Number 117: Basketball in The Impractical Jokers

One of my favorite shows on television right now is Impractical pranksters. If you haven’t seen it, the concept is pretty simple: Four longtime friends take part in challenges where they compete to embarrass each other.

Usually this takes the form of one of the Jokers who is in the “field” and has to say or do ridiculous things in front of strangers. But sometimes it turns into giving weird presentations or launching wacky TV shows, like Here you have a horse, or reacts badly to barely disturbing news and then ask strangers if maybe they overreacted.

If a Joker fails one of these challenges, they will decline. The person (or people) with the most thumbs down at the end of the program has to participate in a punishment.

At nine seasons and counting on the books, the show has at times immersed itself in basketball. Here’s a look at Impractical pranksters trying his luck in the hoops.

After the show was quite successful, go ahead and look at TruTV’s programming schedule and you will see about half the hours of the day dedicated to Impractical pranksters – The Jokers had enough momentum to make a full movie.

The movie came out just before the start of the pandemic last year and despite being a huge fan of the show, I finally saw the movie a couple of months ago.

The plot of said movie is … flimsy at best, with Paula Abdul randomly harboring a multi-decade grudge against these four Long Island fools. Actually, the movie is just a longer version of the show. But it’s okay, because we have moments like this.

Joe gets an interview with the Atlanta Hawks and immediately presents himself as a possible red flag. It also accomplishes what I’ve always wanted to do during an interview: take up half-court shots.

I generally do not enjoy punishments in Impractical pranksters as much as I challenges. They’re usually not that fun, and can be downright gruesome at times. Unfortunately, this is a basketball bulletin and this is a basketball-related punishment, so here we go.

In the early days of the show, they were still finding their balance with punishments, so you’ll get something a little silly like this. A fifth grader with a foam baseball bat stands guard as two of the Jokers hit 3-pointers. You end up with punishment, but each failure results in a blow to the shin.

Perhaps most impressive here is that Q comes closer to taking a sloppy “Granny” style shot. Hey, Rick Barry perfected that style for a reason: It works.

Joe is the hardest Joker to punish because he lacks any kind of shame. It’s a trait I’d love to embody, although I still feel embarrassed and socially aware of my surroundings in awkward situations.

Perhaps you are the same way and the idea of, say, drumming in front of thousands of people during halftime of a basketball game is … daunting, to say the least.

But maybe this video will inspire you to be a little more carefree. By the end of this challenge, Joe is having more fun than anyone, despite his incredible lack of pace or skill.

This one probably shouldn’t count, since it doesn’t actually involve basketball. But the first season of Episode 5 introduced a name that led to one of the funniest games on the show.

In this clip, Sal is looking to find a made-up person named Cranjis McBasketball among a group of people in a waiting room.

Sal can’t find Cranjis, but this ridiculous name became the basis for a future challenge in which the Jokers pose as receptionists in a focus group studio and have to peruse a list of outrageous nicknames. Every time they laugh, they get a point. Whoever has the most points at the end loses.

Personally, I find this challenge more entertaining than the clip with Cranjis, so it’s a nice way to end this email.

As a bonus, you can use any of these aliases as long as you have to use a fake name for something. I like to make a dinner reservation for two for Jerry Seinfeld and Wasda Dealwifkramer.

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