Fans know him as a comedian and one of the core four on truTV's Impractical Jokers that follows a group of lifelong friends as they take on the most absurd, often hilarious dares they can come up with. But James Murray — affectionally known as “Murr” by his friends and fans — is also the author of several sci-fi books (with a handful more on the way!), including the final installment of the Awakened thriller trilogy, Obliteration, out June 23.
Before doing a live reading from a standalone chapter of his new thriller — “It’s just a really scary, single standalone chapter; characters you'll never see again” — Murr reveals his dream cast for Awakened (a few Impractical Jokers members make the cut) and his latest plans to make the books into a TV show or movie. He also talked about his new quarantine prank show with the Impractical Jokers gang, their friendship with co-creator Justin Roiland, and their plans for a future animated project (cartoon Jokers, anyone?).
Murr also provided us with a detailed plan in the case of a zombie apocalypse and exactly how he would prank Elon Musk, but not before advising the Tesla CEO to maybe just stay off Twitter altogether.
“He’s pranking the world right now," Murray tells Inverse. "It’s hard to prank such a master."
Below are the highlights from Inverse Happy Hour with James Murray, but check out the full interview and reading in the video above.
On pitching Awakened as a TV show — “My background is in TV development; that's how we ended up selling Impractical Jokers. For like a decade I was the head of development for a TV company that makes lots of TV shows, including Impractical Jokers. And so whenever I write anything, I'm always writing with the intention of developing it as a TV series or movie. The Awakened trilogy is no different. It reads like an episode of 24 the TV show.”
“And so when I first came out with Awakened, we had an option to buy IDW to develop into a TV series, and as happens often in TV, our main executive there ended up leaving the company. And so it kind of died on the vine, which happens all the time in TV. So now we're at the stage where now that we have the trilogy done, and the hardcover is about to come out for book three, we put these great pitch decks together with the entire trilogy and summary of each book and a pitch deck as to how it will be developed into a TV show, and also simultaneously how to develop them into standalone movies. And once we're able to leave our homes, I’ll be out pitching it again.”
We only recommend books we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article.
On an Impractical Jokers movie almost going to space — “We did something years ago. I did a joint ice bucket challenge with Yanni the musician. And he's friends with everybody at NASA, and he's friends with Scott Kelly, the astronaut up in the space station, and he dared him to do it. And then I got a tour of the Johnson Space Center by an astronaut and got to like go on the floor. It was really, really cool because Q and I are huge NASA fans, too. I would love it.”
“And we were supposed to in the Impractical Jokers movie that came out. We were supposed to film a challenge at NASA at the Kennedy Space Center down in Florida because the movie goes from New York down to Florida. And we couldn't get the schedule to work. I think the closest we'll get is filming at the Kennedy Space Center. I think that will happen one day.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
A huge thanks to Murray for joining us!