Joe Gatto’s Top 7 Moments In Show History


When Joe Gatto announced Saturday he was leaving Impractical Jokers, it read like an apocryphal tale, one that could only be spun up by a serious prankster. Alas, this news came with no hidden cameras, no one on the other side of the wall directing the action, no uncontrollable laughter once it was revealed we’d been duped all along. Joe said he and his wife Bessy were separating and that he needed to spend more time with his children, and no one can tell a father he’s making the wrong decision by putting his kids first. Still, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

During the early months of the pandemic, when there was little to smile or laugh about, I’d replay old clips of Impractical Jokers, finding myself erupting into laughter even when watching scenes I’d seen a handful of times. It kept me sane and balanced during a time that would’ve otherwise been downright depressing. Joe was a big reason for that. His inexplicable confidence, a willingness to take on almost any challenge despite knowing he’d look absurd doing it, is a never-ending delight.


Related: Impractical Jokers: Sal’s Most Cringeworthy Punishments, Ranked

Where the show goes from here — the other members Impractical Jokers cast insisted the show would still begin filming in January — is a mystery. Will they replace Joe or simply make do with a three-man crew? The show will still bring hilarious moments, no doubt, but certainly, it won’t be the same without its most fearless competitor. Here are Joe’s top seven moments:

7. Toilet Paper

This scene was special because it was the first time fans realized that Joe will literally do anything for a laugh. Granted, this was a punishment so Joe didn’t have much of a choice. But unlike other punishments that make some of the cast members visually uncomfortable, Joe embraced the role of opening a bathroom door and begging a full house of coffee shop patrons to lend him some toilet paper. He was absolutely shameless in his delivery, setting the stage for many more iconic punishments to come.

6. Dishonor the dead

This was such a well-orchestrated challenge. The other guys set Joe up to look like a complete jerk in front of a crowd by telling him the presenter wants him to play the instruments, when in reality he was apparently — not actually — dishonoring a dead music prodigy by placing his lips on the mouthpiece/reed and going to town. The comedy is aided by the fact that Joe doesn’t have any training with brass, woodwinds or the Chinese language and winds up making a complete fool out of himself in a way that only Joe could.

5. Staredown

This one was perhaps more uncomfortable than funny, but it was an iconic Joe moment because it exemplified his willingness to do literally anything, even if it potentially put him in harm’s way. It also showed Joe’s vulnerable side, as he was clearly not enjoying this one at all but nonetheless sucked it up regardless. The headphones and the hoagie were a nice touch as well. There are some moments where it’s hard to believe someone the guys didn’t get sucker punched more often for their ridiculous antics and this time was certainly one of them.

4. Merman

One of Joe’s most endearing qualities was his ability to be comfortable with his body, even making jokes about his portly figure. The other guys leaned into that in this punishment, placing a plate of donuts on one side of the beach and fitting Joe in a mermaid costume on the other end. He didn’t make it all the way, but it almost didn’t matter. He’d been embarrassed enough.

3. Table Breaker

This is one of those punishments that only Joe would have the guts to complete. Who else would be brave enough to sit on a man’s plate of food while he’s enjoying his lunch just to see if the table would break? The visuals in this scene are so hilarious, from Joe’s belly splayed across a table that won’t snap to him slipping and falling again after jumping from a ladder to crash his last table, it’s one of the best pairings of perfect punishment for the perfect cast member. This was clearly designed for Joe to attack and he nailed it, even if he was likely sore for days afterward.

2. Genie

This is another punishment where it’s hard to believe Joe wasn’t genuinely injured during the filming. The premise was simple: dress Joe up like a genie and send him crashing into the set while actors attempt to get through their serious lines. From Joe almost losing his drawers to him punching a wall for no apparent reason, this is physical comedy at its best. Joe doesn’t have to do much here, just get flown around like a ragdoll, and hilarity ensues.

1. Skoopski Potatoes

If there is one seminal Joe Gatto moment, it is this: SKOOPSKI POTAAATOOOOES! Whether he was hopped up on adrenaline, or simply has an affinity for mashed potatoes, it’s unclear. But Joe dominated this challenge, deciding that the best way to scoop the most mashed potatoes onto strangers’ plates is to make them laugh uncontrollably so that they’re less focused on their tarnished meal and more focused on what made-up language you’re speaking. The women were laughing so hard they were actually crying, and many people who saw this for the first time likely were too.

Impractical Jokers has been forced to adapt in recent years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a heightened awareness about what is and isn’t appropriate to joke about. While some of the jokes in the earlier seasons have aged poorly, as is common with most comedy shows that aired pre-2015, countless scenes remain entrenched as classic funny moments that can be replayed over and over again and still be just as funny. Fortunately, Joe will still be doing comedy, even if its apart from the men with which he’s devoted so much chemistry. And maybe, sometime down the road, he’ll be able to make time for a guest appearance.

Next: Impractical Jokers: 10 Jokes That Went Too Far

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