenge, Murr and Q have to make a girl choose which one of the two was uglier. Q won the challenge but did not feel happy about it.
    Q (sounding defeated): Well, I won that one.
    Murr (sounding ecstatic): No, I won that one.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The punishment of Brother-in-Loss involved Murr getting married to Sal's sister as Sal was forced to watch while tied up to a dolly. They even went as far as showing them signing the marriage license and only referring to Sal's sister as "Sal's sister". Sal, of course, threatened death upon Murr the entire time and was gagged with duct tape before he was able to object.
  • Red Herring: It's not uncommon for the guys to mislead each other during challenges or punishments that involve locating something or someone. To name one example, when Q is forced to locate a dirty diaper in a kids' playground, the other Jokers eventually imply that the diaper in question doesn't actually belong to one of the children. Q takes this to mean that he has to check an old woman who happens to be present, but it turns out that this was the Red Herring; the diaper actually did belong to one of the kids.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Most commonly seen in the "Don't I Know You?" challenges, the most outrageous claims (such as Murr getting molested by an octopus) get usually nothing worse than polite confusion.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Joe has a pet dog named Cannoli, who is without a doubt one of the cutest things you ever saw! Later episodes show Joe's other dogs, all of whom are just as cute.
    • He's now up to 5 impossibly adorable dogs, all of whom were featured in the challenge "Watch Joe's Dog" (one of the dogs died not long after the first of these was filmed, and Joe got two more dogs before the second iteration of the challenge).
  • Rod-and-Reel Repurposed: One challenge has the Jokers attempt to grab bags in a mall with a comically oversized fishing hook.
  • Rule of Funny: When Murr has to be a ring girl at a professional boxing match, he's given a Princess Leia costume consisting of the slave girl bikini and cinnamon bun style wig. The other Jokers comment that they know the hairstyle doesn't match the costume, but they think it's funnier this way.
  • Running Gag:
    • If there's someone to be called for offscreen, it's Larry. As well as Irene, Dalton, and the mysterious gangster Santiago.
    • Sal and Murr's embarrassing pictures.
    • Joe "nosing" someone.
    • Sal and Q using the aliases "Ja'Crispy" and "Tony Gunk" respectively.
    • Murr claiming to have "a foolproof plan" for winning a challenge (and then have said plan fail phenomenally).
    • Jaden Smith.
    • Whenever someone asks the Jokers for directions, more often than not, the response they're forced to give will be "Up your ass and to the left".
    • Cranjis McBasketball, which usually comes up during iterations of the challenge "The Name Game."
    • The Jokers are often told to flirt with women by asking if they've ever seen Hamilton. This is because Murr is a big fan of the production.
    • Sal's flat feet are joked about on a regular basis.
    • If Sal endures a punishment designed to provoke his fears, it will involve cats and sick people, and a good chance that Benjamin Cat will show up at the end.
    • Joe pretending to be a silly foreigner.
    • Gary Busey showing up for shenanigans of his own.
  • Scatting: Joe did this during the Diner challenge and when they referred to it in the Season 1 Clip Show.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: In one episode, after a lot of false starts with a child actor who was supposed to cue in for a challenge involving Sal, Q came up with the idea of just abandoning the challenge and turning it into a punishment for Sal. Murr asks if that's against the rules, to which Q replies "What rules? We make the rules!"
  • Security Blanket: Murr has one made by his grandmother that he still sleeps with, and even admitted that he will cuddle with it after sex.
    • In the "Inside Jokes" episode that mentions behind the scenes facts about Murr's Flashmob punishment, where a Mola Ram Expy throws his blanket into a fire, it mentions that two copies of the blankie were made. Once the Flash mob disassembles, the other guys reassure Murr that they burned a copy, Joe takes out the "real" blankie as proof, and throws it into the fire. Murr later found the actual blankie safe and sound at home, which he tweeted to relieve fans, and on After Party, production showed that his true blankie remained safe and sound.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • When they were trying to talk Murr into jumping out of a plane, despite the fact that he's terrified, Sal reminds him that they made a pact a long time ago that they would never back out of a punishment. How soon we forget the infamous Human Pinata episode when Joe DID back out of a punishment, Sal? Coincidentally Murr took the entire punishment in that as well!
    • Though Joe actually did take a punishment in Murr's stead in "Do Something To My Face." Had Joe not made that bet with Q, Murr would have lost the entire thing instead since he had three losses.
    • Actually, that one was different. Joe volunteered to take the loss on the whole thing if Q managed to take his sign and get someone to march with him. Murr didn't volunteer to take the loss here, they just threw it on him despite the fact that BOTH Joe and Murr lost.
  • Shirtless Scene: Happens a few times in the show, especially with Joe.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the "Dino-mite" challenge, Q and Sal are dressed as John Hammond and Alan Grant from Jurassic Park. Joe and Murr are also both wearing different outfits from the Indiana Jones films.
    • In another challenge, the guys were using voice-altering technology and made references to Taken
      Q: Give me back my son!
      Joe: You're about to be taken.
      • Taken is referenced twice more, with Murr having to tell a woman that she's about to be taken, and one of the descriptions Sal is told to repeat in a round of "Have You Seen My Wife?" is that his wife "played the villain in Taken".
      • Thrice now, as Murr himself was taken as the punishment in "Lady and the Tramp."
    • In the episode "Indecent Proposal" Sal's punishment consisted of him posing as a dance instructor, and going around the room asking people if they would allow them to sleep with their partner in exchange for money, much like in the movie of the same name. The punishment ends when after receiving no takers, he flashes a Briefcase Full of Money, and tells people that they missed out on a huge sum of cash.
  • Situational Sexuality:
    • Q did this in an episode during a round of "Have You Seen My Wife?" where he decides instead he's going to ask passers-by if they've seen his husband.
      Joe: He has a great set of tits!
    • Sal poses as Joe's husband during the "Vehicular Manslaughter" challenge in "Bidder Loser".
      • Murr played Joe's husband in a challenge as well, where they had a passer-by settle a debate about what race the child they'd be adopting should be.
  • Sixth Ranger: Invoked with the "Fifth Joker" challenge. Joey Fatone could also be seen as this.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • Season 3's punishments are starting to become more outright brutal than humiliating, with Q hooked up to a device that simulates the stages of child labor, and Murr getting nipple piercings to the point of tears.
    • Season 4 up the brutality with getting wedgied by motorcycle enthusiasts, slapshotted by the New Jersey Devils, and sumo wrestling with Ulambayaryn Byambajav.
    • "Joker for a Day" where the 4 jokers sit back and the crew play the challenges, the winner (as declared by the jokers) gets a week off work with pay.
  • Sore Loser: Sal didn't take getting caught cheating in a "Repeat After Me" challenge well. After the other jokers took away his win when they determined him saying "It's fun to say" was illegal, he told them they were "full of shit". He later said he didn't want to do the challenge again after Joe won.
  • Special Guest:
    • Q finally meets his long lost twin Rosie O'Donnell when the guys get her to appear during one of his punishments. Rosie, ever the good sport, even dressed like Q for the bit.
    • One episode had Q call in *NSYNC star Joey Fatone to take his place during a challenge at a restaurant. He aced everything the guys threw at him.
      • Joey covered for Q again during the Nitro Circus special when Q was medically unable to do the obstacle course for his charity of choice. To the surprise of everyone, Joey made second place.
      • A later episode took place at a hot dog chain owned by Joey, who once again joined in on the fun.
      • And now Joey hosts the Impractical Jokers After-Party segments after the show.
    • Imagine Dragons were featured in a punishment for Joe and Sal, where they had to perform as the opening act for a concert in a venue packed with over 14,000 people... without actually knowing how to play instruments.
    • Another one is Danica McKellar (aka Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years), Murr's childhood crush who he was tricked into interviewing wearing only a speedonote .
      • She returned in a later episode to help Murr recreate the incident in reverse during a "Don't Laugh" challenge.
    • The live punishment special was hosted by comedian Howie Mandel.
    • Murr surprised everyone during a "don't laugh" challenge by bringing in Gary Busey, who portrayed a hulked-out Murr in a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario.
      • Like Fatone, Gary has since become a recurring guest on the show.
    • Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter) filled in for Sal on a challenge in "Universal Appeal". Like Joey, he succeeded.
  • Spit Take: Q does this upon hearing the name "Chinese Name" being called during a receptionist name-calling challenge Murr plays.
  • Straight Man: Joe can do just about any task while maintaining composure. Lampshaded on many occasions.
  • Subverted Catchphrase: Recent episodes extend "If You Refuse, You Lose", to the likes of "If You Refuse To Do Or Say What You're Told, You Lose" among others.
  • Taking a Third Option:
    • During the "Hot Potato" challenge of the episode "Take Me Out To The Ballgame", Murr and Sal are passing a propane tank back and forth, trying not to be the one holding it when the lady between them gets up to leave. However, at one point the lady winds up holding it, and both Murr and Sal leave, making the game a draw with no losers (Murr was nice enough to let her have the bag Sal brought it in).
    • In the "Toy Vey!" challenge from "No Child Left Behind", Sal and Murr create toys for each other to pitch to a focus group. Sal gets one hand raised for Heather the Cookie Monster for Girls and Murr gets one hand for Grandpa Whoopsie. The third person in the group refuses to pick either toy, so the challenge is declared a draw with both Jokers getting the win.
  • The Teetotaler:
    • Sal has to be somewhat of one in his liquor sample punishment on the episode "You're Cut Off".
    • Joe revealed he is one during a nightclub challenge and in the episode set in New Orleans when he refused to drink a Hurricane during another challengenote .
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    • "Welcome to White Castle, bitch."
    • "Make it rain, bitch!"
    • "We're in London, bitches!”
    • “Aloha, bitch.”
  • Toilet Humour: Shows up occasionally, but nothing reaches the level of Joe's punishment of opening up a public bathroom door while on the can, and asking for a little help with his paper shortage emergency.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Apparently doughnuts for Joe.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Thanks, TruTV, it's not like anyone minds being spoiled on who the loser is by a commercial airing during the episode.
    • Season 2 part 2 has been the worse so far in this category. They blatantly show who the loser is and what their punishment is right in the preview of at the beginning of the each episode. In the first two seasons they would at least blur out their faces so as not to give it away...but they're not even bothering keeping it a secret anymore.
    • Particularly egregious in "Not Safe For Work" commercials, where they prominently show Murr acting as a nude model, which is quite obviously the episode's punishment.
      • Right at the first ep of Season 2 part 3- Enter The Dragons- the entire week showed commercials for the show with Sal and Joe playing drums and guitar during a rock concert...and by the time the episode aired that very scene was blurred when the narrator mentioned tonight's losers. Generally, this means that they've removed the in-episode spoiling, but seriously, unless you haven't seen TruTv or paid any attention to the commercials all week, you KNOW who the losers are and what their punishment is!
    • The blur effect doesn't even work that well some of the time.
    • The episode "Catastrophe" has the punishment where a certain joker is chained to the floor and people put cats all over them. The title suggests this, and the preview shows it. If you know the Jokers well, it's blatantly obvious who the loser is.
    • One episode involves the loser being the leader of a breakdance crew, despite not being able to breakdance. They do a good job of blurring the loser...but neglect to blur the shirts of the crew, which have the loser's name clearly emblazoned on it.
    • Inside Jokes doesn't even try to hide who the big loser is, outright spoiling it with a Spoiler Alert at the beginning of each episode.
  • Transgender: Sal is tasked with admitting to a woman that he's a woman trapped in a man's body, and in the nightclub challenge Joe asks a woman with fairly prominent cleavage "Male or female?" Her reaction was a pretty good Death Glare.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: The point of one challenge: Sal had to make an annoying noise, Q had to ask a pretty woman to pop a pimple on his back, Murr had to act as though he was having a Potty Emergency...
  • Undesirable Prize: Double Subverted in one of Murr's punishments where he played against a boy named Jake on a game show. If Jake got a question that Murr missed, he got to take anything he wanted from Murr's apartment. Instead of his flat screen televisions or video gaming equipment, Jake took the following items from Murr: his shower head, his front door handle, his bedding and his Georgetown University diploma. It was later revealed that the other jokers influenced Jake on these decisions because they knew each one would hit Murr pretty hard, particularly the Georgetown diploma. At the end of the punishment, Jake got an Xbox 360 signed by all four of the jokers.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A lot of what they do is highly unusual but is barely batted an eye at. One of the reasons it works is because most of what they do is done in New York.
  • Urine Trouble: Sal at the beginning of the challenge "Puppy Pushers".
    Sal: The guy who worked here told me in 30 years, he's got peed on twice. I'm not even five minutes 'til it pissed all over me. (the other Jokers laugh) I got pissed on... (holds up puppy) that.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sal and Murr get on each others nerves a lot, making fans question if they hate each other. Sal and Murr are actually great friends and have said that they play up the arguing for the show.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot:
    • Q laughs so hard at Murr's punishment in "Not Safe For Work" that he ends up puking in a bucket, with only his back and germophobic Sal trying to escape.
    • Sal had to drink pool water as part of a challenge, which lead to him going back to where the other guys were after drinking it and throwing up in the garbage in the back.
    • In the episode "Stare Master", it happens again during Murr's turn at a Kid Copycat challenge, where the Jokers tell a child assigned to the Joker to do something, which the Joker has to copy. The challenges they have Murr and the child assigned to him do are so funny that it causes Q to throw up for the 2nd time, but he ducks behind a tree to do so. Afterwards he accidentally spits in the face of germaphobic Sal, and HE proceeds to throw up!
    • Both Sal and Q end up vomiting again after Q drinks from a glass of dollar bills filled with water in "Statue of Limitations." All it took for Sal was HEARING Q start to throw up and he began to retch!
      Q: (sounding miserable) The watah tasted like dollahs...
    • In one punishment, Sal drank breastmilk that had been left out in the sun for a few hours. He promptly threw it up.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Q as of season two has taken to wearing an American flag scarf.
  • When It All Began: How the four came to be -in comic form!
  • Wham Line: Whenever three of the jokers say, "WEEEELLLLLLLLLL" note  such as in Murr's skydiving punishment.
  • Wham Shot: A few times. Such as Q's father appearing during a White Castle tip challenge.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Sal is not only a germaphobe, but is also terrified of cats. Naturally, the other jokers are all too willing to exploit this.
      • Actually, if the episode 'Ruffled Feathers' is any indication, he seems to be scared of almost ALL animals, from hawks to lizards! Though it might have more to do with the fact he didn't didn't have proper training for handling the more dangerous animals (which Q hints at via a Don't Try This at Home warning to the crowd).
    • Murr has a deathly fear of heights, which is taken to dizzying new levels when he is forced to jump out of a plane!
    • Q has a severe case of arachnophobia, as was shown in "Spider-Man".
  • With Friends Like These...: The punishments might make viewers question if these guys can really be good friends, but they really are the best of friends.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: One of Murr's punishments was taking part in the mock game show Is Murr Smarter than a Young Child Student Between 4th and 6th Grade?
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Joe's fictional boy band "The Yoloboyz (with a Z on the end)". Their motto is "Hey! Do it, but do it with a Z!"
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Q is told to speak this way at White Castle and belts out "GOOD MORROW, SIRE, AND WELCOME TO THE CASTLE OF WHITE! WHAT IST THOU CRAVING?"
  • You Didn't Ask: Q had to be kept in a zoo exhibit as a punishment with the rule being that he must stay until the other jokers unlock the gate. They never told Q that the gate wasn't even locked... which Q found out the hard way when he called Joe late that night.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: One of Sal's punishments was having to save his nieces from one that took place underground.


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