Hold up … before you crucify me for daring to pick a favorite Impractical Joker, which is like being forced to pick your favorite child, or pick your favorite dish at a Chinese restaurant (ok, this one might be just me), I want to highlight this is not about picking a favorite in that way. My favorite Joker can change episode to episode, and even within episodes. And we all know the key to the show is the genuine friendship between the guys, with the whole being greater than the individual parts.
This ranking is about appreciating the underlying skill, art, and performance of Joe, Sal, Murr, and Q, which often gets overlooked. We all watch the show to laugh, but there is a competition going on, as well. In order to find the “best” all around Joker, I broke it down into 4 categories: Versatility, Reactions, Guts, and Performance. I rank each Joker (1-4) within the categories, and the Joker who ends up with the least amount of points is our winner. Let’s get started:
Versatility – Whether saying stupid stuff to strangers in the park, or giving a business presentation to people dressed in suits, the Jokers need to blend in seamlessly in order to get the thumbs up.
1) Murr – One second he looks like “the government in a suit,” and the next he transforms perfectly into a pedophile lurking on the outskirts of a playground, or a pervert hiding in the bushes. A true chameleon.
2) Joe – Like Denzel Washington playing himself in every movie, Joe plays his different roles in a similar manner. He doesn’t change his personality around the role, he changes the role around his personality. It is a great shortcut if you have the ability to do it, and both Denzel and Joe do it well (I know you never thought Denzel Washington and Joey Gatto would be mentioned in the same sentence, but you were wrong).
3) Q – Will not overact a role, which makes him very believable. Finds a way to stay grounded in reality, no matter how crazy he is forced to act.
4) Sal – Wears his heart on his sleeve, and it does not lend well to blending into the more formal, business oriented tasks. He just can’t keep a straight face, but we love him for it.
Reactions – The Jokers can’t control how the public is going to react to their antics, but it is nonetheless a key part of the show. This category is for the Joker who gets the best reactions out of people.
1) Q – “Don’t call me mustache.” Need I say more?
2) Sal – This is where wearing your heart on your sleeve pays off. No matter what Sal says or does, people still feel comfortable around him, and very rarely clam up.
3) Murr – His ability to slip into any character is the same skill that makes people act a bit careful around him. He is almost too slick. But watching people slowly step away from him can be hysterical in its own right.
4) Joe – His own worst enemy, as he is just too damn funny. The people he is trying to get a reaction from, laugh just as much as we are laughing at home (and just as much as the other Jokers behind the camera as well).
Guts – Pretty self-explanatory.
1) Joe – Manages to keep his dignity no matter what he is forced to do. In fact, he is a master at turning whatever situation he is thrown in around in his favor.
2) Q – You can see Q flip a switch in his mind and decide he will do whatever it takes to win a task. He tried to grab another man’s crotch in the middle of a public park. If that won’t slow him down, nothing will.
3) Sal – You can sometimes see the hesitation on his face, but it does not prevent him from conquering his fears, and he seems to have a few of them (heights, germs, claustrophobia, hairless cats, etc …).
4) Murr – Random things will make Murr tap out when you least expect it. He will say some of the most offensive, crazy stuff on the show, but then refuse to say something relatively tame. The unpredictability lands him 4th in this category.
Performance – Although it is a competition, it is a TV show as well, and the masses must be entertained.
1) Sal – Can sing. Can dance. Has quick wit when he is not falling over in laughter. The total package.
2) Murr – Always has the big picture in mind. You can see him try to balance winning the task, with entertaining the fans at home.
3) Joe – Funny when he isn’t even trying. Dives belly first into every task, with comedy his number one goal.
4) Q – Has laser-like focus on winning the task, and might not always ham it up at the risk of a thumbs down.
Joe – 10
Sal – 10
Murr – 10
Q – 10
A four-way tie! This completely scientific study proves that it is in fact impossible to pick the best Impractical Joker. I should be ashamed for even trying.
By Michael Halpern