The Illustrious Writer for the Impractical Jokers
After recently interviewing two of the Impractical Jokers aka The Tenderloins, I was finally able to catch up with one of the instrumental forces behind the funniest show that has ever graced the airwaves: writer and producer Jay Miller.
Besides writing for the Jokers, Jay has his own show “Midevenings With Jay Miller” and is about to appear at the St. George Theater in Staten Island on March 14.
I can’t believe I’m actually speaking with you finally.
Because it’s been so hard to catch me, or because I’m such a big star?
Both: Pick one, I’ll agree to it. So how long have you known the Jokers?
I met Sal in 2008. I met him when I started doing my show “Midevenings With Jay Miller.” After a year I asked him to be a part of “Midevenings.” He started performing with me on my show. The other Jokers were doing pilots and stuff like that, and I used to go support them and go to their shows.
So you’re buddies now.
I wasn’t close friends with them until I started working here, I would say.
What did you do before you started writing for the Jokers?
I did comedy for a while, then I was in a band for a while, then I became a teacher for a while.
What kind of band?
A punk rock band. We were called “Monty Love.” I’ve been doing my comedy show for six or seven years. Yeah, I’ve been doing comedy forever.
Tell me a little about your comedy show.
Oh, it stinks. It’s the dumbest show anywhere. It’s the dumbest show on television, only it’s not really television. I’m on public access. It’s the dumbest show anyone could ever do.
Do you care to share some of its content?
Sure. It’s just weird people. I try and do weird interviews. I do things that I always wanted to see. I like things to be weird and uncomfortable.
Tell me a little about Jay Miller Live on March 14 at the St. George Theater on Staten Island.
Oh yeah, I should probably promote it. It was originally gonna be just stand up with some of my friends, and then people started buying tickets, and I was like, “Maybe I should make this into a real show.” It’s going to be a bunch of my stand-up friends, many of them who have been on “Midevenings,” and then some of the weirdo characters from “Midevenings” will make appearances. I’m not really sure what it’s gonna be.’
Which Joker do you like the best and why?
That’s a tough one.
OK, which do you like the least?
Oh, there’s none I like the least. I like them all for different reasons.
OK, start with Murr.
I just think Murr’s so funny, and I’ve found Murr to be oddly genuine. He’s just always having fun. I like Murr a lot. Sal is just like the most comedic, as far as like genuine comedy. He’s like the most scientific comedian, where Joe Gatto is just funny. There’s nothing scientific about it. It’s just the face, the voice, the stomach. It’s just boom, boom, boom, no matter what he does it’s funny.
Well, me and Q can talk about wrestling. That always makes him good in my book. I always shoot the shit with Q, which I like.
How many ideas must you go through before you all agree on using it for a skit?
There’s a lot of ideas. They all have to like it. We’ll never do anything if one of them doesn’t like it.
They all say that they are very involved in every aspect of the show.
Yeah, it would be easier if they weren’t involved. Unfortunately, they have to chime in.
Who hired you to work for them? Was it actually TruTV?
No, I don’t work for Tru. I work for North South, which is the production company that puts on the “Impractical Jokers” and “Say Yes to the Dress.”
Are the skits scripted? Are there actually lines the guys have to memorize?
Everything on the show is real. You’ve seen them at their live show. It’s a lot like their live show. Their intros are improvised. We give them a suggestion of things they could say and do in a challenge, but they take whatever we say and they just make it better. They’re really great at that. They are great at taking ideas and making them better than I can ever imagine.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Oh, dead. I mean that in a hopeful way.
Oh, OK. Good?
I have no idea. Ten years ago I wasn’t ever a teacher yet. Ten years ago I was working for a band, then I was unemployed. I was so broke. I was a big time hustler. I was broke, and then look what happened. I became a teacher—that was the best.
What did you teach?
I worked with special needs children for eight years. Holy shit. So you never know where your life could go. That’s what I wanna say to the kids…that and don’t put nude pictures on the Internet.
If you were a porn star what would your name be?
You’re a new addition to a crayon box. What color are you?
Aww. Here’s a question from your fans.
There’s only two of them.
Well, they both wanna know if you’re available.
Available for what?
Love, lust, sex.
Am I available for sex? I guess it depends on the day. Am I single? Yeah, I’ve been single forever. I don’t know how to talk to women.
Well, the two fans were male anyway.
Even better. I don’t feel like I’ve said any funny things.
You still have time. You’re standing naked in a store. You’re holding up a sign. What does it say?
Give me some clothes, please. I feel like that’s too obvious. What would it say? Pull my weiner? Should it be something funnier?
No, that will be fine. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes, but I should probably start looking at people.
Pick two stars to be your parents.
Well, I don’t wanna pick someone hot. Probably Ellen DeGeneres, cause I think she’s super funny. I guess I would like my dad to be…I guess David Letterman, but I feel like I wouldn’t ever get the approval that I want. Maybe Tom Hanks.
Who would you take on a date to outer space?
It doesn’t really matter, because if you go to outer space, you’re not really going to be able to talk to one another. I’m gonna be so stressed. I wouldn’t even wanna be with someone that I like; they’d be like, “You’re the worst.” I’d say Beyonce, just cause I feel like we’d get really close, maybe like friends, and when we came back to Earth we’d hang out
What’s the one thing you’d want me to know about you?
I should probably say something positive. I have no idea. I need people to help me!
Someone just wrote the story of your life. What’s the title?
“Jay Miller, Choose Another Book.”
Anything else you’d like to promote?
Just watch my show on public access or the Internet. But I don’t know how to work the Internet. If someone would help me, that would help.
It’s on Manhattan cable. I need help with that too. MNN channel, and it’s on YouTube.
twitter: @ midevenin