Impractical Jokers 'Santiago Sent Us' tour, starring The Tenderloins | Review by Steve Bennett at the O2, London

Impractical Jokers 'Santiago Sent Us' tour, starring The Tenderloins

Review by Steve Bennett at the O2, London

In Impractical Jokers, New York comedy troupe The Tenderloins invigorate the prank TV format with the teasing laddish banter you can only really get with four friends who've known each other since youth.

Their live tour, Santiago Sent Us, similarly rests on the appeal of their personality – but that’s about all it has going for it.

Fans may get a buzz from being in the same room as their pals from the TV – even if that room is the soulless Woe2 Arena; a venue with worse acoustics than your average railway station. But there is very little sense the comics have put much effort into creating a show for the occasion.  Considering the giant payday the quartet of Joe Gatto, Murr Murray, Brian Quinn, and Sal Vulcano will be getting for playing to up to 15,000 people a night – with four nights in London alone - this ‘audience with…’ format disappoints.

They can't, of course, recreate the hidden camera stunts on stage – but it's telling that the funniest moments involve playing footage of some of the outrageous dares from Impractical Jokers on the massive screen. Including, as a finale, Murr eating dog shit. There’s certainly an ‘oh my god, did he really do that?’ excitement in the room when that’s played.

In between, they each take a turn at telling stand-up anecdotes with occasional interjections from their mates, which feel surprisingly scripted given their improv background. The stories hold mild interest – a road-rage incident, checking out a suspected break-in with a cop, gushing over Wendy’s calorie-packed Baconator burger – but they over-sold, and soon becomes dull. 

The chief joke in their arsenal is to say: 'you look like…' and unleash a round-robin of insults at each other. ‘Rosie O’Donnell banged a Sasquatch’, ‘someone left Jack Black in a microwave’ and so on… Even Joe’s poor, decrepit dog gets a barrage of abuse, while in another clip they joshed each other about how they looked when they appeared on the Katie Couric morning show. 

It’s all pretty simple, unsophisticated stuff – as if you couldn’t tell from that dog poop clip. Even though the Tenderloins all seem endearingly delighted to be here – as well they might – just being good, jocular guys doesn’t seem enough to justify charging up to £70 a ticket.

Support came from Owen Benjamin, whose bland, tired observations about women and dogs fell flat – at one point he blamed the silence that greeted a punchline on the UK not understanding feet and inches! – although he mustered an occasional laugh with his musical gags, despite their self-indulgence.

• The Impractical Jokers 'Santiago Sent Us' tour starring The Tenderloins visits Dublin's 3Arena tomorrow, Glasgow’s SSE Hydro on Wednesday, the Manchester Arena on Thursday and Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Friday before returning to the O2 on Saturday and Sunday. The new series of Impractical Jokers starts on Comedy Central at 10pm tonight

Review date: 9 Jan 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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