James Murray talks his role on truTV's "Impractical Jokers"

James Murray is star of truTV’s hit practical joke reality series “Impractical Jokers”. Better known as Murr, on the show he is with his best friends Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano and
Brian “Q” Quinn. The show is just finishing its second successful season and building up a lot of steam behind the show. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Murr about being a joker and his favorite moments on the show.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s start with the origin of “Impractical Jokers”?
James Murray: The four of us all went to high school together, so we’ve been friends for over 20 years. We went to an all boys Catholic high school. So there wasn’t a way to be distracted besides playing pranks on each other. For as long as I can remember we have been doing that. I met Joe freshman year in religion class. Every time the teacher would walk down the aisle he would drop his nose on her without her realizing. We ended up doing that in the first season of the show also. A few years ago, we came together and decided to come up with an idea for a TV show. We have been performing together for years doing sketch comedy as The Tenderloins. We came up with the idea for an upside down prank show, where the jokes on us basically.

MG: Does it ever get too embarrassing for you to do what the guys tell you?
JM: I am sure. In the show we reject things all the time because it is too embarrassing. I think the fun of the show is seeing what our breaking points are and what we simply won’t do. My mother raised me to be a gentleman, there is just somethings I will not do or say [laughs]. And of course my best friends know every single one of the things that I won’t do or say.

MG: The show must be filled with outtakes, any cool off-camera moments?
JM: I will tell you, there are some challenges we film that never see the light of day, for reasons we cannot anticipate in advance. Sometimes things seem funnier on paper then reality. Perfect example, last year we were filming this challenge and the idea was funny. We had to go to a children’s park where kids are playing and parents are pushing kids around in stroller. You know how parents baby talk to their kids? The challenge is you have to go to a parent pushing a kid in a stroller and baby talk to the kid and then baby talk to the parent and get them to do the same back to you. Seems funny on paper…but guess what happens when four middle age men with no children on their own attempt this. It was funny, a S.W.A.T team descended on the park in minutes and told us to get out [laughs].

MG: What has been the highlight joke for you this season?
JM: I think my favorite/most embarrassing moment was when I was getting punished and they secretly took me back to our old high school. They called a general school assembly, which is like 600 students called into the auditorium. They then strapped me to a lie detector test and asked me questions you can only imagine. The first was “Is your name James Murra?y”. The second was “Do you get your back waxed?” Which I do since I am hairy Italian but I just don’t want America to know that I do [laughs]. But now they do.

MG: When you started with this did you ever see it being as popular as it is, especially with the truTV Impractical Jokers app?
JM: The app is pretty sweet. You can actually call us up directly. We were each given a phone and if we are available we will pick up and chat with a random fan. I think we always hoped it would be popular and do well. It is good to see that people like it and the word is spreading.

MG: How do you feel about all the International spin-offs of this show?
JM: We love that. I get to travel around and consult on the different versions. It is pretty sweet. It is amazing to think that the guys and myself have created something that is spreading around the world. So original productions of the show are on the air in the UK, Quebec, Brazil, Belgium, Holland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Lebanon and a few more. It is just pretty damn cool.

MG: With season two ending this month, any world about a third season?
JM: We will see. I will leave that up to the networks to decide. The show is doing well and I feel that there is an appetite for more. So hopefully we will have the privilege and honor to give it to them.

Steve-O talks about his new show on truTV called “Killer Karaoke”

Steve-O is best known for his work on the TV series and film franchise “Jackass”. He is taking a different route with his new show on truTV called “Killer Karaoke”, which he is hosting. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Steve-O about this show, what we can expect and touched on the “Jackass 4″ rumors”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your new show “Killer Karaoke” on truTV?
Steve-O: The premise of the show is very simple. It’s people singing karaoke while awful things are happening to them. It is just hilarious. For me it is extra exciting since it is a big opportunity to get to work as a comedian host, rather than just the guy that hurts himself. It allows me to be faithful to my brands and yet still evolve and broaden my horizons. It is a real step in the right direction for me in having a meaningful career beyond “Jackass”.

MG: So do these contestants have a background in singing?
Steve-O: I think everyone has some level of passion for singing and that is why they are there. I do not think that anyone is getting a record deal out of it. I think it is funnier the more incompetent the contestants are. When you go into a karaoke bar, you think the people singing are somewhat competent. So I think the average karaoke bar talent is what spills out onto our set of “Killer Karaoke”. I think that is where the experience bar is at.

MG: Give us an idea about some of the interruptions planned for the contestants?
Steve-O: There are dog attacks. We electrocute people as they are signing. We’ve done snakes all over them. We made they run through a maze of cacti. We just scare the crap out of them and torture them in many different ways. It is really hilarious.

MG: You are no stranger to extreme stunts, is it different for you thought being on the other side and not having to deal with these situations?
Steve-O: For me, simply observing stunts rather than performing them, I would explain as an erection lasting four hours or more. It felt great but it was a little unnatural for me [laughs].

MG: Is there any kind of rehearsal prior to the taping?
Steve-O: Not at all. We are really careful to make sure that the contestants go into it with as little of an idea of what will happen as possible. Obviously, when you have as guy and you’re putting him into a dog attack suit, I think he gets an idea. But for the most part, they have no idea what is going to happen. I think it makes it a lot better.

MG: What has been your most challenging aspect hosting a reality TV series?
Steve-O: It all came pretty natural for me. The key to doing a good job is to make sure that you are enjoying yourself. I definitely enjoyed myself. I feel that the pleasure aspect in the show will be contagious.

MG: I read the announcer of the show is Twisted Sister’s Dee Snyder; did you get a chance to meet him?
Steve-O: No. They recorded Dee Snider after the fact. But my first concert I ever went to was Twisted Sister, so I am a big fan.

MG: Are they going to get you to engage in the “Killer Karaoke”?
Steve-O: I don’t think I will ever sing on the show. I really doubt it. In the beginning of every show, I do a little stunt. Whenever there was a break in the filming, I would pick up the skateboard and do some circus tricks. So I think a lot of that will make it onto the show also, which will also make it more fun to watch.

MG: Can you give us any insight into the rumored “Jackass 4”?
Steve-O: There is a project in the works. It is not a “Jackass” movie but is a spin-off. I think that it is the studio’s intention to get the entire cast involved. But they haven’t done that yet, so it is a little too early to talk about.

truTV Announces Premiere Dates for Three Compelling New Series

Network Reveals Premieres of New Seasons of Seven Returning Original Series, Plus the Debut of Hit Series Wipeout

TruTV – which is coming off another record-setting quarter in reaching young adults – has lined up an extensive programming slate for the end of 2011 that includes three new series, seven returning hits and the network’s biggest series acquisition ever.

The new series Bear Swamp Recovery, about a larger-than-life family-owned repo business, is set to debut Aug. 22, followed by the Sept. 14 premiere of Hulk Hogan’s MCW, which will take viewers behind the scenes of a new professional wrestling league. truTV’s third new series of the fall and winter, the hidden-camera prank series Impractical Jokers, will arrive in December.

On Sept. 2, truTV adds its biggest series acquisition, the popular competition show Wipeout. Seven of truTV’s original series are also set to return, including the hits Hardcore Pawn, Lizard Lick Towing, Full Throttle Saloon and Black Gold.

truTV just scored its most-watched second quarter ever in primetime delivery of three key demos: adults 18-49, men 18-34 and men 18-49. The network, which is growing in popularity with younger viewers, increased its delivery of adults 18-34 by 11% and men 18-34 by 7% in the second quarter.

The following is a rundown of truTV’s new and returning series for 2011:

New Original Series
Bear Swamp Recovery – New series premiering Monday, Aug. 22, with back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT)
Bear Swamp, where the business is big but the family is even bigger, follows PJ Vinch, who runs a booming New Jersey repo company with the help of his senior-with-an-attitude father and his teen son. With a repo order in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other, these bulky Sicilians never hesitate to take jobs other companies can’t handle, from massive construction equipment to luxury yachts at the Jersey shore to an entire fleet of racecars. They always get the goods, and they never miss a meal. Bear Swamp Recovery comes to truTV from Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment.

Hulk Hogan’s MCW – New series premieres Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Hulk Hogan, one of the legendary stars of pro wrestling, believes you need to start small if you want to win big. Now he’s lending his expertise to the new Micro Championship Wrestling, where he gives little wrestlers advice on recruiting, training and mentoring. It’s all with the goal of getting the MCW off the ground and into the arena. Hulk Hogan’s MCW comes to truTV from Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment.

Impractical Jokers – New series coming in December
Since they were kids, Sal, Murr, Q and Joe have dared one another to do the most ridiculous, humiliating public pranks imaginable. Now, to find out who’s best under pressure, they’ll compete in unbelievably awkward social experiments – all recorded on camera. The loser must do the most mortifying challenge ever. Impractical Jokers comes to truTV from NorthSouth Productions.

New Acquired Series
Wipeout – Acquired series to air Fridays at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), beginning Sept. 2
truTV has acquired exclusive, off-network cable rights to air this exciting series in which contestants face wildly outrageous barriers, from Big Balls to complex contraptions, for the chance at winning a cash prize. Wipeout, which is also shown in numerous international versions around the globe, ranks among the world’s top-rated game shows. The series was recently voted by Entertainment Weekly’s readers as “Reality TV’s Guiltiest Pleasure.”

Returning Series
Lizard Lick Towing – Season 1 returns Monday, Aug. 22, at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT); Season 2 coming in November
Las Vegas Jailhouse – Season 4 launches Sunday, Sept. 4, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Operation Repo – Season 9 launches Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT)
Police POV – Season 2 launches in November
Hardcore Pawn – Season 5 coming in November
Black Gold – Season 4 coming in November
Full Throttle Saloon – Season 3 coming in November