Q&A WITH Q

Impractical Joker Brian 'Q' Quinn laughs through 10 questions with Ken Hoffman

Quinn and the Impractical Jokers crew are bringing their nuttiness to Houston. Photo via TruTv.com

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Got Brian "Q" Quinn from TV's Impractical Jokers on the phone. Asked him, "How does it feel to be on TV more than Steve Harvey, Ryan Seacrest, and the GEICO Gekko combined?" I was kidding.

Not really. Let's take a typical Monday: truTV is running eight episodes of Impractical Jokers from 5 to 9 pm then five more episodes from 9:30 pm to midnight — and five more episodes from 12:30 am to 3 am. Channel 57 is airing two episodes from 7 to 8 pm — opposite the same show on truTV. Tuesday is a load, too, with 10 episodes from 4 to 9 pm, followed by five more episodes from 9:30 pm to midnight.

And that's not counting Channel 2's airings on weekends, and truTV's marathons on weekends and holidays. Oh, and the Jokers have two other shows that air on truTV: Inside Jokes and Impractical Jokers: After Party.

"Q" says, "I know we're on truTV all day, but I didn't know about the other stations. It's crazy. It makes me worry for the safety of the United States that they're playing us that much. I can't watch the show. I hate watching myself. I only like the ones when my parents are involved with the show, because I like them being on TV."

His buddies on Impractical Jokers — Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, and James "Murr" Murray — are four grownups (though they don't act it) from Staten Island, New York, who challenge each other to make total goofballs of themselves. They keep score, too, and each episode's loser must be punished. It's the most successful, most aired, certainly, hidden camera show in recent TV history.

Impractical Jokers begins its eighth season Thursday, March 28, on truTV, and the Jokers are bringing their live stage show Sunday, March 31, to Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land on the "The Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour."

Here's my "Q" and A with Brian Quinn:

CultureMap: How is your live show different from the Impractical Jokers television show?

Brian Quinn:
What you see is four middle-age men up on a stage telling jokes into a microphone. We show some videos that we shot just for the live audience. We tell stories and make fun of each other and stuff like that. We obviously can't do a hidden camera thing onstage, so we try to translate the spirit of the show. The things that people like about us, we try to re-create onstage. It's fun. We used to take questions from the audience, but we'd get one good question for every five dud ones. So we decided that we'll just get the info out that they'd ask, anyway.

CM: Let's review: Impractical Jokers has aired 180 episodes, and you've been punished 44 times. You're in third place behind Sal and Murr. So far, you've been beat up by pro wrestler Tommy Dreamer, been dragged by a horse at a rodeo, jumped 10 feet into a pile of horse manure, and been the target of 100-mph hockey pucks. Have you ever thought you might be seriously injured?

BQ: Not really, we're not out to kill each other, these are my best friends. How are you with your friends? You want to rub it in a little bit, but not too much. You don't want to hurt them. It's all in fun. I don't want anybody to get hurt, and I don't want to get hurt.

CM: After wearing your hair long the first five seasons, you shaved your head on a 2017 episode. Of course, Murr had to wear a wig made out of your hair that entire season. Are you growing your hair back or keeping it short this year?

BQ: I try to change my look every year. I'm actually growing my beard out this year, but the hair is staying short. We don't want people recognizing us. I like changing up my looks as much as I can every so often. It might help now that my hair is going almost completely gray, so that's good.

CM: With all of your success and TV celebrity, how do you keep from becoming the biggest jerk in the world?

BQ:
I think the key is, I didn't get on television until I was 36 years old, you know what I mean? The level of success we have now really didn't come in until the last three years. You're talking about a guy, look, man, I was a fireman. I know what's real and what's not real. I think we just hit too old. I'm already set in my ways.

I'm not like these people who get on TV when they're 19. I had time to develop as a human before I got on TV. I'm friends with the same people, I hang out with the same people. It hasn't changed my life that much at all. I was single when I was a New York City fireman, and I'm single now. I go to the same restaurants. I drove a Wrangler then, I drive a Wrangler now. I could say, hey, we're good guys, which I think is true, but I think age has something to do with it.

CM: Are you worried that Impractical Jokers is becoming so popular that people will recognize you when you're filming and ruin everything?

BQ: We shoot in New York City. There are 8 million people on a 14-mile island. If every person in New York City knew who I was, then damn right, I'd be flying private jets. But it's still a pretty small show in the grand scheme of things. Most people still don't know who we are, so that works to our benefit.

CM: You have three cats: Brooklyn, Chessie, and Benjamin. As a punishment, Joe made you get a tattoo that reads, "38. Lives Alone. Has 3 cats." Who watches your cats when you're on tour?

BQ: I have a team. It's mostly a guy from my old firehouse named Dan Finn, he'll help me out. But I have friends and family who help me out, too.

CM: Last year, you took your show to Madison Square Garden. What was that like for someone who grew up in New York?

BQ: That was crazy. But we had already played Radio City Music Hall, and, I don't know why, that was a little more magical to me. But when I walked out at Madison Square Garden, it was like, this is crazy. On top of that, I used to be with the fire department, the FDNY, and my whole fire house was there, and I could see them. We sold out Madison Square Garden! That's not a sentence I ever thought I'd say in my life. It's nuts.

CM: Eleven foreign countries, including England, Lebanon, Italy, Sweden, and Greece, have their own versions of Impractical Jokers with local casts. You OK with that?

BQ: We don't have any involvement in that. What they usually do is take the bits that we've done and just re-create them. We did spend some time with the British cast, hanging out and drinking with them in London. They're really good guys, and I thought they made some funny episodes. We watch the foreign shows out of interest, but we have no say in anything about that. I'd rather they do what they want to do without us.

Continue reading on CultureMap to see the final answers from Brian Quinn.

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Should Watson be in the MVP conversation? Composite image by Jack Brame.

The 2020 NFL season has a lot going on. Even if we take the coronavirus out of it, there's still a lot to digest. There are so many great performances being put up, one can make an argument for several players to win league MVP. The quarterback position typically gets more credit than others. If I restrict the argument to quarterbacks only, we're looking at Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers. Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, and Derrick Henry are the leading contenders at running back. On defense, there really isn't a standout defender. The defense gets no love, but there are several guys in the running for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Deshaun Watson has been putting up numbers that have matched or rivaled some of the top MVP candidates over his last seven games. That stretch has coincided with the firing of head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien. Coincidence? I think not. Taking the reigns off a wild horse can often lead to said horse running free and flourishing! So question: Should Watson be getting league MVP considerations? I think so.

For starters, he's been one of the best players in the league over the course of the last seven games. 18 passing touchdowns and only two interceptions. The only quarterback with a better touchdown to interception ratio over that same span is Mahomes (19 and 2, as opposed to Watson's 18 & 2). Factoring in total season stats, of course Mahomes is doing much better. He's on a better team with a much better coach and general manager. The same could be said for Wilson and Rodgers. Put Watson on any of those teams and their records wouldn't be any worse than what they are now.

The Texans are 4-3 since firing O'Brien. While that isn't a great record, consider the fact they started the season 0-4 and looked like a total disaster. Watson looked like he was caged and couldn't wait to be freed. The team's record could be even better if the defense had a pulse. The proper supporting cast has a lot to do with a player's MVP candidate's chances. Now that one of his favorite weapons, Will Fuller, and the team's best corner, Bradley Roby, are both suspended for the rest of the season by the league for violating the substance abuse/PED policy, things will get much tougher for Watson.

If he continues to put up these cartoon like numbers, I don't see why he wouldn't be in the MVP conversation. He's currently fopurth in passing yards, sixth in completion percentage, tied for fifth in passing touchdowns, eighth in QBR, and third in quarterback rating. Watson is emerging as the star he was projected to be coming into the 2017 draft. I'm not saying Watson deserves to be the league MVP, but he deserves to be in the conversation. His MVP candidacy should be treated like the family gathering hierarchy: once you reach a certain age and/or status, you're no longer resigned to the kiddie table. Now you get to sit with all the adults, engage in their conversations, and gain access to things you couldn't previously. Watson won't win the MVP award, but I strongly believe he could finish top five. Especially if he keeps making lemonade with the lemons he's been given.

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