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.

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

When I landed in Houston, I was John Lander's helper on the Q-Morning Zoo show on KKBQ FM radio. The show was extremely successful, but we always thought, "If the listeners could hear what we talk about while the songs and commercials are playing, that would be the best show."

I moonlight in radio for ice cream and college tuition money. Over the years, I've been on a few shows, once a week with Michael Berry, same with Pat Gray and Lanny Griffith. Same thing: The conversations off-air were always more entertaining than what went out on-air. In "real life" (away from radio), Berry is wildly funny, Gray even more opinionated, and there's no helping Lanny.

That was before podcasts. Now anybody, even people who have on-air shows, can have off-air "shows," too, where there are no rules. The Federal Communications Commission has no control, no authority over podcasts, which stream over the Internet. Podcasters can say whatever they want with no worry. I used to listen to all-night talk radio when I went to bed, now I'm tossin' and turnin' (great song by Bobby Lewis) to podcasts. The Jim Cornette Experience and Jim Cornette's Drive-Thru top my list.

Two weeks ago, Sports Talk 610 (KILT-AM) morning host Paul Gallant left the station after eight years on the air. Now he's off the air, but on the Internet with a podcast called Gallant Says. He unleashes a new episode each Monday and Friday. I've listened to the first two: let's just say this is Gallant as listeners have never heard him before. You thought he had a big mouth and big opinions on the radio? His Gallant Says podcasts are streamed on iTunes, Sticher, Spotify, and other platforms.

I asked Gallant how he was enjoying life in the anything-goes, shackle-free world of podcasts.

CultureMap: How does it feel to have no restrictions on what you can say and how you can say it? Do you have a sense of complete artistic freedom? Is it a weight off your brain?

Paul Gallant: It's hard to not feel a weight on your brain when you're trying to find ways to entertain people. We all tend to get stale after a while, and you never want to be it. I've set some limits as to how far I'd go with things. But it is fun to be restriction-free.

CM: Not only are you free of FCC rules, you are free of 610 rules. What rules did 610 impose on you? For example, were you allowed to talk negatively about broadcast properties, specifically the Texans, or sponsors?

PG: [610] never really set many rules for us. Or at least for me. There wasn't some 'Texans directive' coming from bosses or anything like some people have suggested. They left us alone. The Rockets (when we were their flagship station in 2011-12), meanwhile...

CM: You can use profanity now, and you certainly take advantage of that. Which is the real PG, the buttoned-up guy on 610 or the colorful language guy on your podcast?

PG: I think what's great about this is that I get to be 100-percent honest about myself. I love opening up. So this has been a lot closer to who I am in real life. A lot of people think swearing makes you sound uneducated. They're probably right, but I find they add a lot of oomph to anything you're saying. That said, I think may have dropped a few too many expletives in the first two episodes. My mom sent me a text about it. So I'll probably dial those back a little this week.

Continue on CultureMap to find out where and when Gallant does his podcast.

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