Comedy group, The Tenderloins — more commonly known as the Impractical Jokers — have returned to Manchester to kick off their tour after mere months since their UK debut back in January. Sal, Murr, Joe and Q delighted the audience again and again with their own special brand of improvised humour.
The show was opened by comedian and actor, Steve Bryne. Aside from his previous accolades — such as opening for Kanye West — Byrne has also been friends with the Jokers for many years so it seemed the obvious choice that he should open for them on the UK leg of their tour.
It is fair to say that crowd wasn’t exactly with him at the start, with a few scattered titters from the audience. This may be because of the cultural differences and his Trump jokes not exactly causing stir, however he soon cottoned on and realised that audience participation was the way to our hearts and laughs. The picking of audience members to join him on stage as part of his ‘boy band’ was a delight to watch and his trademark to-the-point humour came into light here — as well as the 4 men giving a lady the best lap dance of her life!
The moments before we get to see the Jokers, a clip of all their best moments from the show is played and then we are welcomed a group who seem honoured to be welcomed by a standing ovation, before they’ve even said anything. Even if this is not your type of humour, you are sure to be amazed by the connection between the Jokers and their fans. Part of this definitely comes from the fact they come across as exactly the same as they do in their show, and therefore when you see the joy they bring their fans, you realise the connection is very rare.
The show as a whole is brilliantly concocted of a mixture of moments: from rehearsed anecdotes, improvised grilling’s of begrudging audience members and behind the scenes clips of the show. The video clips were a sure favourite of mine and everyone else, if anything it allowed us to see how the friendships of The Tenderloins has remained the same over the years only to be lovingly put under the spotlight by Comedy Central.
When they asked the audience how many of them had been to a show of theirs before, a lot of hands went up, much to the surprise of first-timers — like myself. They used this to segue into moments in previous live performances where people have seen them before and then began to tell elaborate and almost unbelievable tales about fans that became friends — however all of these were backed up with photo evidence, making the stories all the funnier.
The second of the two standing ovations that the Jokers received came nearer the end of the show, when they said that they were donating all proceeds made tonight back into our great city via the We Love Manchester Fund — set up following the Manchester Arena bombings to support the victims and the families.
This humbling moment from the group really touched everyone in the audience and you could tell that every word about how they loved our city, was true. This emphasised the clear value they have to preserving the joy of live entertainment and performance, and was a testament to their showmanship.
It was clear to see everyone enjoyed the night however if shows that don’t follow a particular structure, aren’t your cup of tea, this is not the one for you. What makes the Jokers special is the fact that their minds are racing towards several ideas at once and those moments are unique to each show.
The show as a whole was certainly one of pure energy and excitement; seeing their own brand of comedy, live and evolving in front of my eyes was a real treat, and the energy that they brought out was electric and instantly mirrored by the audience.