Sal Vulcano is best known as one of the “Jokers” on the reality TV series “Impractical Jokers.” The show follows him and his best friends with hidden cameras as they dare each other to embarrass themselves in the streets of New York City.
And while Vulcano is often in MKE touring the “Impractical Jokers” live show, this week he’s in the city for his standup. He’ll be taking the stage at the Pabst Theater tonight for a set that shares stories from his personal life and other observational humor.
The ninth season of “Impractical Jokers” also premiered this week on TruTV. For the first time ever, the friends brought in special guests for every episode including Eric André, Method Man, Rob Riggle and more.
We sat down with the comedian to talk about his set, how to incorporate more shenanigans in your day-to-day life and why the Jokers haven’t shot a travel episode in Milwaukee yet.
Milwaukee Magazine: How exciting is it to be back on tour?
Sal Vulcano: Oh my god. I mean, it’s the best. Prior to the pandemic, it would have been like maybe two weeks – that was the most I hadn’t been on stage since I started comedy. So after, like 24 months it’s been just so great to be up in front a live audience again, and to be able to be in the moment with them. There’s nothing like being on stage.
MM: Tell us a bit about your show. What can audiences expect?
SV: I’m all over the place. But you know, I’m an observational comedian, and I tell personal stories about my life. The feedback we always get is that fans [of the show] want to hang out with us, so I think if you come away after an hour of my show, you’re probably going to get to know a lot more about me. I don’t know how funny this description is, but it’s escapist. My stuff isn’t controversial or edgy, and I don’t talk politics. I just want people to come and forget about everything for an hour and have a laugh.
MM: Imagine you’re talking directly to Milwaukeeans and you have to convince them that this show is worth their time and dollar. How would you pitch it to them?
SV: I’m a 20-year veteran comedian. Listen, I’m a great guy. I love what I do and these shows have been a blast. You know, I laugh along with it. I’m very in the moment at these shows, and getting up on stage for me, I’m having a blast from start to finish. That’s my goal for the audience too. So listen, I can only get through there like once a year so this is this is the chance to see me.
MM: When you tour with the Jokers, do you still pull pranks around town off camera? Or is it more casual and you just enjoy yourselves on your visits?
SV: People will come up to me and they’ll be like, ‘Oh my god, am I on the show right now?’ Like, no, I’m just having brunch.
MM: Have you ever shot an episode of “Impractical Jokers” in Milwaukee?
SV: When we do travel episodes, we try to do something that is a different look than New York. So not just like another regional city but we’ve gone to London and Texas and Miami and Hawaii. You know, it’s so funny. Every time they say, “do you want to do a road episode?” we try to suggest something tropical. I think they caught on because we did a cruise in Miami and then Hawaii.
MM: I don’t know if I’d call Milwaukee a tropical destination, but we do have cruise ships and beaches.
SV: I’ll have to look into that.
MM: What do you think of it here?
SV: I love coming to Milwaukee – I even have a little day planned! It’s so silly, but I have a store [where] I always go to shop and there’s some good restaurants there.
MM: Any shops or restaurants you want to shoutout?
SV: There’s a really cool store that I love going to called MODA3. I’m a sneaker guy and a streetwear guy and oh my god, this place is really cool. If there’s any local people that are going to read this and they don’t know about it, I would say check it out. Because I make it a point to go there every time. And there’s there’s a really cool spot I love for brunch at the Iron Horse Hotel. It’s by the water, actually right by the river.
MM: Congratulations on the upcoming season of “Impractical Jokers!” Ten years, nine seasons, that’s pretty incredible. How has the show changed in that long?
SV: So June 16 is when the new episodes for season nine start. We started filming it before the pandemic in 2019. So it’s the longest season in 10 years we’ve ever had to complete. It’s been great every year. We try to change the show a bit to come up with different ideas, ways to evolve the show and keep it fresh – and make sure we’re having fun, too. For the first time ever, we’re having guests on every episode. So we reached out to a lot of our friends and people that were organic to us that we wanted to do stuff with. This season we had on Eric André, Method Man, Rob Riggle, David Cross, Jillian Bell, Brooke Shields, Chris Jericho and Adam Pally.
MM: How did these guests like Eric André react to being pulled into this level of shenanigans? Is it is it a little bit of a shock factor, or do they just dive right in?
SV: Well, you know, Eric Andre. It’s not a shock factor to him. He’s a he’s a lovable lunatic. Most of the people that came in, we truly had relationships with so they know us, they know the show and they were just fans and really excited to be part of it. And for the most part, they’re really helping us get each other. So it’s been great to see them come on and and just take the ball and run with it.
MM: After 10 years, what would you say is your favorite part about still being on this show?
SV: We always said that if we weren’t still having like true fun, then maybe we just stop and kind of move on to other projects… To this day, after 10 years, I’m still not over the fact that this is my main job. Because it’s so much fun. So my favorite part has to be that like no matter what, I can count on it just being such a unique fun experience – and we’re still laughing!
MM: Would you recommend incorporating a little more pranking and shenanigans into your daily life, even if it’s not on camera?
SV: I think we could all take a lesson on not taking ourselves too seriously. That’s what we preach on the show. That’s how I live, too. So I would say absolutely, man, at any given point in the day, just fool around, you know, why not? Do something unexpected, make a memory, make someone laugh.
MM: I think some people could use some tips for how to get started.
SV: Make it personal. How about that? That’s kind of what we do because we know each other so well on the show. Don’t mess with someone you don’t know that well. I would say start with family, people you know well and keep it in-house and maybe make it personal.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.