Brian “Q” Quinn, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, and James “Murr” Murray are now globally-known celebrities, earning such status in the most unlikely of ways: pranking each other. Through their truTV hit series “Impractical Jokers,” the four jokesters have become small screen icons due to their collective gift of making each other look like fools in public. Of course, the quartet didn’t just pop up out of the ground one day ready to take the television world by storm. They had to work hard to make their show a reality, exploring different avenues on their road to success.Most famously, prior to the introduction of the “Impractical Jokers” series, Sal, Joe, Q, and Murr rose to prominence as the comedy troupe known as the Tenderloins. The group was first formed in 1999, consisting of Joe, Murr, Sal, Mike Boccio, and Gideon Horowitz, with Q eventually replacing Horowitz and Boccio. As the 2000s rolled on, the troupe picked up in terms of popularity, thanks to their online sketches. This would inevitably lead the four comedians to TV, where they’d put together “Impractical Jokers” and become pop culture sensations.
However, before the formation of the Tenderloins and long before “Impractical Jokers” reached the airwaves, Murr attempted to launch a career in filmmaking. Suffice to say, this venture didn’t pan out.Way back in 1998, James Murray directed, wrote, and appeared in a low-budget production titled “Damned!” An absurd comedy at its core, the film takes on three famous Biblical stories and sets them in a modern context. With its late-1990s student film aesthetic, far from Oscar-worthy performances, and amateur writing, “Damned!” is low-budget filmmaking in its purest form. If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, you can watch it in its entirety for free by simply looking it up on YouTube.
Considering how few people knew about “Damned!” for many years of its existence, it’s no stretch to say that the film didn’t launch Murr into Hollywood superstardom. Although, thanks to the project that would ultimately make him a household name, “Impractical Jokers,” the movie would find some mainstream attention. For the Season 8 episode “Damned If You Do,” Sal, Q, and Joe dusted off “Damned!” for Murr’s punishment. He had no choice but to sit through a screening of the film alongside a legitimate film critic and a packed theater audience. Worse yet, once the screening concluded, he had to endure a string of questions about it.