Joe Gatto, one of the founding members of the comedy group The Tenderloins and stars of truTV’s prank show “Impractical Jokers,” has announced he is exiting the group.
Gatto shared the news on Friday night, saying that he and his wife have separated and he wishes to spend time focusing on co-parenting his children.
“Sorry in advance for the long and more-serious-than-usual note below, I just wanted to let you all know that I will no longer be involved with ‘Impractical Jokers,’” Gatto wrote. “Alongside my friends, I’ve devoted a decade of my life to building this franchise and couldn’t be prouder of what has been accomplished. However, due to some issues in my personal life, I have to step away. Bessy and I have decided to amicably part ways, so now I need to focus on being the best father and co-parent to our two incredible kids.”
Gatto formed The Tenderloins with his high school friends Sal Vulcano, Brian “Q” Quinn and James “Murr” Murray in 1999, going on to perform sketch comedy and improv. TruTV launched “Impractical Jokers” with the comedians in 2011.
The rest of the members shared a statement saying that “Impractical Jokers” will keep going without Gatto, and they’ll resume making a “new chapter” in January.
“Hi everyone, so here we are…After all these years together, we never imagined making ‘Impractical Jokers’ without Joe. While we are saddened to see him go, we want to keep making people laugh, keep our relationship working with the members of our team that we consider family. With the support of our fans, we’ll get back to making a new chapter of ‘Impractical Jokers’ in January,” Murray, Quinn and Vulcano said in a statement.
“Impractical Jokers” was renewed for Season 10 this fall, with a premiere date yet to be announced. The show follows the comedians as they force each other to publicly prank strangers and humiliate themselves. A feature-length film with the group was released in February 2020. Guest stars on the series have included Joey Fatone, Jeff Daniels, Jameela Jamil, Harry Conick Jr. and many more.
In the rest of his note, Gatto praised his co-stars and the “Impractical Jokers” team.
“Outside of my family, my relationships with Murr, Q and Sal have been the most important in my life,” he wrote. “I know they will continue to make the world laugh. And even though the four of us are the ones who you all see, this show is only possible due to the hard work of the talented crew members who work behind the scenes. I am very thankful to have worked with each and every one of them. To all of the amazing fans, thank you for allowing me to make you laugh with Jokers. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and I hope I’ve been able to provide some of that over the last decade. Seeing you laugh has been my own medicine, particularly in these weird and difficult times we find ourselves. As I work through the challenges I am facing, I hope to and am excited to create new ways to entertain you.”