TruTV's The Tenderloins: The Tender Side of Self-Abuse
Candid Camera and Allen Funt started it in the 1960s. Ashton Kutcher continued it, 21st-century style, with Punk'd. Late-night talk show hosts still revel in it. Even lovable funnywomen like Ellen DeGeneres and Betty White capitalize on the sure-fire laughs delivered by hidden cameras focusing on an unsuspecting, often-mortified public.
Photo courtesy of The Tenderloins The Tenderloins: Brian Quinn, James "Murr" Murray, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano.
But innocents need not fear The Tenderloins' antics, as featured on truTV's Impractical Jokers. The onus of this particular improv-cum-sketch-comedy show, which comes to Bayou Music Center on January 17, is not on bystanders but on its cast members themselves.
"We describe the show as an upside-down prank show," troupe founder James "Murr" Murray says, sounding far more like a contributor to the Oprah Winfrey Network than the YouTube-y, reality-based truTV. "The joke is on us, instead of on the public.
Prior to their Houston show and performances in Dallas and Austin spotlighting The Tenderloins' sketch comedy strength, Murr et al. plan to film segments for Impractical Jokers at various H-Town locations. "We're going to be filming all around Texas for a full week," he warns, scouting "classic Texas locations and Texas activities -- things that, as New Yorkers, we know nothing about."
Where will they be shooting? I query, hoping to offer Murr some ideas for prime shooting locations that are uniquely Houstonian.
"It's a hidden-camera show! We don't want fans showing up!" Murr says, refusing an insider's assistance.