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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome