Joe Gatto, one of the stars of Impractical Jokers, has announced he’s leaving the long-running comedy show. In an Instagram post on Saturday, he said that he “couldn’t be prouder” of what the show has accomplished since its debut in 2011 but that he needed to step away because of some personal issues. He also announced his separation from his wife.
“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,” he 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 mentioned that his relationship with his co-stars James "Murr" Murray, Brian "Q" Quinn, Sal Vulcano were some of the “most important” of his life and also thanked the cast and crew. He concluded with a message to the fans of the show, thanking them for the past 10 years.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Gatto's Impractical Jokers castmates also responded to the news with a statement of their own, writing that they were "saddened to see him go" but that they would return with a new chapter in January.
Impractical Jokers was first broadcast in 2011. The hidden camera reality show follows the four long-time friends as they compete in sets of comedic challenges with improvisational elements, with a winner declared in every episode. The loser of the episode has to face a "punishment" challenge which they cannot decline. The show has spawned four spin-offs and a film called Impractical Jokers: The Movie in 2020.