Last week, BBC Three confirmed the return of hidden camera show Impractical Jokers. Giggle Beats' Nic Wright reports on how a channel that communicates solely in hashtags has revived the prank show format - and why they should bring it to Tyneside.Nic Wright, Giggle Beats, 10th July 2013
This prank show was one of a series of online pilots for BBC Three, which I reviewed for a previous Gigglebox column.
Out of all of the pilots that BBC Three had to offer earlier in the year, this was deemed to be so successful that it needed a series almost immediately (after all, prank shows are cheap to make, especially in these financially tight times). I was glad, because out of all of them this one was the most surprising, in the sense that it's a prank show that's actually good.
The premise is that four comedians, Joel Dommet, Roisin Conaty, Paul McCaffrey and Marek Larwood, are each given a series of challenges. As one comic performs in front of hidden cameras, the other three force them to do humiliating things in front of their unsuspecting audience. The comedian who fails to do as they're told the most is forced to do a final forfeit at the end of the show. Great stuff.
The show's so successful, of course, because of the people involved. They're all professional comedians. In most prank shows, it's just members of the public who are all unwittingly doing something stupid. In Impractical Jokers however, all four performers know how to get the most from the situations and get those extra laughs. It can be as simple as constantly saying "peek-a-boo" while washing someone's hair, to pretending you're remembering something by tapping your nose on a customer's knee.
If I were to have any complaints about the series it would be with the cartoonish opening sequence and animation that they use, which is too annoying for my liking. Other than that it's a hit.Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 19th November 2012
The hidden camera show is given a cruel twist in Impractical Jokers, awarded a full run here after a pilot earlier in the year. Here the stooge thrown out into the general public is forced to perform increasingly embarrassing acts of humiliation at the hands of the other performers in the show, who gleefully order fellow cast members to do the unspeakable through an earpiece while watching them squirm on a monitor. Joel Dommett, Roisin Conaty, Paul McCaffrey and Marek Larwood are the victims/perpetrators.Ben Arnold, The Guardian, 12th November 2012