Being an extreme fan of “The Impractical Jokers” aka The Tenderloins and their “truth or dare” rare brand of comedy, I was thrilled to be able to have a candid and hysterical conversation with James “Murr” Murray, an amazing soul and one of the stars of the troop.
With the fourth season of “Impractical Jokers” on TruTv having just premiered, Murr was more than generous with his sense of humor and wit. Throughout our conversation there was genuine laughter. If you think these characters are funny on the show, just try to speak with them off camera; it was hours after the interview that I was finally able to stop laughing.
All of the members of the unique comedy troop are truly genuine, humble and very unaffected by the fact that the whole United States well as the U.K. are quickly becoming their fans.
Now that you’re becoming so popular, what is going to happen when you run out of people who won’t recognize you?
This is a good problem to have!
In New York City there [are] 10 million people in a 14-mile radius, you know? For every person that knows us, there are six other people that have no idea who we are. We’ll be OK for a while.
What’s your favorite gift from a fan? And, by the way, is the fern still alive?
The fern is still alive. It’s in the office, and it’s doing well.
OK, then. So what’s your favorite gift from a fan?
Well, I can’t be crude.
Yes you can.
My favorite thing from a fan? Well, I get a lot of bowties during our live shows. Our stage shows that we do, that we tour with, I wear bowties often. I get awesome socks. You know what, a fan gave me a t-shirt with Darth Vader taking a selfie.
That’s a good one.
What is your most embarrassing moment not on film?
It happened a month ago. In real life I have a list of the most embarrassing things that ever happened to me. For most of them I have to be very drunk to tell you. So we’ll get there. We’re at the beginning of our relationship right now. We’ll get there.
OK, I get it.
Something happened to me one month ago that skyrocketed. The #1 item on my list has been in the #1 spot since I was 22. I’m 38 now, but one month ago something happened that jumped to the top of the list. The guys and I were doing a show in Waukegan, Illinois, and we were flying out of New York and landing in Chicago, which is about an hour away from Waukegan. We were gonna drive there, so the whole day I was really sad. I was like, “I don’t feel well.” We get to Chicago, I still don’t feel well. We get a rental car, we drive for an hour, and I feel worse. We get to the hotel, and the guys get the luggage. They get out of the car and start walking to the hotel. I bend down to get my luggage and…I SHIT MY PANTS! IN THE PARKING LOT OF THE HOTEL! Now, there are fans staying at the hotel with us. I SHIT MY PANTS. I froze, bent over. Did that just happen? I can’t believe that just happened to me. I yell to Joe, I’m like, “Joe, come over here.” As soon as he gets within five feet he enters the blast zone, and he’s like, “WHAT THE HELL!” I can’t believe what’s happened to me. He starts crying laughing. The other guys start crying laughing too. I was like, “Joe, come back out. I can’t go through the lobby.” Joe’s in; he’s purposefully taking his time. He waves me over to the hotel and says, “Come here, I got the key, I got the key.” I go over, my idiot friends assemble like a dozen fans in the lobby. So I can’t possibly go in. Assholes! I grab the key, and I have to do a crab walk around the hotel looking for another entrance to go in. I can’t go into the lobby with the fans there; the guys are gonna take pictures. So I waddle my way around the hotel, and the only way I can get into the hotel is to go around the back, right? So I use my card to get into the pool. As soon as I get into the pool area, there’s a family there, kids about 10 and 12. As soon as they recognized me the kids come jumping out of the pool and hugged me around my waist. So I have the two kids hugging me around my waist, and the parents are taking pictures with me. It was THE WORST MOMENT OF MY LIFE. I’m there, I have soiled myself, and I have the kids holding onto me like I’m Wally World. It was the worst, the worst.
Aww, I feel bad for you!
Yeah, that was the worst.
Let me see if I can recover from that one. So if you had to spend one day inside the body of one of the other jokers, who would you choose and why?
ARE YOU NUTS? I’m the only one with a body that’s in any kind of shape. None! Sal looks like a toilet bowl. NONE, NONE! I’ll jump into anything else. I’ll jump into a tree before I jump into any of these guys’ bodies. No way, no way. I don’t wanna deal with Sal’s neurosis, and Joe’s cholesterol. What kind of question is that? I’m not answering that one.
I think you just did. Is there anything the other jokers don’t know about you that they would be horrified to find out?
They don’t know that I’m actually an amazing lover. They would probably be horrified to find out that I’m probably the best lover out of the four of us. The unfortunate truth to the question is that they unfortunately know everything about me. Which would be the worst part of being on television, on “Impractical Jokers” with them.
Do you ever actually fight and walk away mad at one another?
Yes, we do. We’re like every best friend. We fight all the time. I mean, once a week we get into a fight. Then an hour later we make up. It happens. I actually walked off set one day, not in the middle of shooting. I would never do that, but yes, it happens. The fights never stick. I’m usually the one who causes most of the fights, ‘cause I’m always right and the guys aren’t.
Somehow I knew that. How does it feel to have gone from being a regular person to an A-list star?
A list to my mom. I gotta tell you, the paparazzi, flying my own personal jet, really it is just amazing. I still brush my own teeth. No, we are still regular guys. We always will be.
So who’s Dalton?
Dalton. FUCK DALTON. You called me on that. A few years ago, we just liked the name Dalton. It’s such an odd choice to name a child.
Now you are involved in the production of the show, correct?
Yeah, the guys and I are involved in every aspect of the show from creating the ideas all the way through posting. Joe oversees all the editing of the show. We’re heavily involved.
Do you ever plan to go “crydiving” again?
I will NEVER in my life, ever, get thrown out of a plane again! It is a death wish. Look, we all hope there’s something after this right? We all hope [there is] a heaven, an afterlife, but nobody knows, nobody knows for sure. So if we’re not 100% sure, why would you do anything to risk that? People are not meant to fly out of planes. You just get in a plane, buckle up safely and ask for another cocktail.
What’s your favorite punishment?
My favorite punishment, let’s see. At the end of last season they made me teach a cooking class about foods around the world in front of a classroom full of strangers. Right before the class they injected my mouth [with] the absolute limit of 180ml of novocaine, which, when you go to the dentist, just to understand how much that is, when you get your wisdom teeth pulled you get about 40ml of novocaine. Your wisdom teeth pulled! I got 180ml. Now, I pride myself on being well spoken. I don’t have marbles in my mouth like the rest of the guys. It doesn’t sound like I was born literally on the streets of Brooklyn like Q, Sal or Joe. I pride myself on being well spoken and not having that accent, and I was a babbling, drooling idiot.
Yes, but it was so funny.
What got me is that it got worse as the novocaine kicked in. It was getting worse and worse and worse. My speech…it was a lot of fun.
I liked when they made you eat spaghetti.
There’s always been a couple of moments…you know, Sal falls down during every single challenge, but for me I cry laughing, but it takes a lot to make my knees buckle, and that was one of the times that my knees literally buckled. I had to bend down behind the counter. I couldn’t stand anymore. I was crying laughing.
So I heard rumors that the jokers might do a movie. Is that true?
Yeah, we’re working on it right now. We’ve been actively working on it. It is our next vehicle, yes!
That’s exciting! Any more “win a date with Murr” raffles?
Wow, old school, man. I wonder what would happen if I put myself on eBay now. It was a crazy thing: I put myself up on eBay, but it was for a good charity, and I know I got guilted into donating the money, but whatever. I don’t know, who knows, a date with Murr, part two? You know what would be fun? How much could this go for: win a weekend with Murr, a weekend trip. We could go to the Poconos or something.
I’ll help you promote it.
I’ll take her to Mt. Airy Lodge, a champagne hot tub.
Do it right away. So, talk about the “Where’s Larry Tour.”
The Larry tour…well, for the past two and a half years we’ve been touring the country with a live comedy show. We kind of polished it, perfected it, and we have worked for months creating a brand-new theatre show. So the Larry show is the product of these many months of work last year. It’s a 100% brand-new live show. We have all new pictures and clips.
So you’re a new addition to a crayon box. What color are you?
Awesome’s not a color, unfortunately.
It is if you say it is.
Well, purple’s my favorite color, so if I could take over a shade of purple that would be great. What color would Murr be? Yeah, I guess I would pick the color awesome.
If you were a porn star, what would your name be?
You know, they had a porn convention this week in Las Vegas. Unfortunately I didn’t get to enjoy it. I caught the flu; I was bedridden the first two days of my trip.
How come you get sick so much?
I don’t. I haven’t been that sick in years. I don’t get sick at all usually. Sal is the one: Sal has the immune system of a fetus. He needs to be surrounded in amniotic fluid in order to survive. He should not exist. What was the question?
Your name if you were a porn star.
All right, that actually works.
A little of my Irish heritage, a little sexual and it implies you have a big penis.
What celebrity would you most like to have sex with?
Good question. Living or dead? Well, I don’t want to have sex with a dead person.
I don’t wanna say the actual person because there may be a chance one day that I could have sex with her. Then again, if she reads it and you put something out there in the universe, the universe will then send her to me to have sex with. It’s a conundrum. You know, she might be like, “What the fuck, I want a restraining order!” or “OMG, here’s my vagina!”
Take the chance.
It’s hard to tell how a woman will react to anything. Let’s go with Zoe Saldana.
OK, pick two celebrities to be your parents.
Oh, Angelina Jolie and Don Rickles.
Angelina Jolie cause you get to go to Africa with her all the time.
So if you weren’t famous, what would you be doing with your life?
If I didn’t work in entertainment at all, I think I would be an architect. I love building and creating. I’m fascinated by architecture. I read books on it. I just love it. I love history of things and building things.
What’s the one thing you’d want me to know about you?
I mentioned the excellent lover part. I usually smell very nice.
Except when you get sick in hotels in Illinois.
I don’t wanna say always, cause nobody can always smell nice; there is no absolute truth. Can humanity ever know the absolute truth? Of course not. That being said, I would say that I absolutely smell great.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My goal is I wanna do many more seasons of “Jokers.” I think a world tour. I wanna do a ton of movies. There’s so much fun we could have on the bigger screen too. Then after that I would love to do a sitcom. How cool would it be? We play ourselves, so it’s still the us you know and love, still our same characters, the guys who we really are, best friends in a sitcom.
So are there any last words. Anything you’d like to say?
I would love to mention The Tenderloins, the “Impractical Jokers” tour featuring The Tenderloins. The TV show says The Tenderloins on it too; that would make me very happy. Otherwise, this was actually a lot of fun. Thank you.