Joe Gatto, co-founder of the comedy troupe The Tenderloins, announced on Friday night that he is stepping away from the Impractical Jokers franchise to focus on his family.
Impractical Jokers, which also stars fellow Tenderloins founders James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn and Sal Vulcano, was renewed for a 10th season back in February. The back half of Season 9 starts shooting this month.
In his Instagram post, Gatto said, “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. [Wife] 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.
“Outside of my family, my relationships with Murr, Q and Sal have been the most important in my life. I know they will continue to make the world laugh,” Gatto continued. “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.”
Murray in turn shared a joint message from him, Quinn and Vulcano, which said, “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.”
Gatto closed out his farewell message by saying, “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.”