James "Murr" Murray: Always Up for a Challenge

March 4, 2022

Photo Credit

James Murray


Valerie Lopez


Valerie Lopez


James Murray Live in Austin

"Murr" of Impractical Jokers is taking his solo act on the road and has 2 shows in Austin! Grab your tickets and head to the Paramount Stateside (Click the date/time for ticket link)

Head to our Youtube chan­nel to watch Valerie inter­view James!!

This arti­cle brought to you by The Speed of Light”. That’s because we got a last minute chance to sit down across the online meet­ing screen from each oth­er ahead of James Mur­ray’s Austin appear­ances at the Para­mount State­side The­ater on Sat­ur­day March 5, 2002. Tick­ets are lim­it­ed for the 1pm and 4pm sleep-deprived set who like to be in their paja­mas by 8pm. You should grab yours (the tick­ets, not the paja­mas) the moment you read this article. 

Now that the hard work of get­ting the imme­di­ate plugs is done, let me say that this was one of the eas­i­est inter­views to pre­pare for. We are a fam­i­ly of fans of Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers. I have mem­o­ries going back as far as the launch of Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers of my son and I vis­it­ing my mom and watch­ing hours upon hours of IJ (as the fans call it) since he was a wee one. So, I feel like we’ve known Murr” for almost a decade. Which explains why I asked my son to con­tribute a ques­tion for the inter­view (not mom, she would have just asked if he was tak­ing his vit­a­mins). I know Murr as the ball­sy one who has had to suf­fer wear­ing Q’s hair wig, and steal­ing cig­a­rettes from agi­tat­ed unsus­pect­ing vic­tims. The num­ber of times my son and I have yelled he’s going to get beat up” specif­i­cal­ly about Murr is near­ly infi­nite. What we’ve always loved about Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers is the pranks aren’t direct­ed out­ward at strangers, they’re direct­ed square­ly at the group of friends who’ve been best friends since high school. The depic­tion of cama­raderie is the most pow­er­ful mes­sage that I get out of this show. Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers is in its 9th sea­son and Mur­ray revealed dur­ing the inter­view, he had just filmed a chal­lenge from the 10th sea­son. The Jok­ers are our friends, these are the pals we joke around with and play pranks on. They are us. 

In, 2018, my son and I took a trek to San Anto­nio to watch the Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers live show. It was then we learned that Murr was an author. After the show, he did a book sign­ing for his debut book Awak­ened. I’m kick­ing myself that I did­n’t grab a signed copy then, but the road trip back home was call­ing. The book is an adven­ture and a bit of a thriller. It also kicked off the hey, let’s write a book a year” pace that Mur­ray has been fol­low­ing. All books are avail­able on Ama­zon and the first of his 2022 books is aimed at the mid­dle school set (the prime IJ audi­ence, so it’s a smart move). Area 51 Interns is avail­able for pre-order now. His sec­ond 2022 book will be avail­able in Octo­ber With his bur­geon­ing book career and his over­full act­ing career (in addi­tion to Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers the TruTV sta­ple, there’s the Ten­der­loins live tour dates, and there’s the lat­est TV hit, The Mis­ery Index), how does Mur­ray find the time? 

We’ve heard it before.…..love what you do and you’ll nev­er work a day in your life. Mur­ray’s ver­sion is when every­thing is a pas­sion, noth­ing feels like work.”. Etsy — let’s get this on some posters and paint­ed wood­en planks. That’s some sage per­spec­tive. By the way, it also helps that Mur­ray, a life­long bach­e­lor, found and mar­ried the love of his life a few years ago. He quick­ly admits that being mar­ried has added nec­es­sary bal­ance to his life brim­ming with cre­ative projects.

When everything is a passion, nothing feels like work
James Murray

While he’s a suc­cess today, he admits that it’s all a wait­ing game of hard work and patience. It took 11 years of fail­ure to break out with Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers. His first book Awak­ened was writ­ten in 2003, but no one picked it up until 2018. Once they did, it became a #1 inter­na­tion­al best sell­er. Any­one read­ing this has to be inspired by this sto­ry. You’re sim­ply not human if you aren’t moti­vat­ed to keep work­ing hard know­ing that what you love to do will even­tu­al­ly become what sus­tains you. 

After achiev­ing glob­al suc­cess with the Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers, why did Mur­ray decide to strike out with his per­son­al tour, Murr Live? As Mur­ray tells it being in front of audi­ences, there’s no bet­ter feel­ing.” and that crav­ing became the impe­tus for cre­at­ing Murr Live, his indi­vid­ual tour­ing show which fea­tures improv and standup per­for­mances. But he’s just as excit­ed that The Ten­der­loins are going back on tour as a group soon.

Aside from Mur­ray’s infec­tious enthu­si­asm dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tion, you’re also struck by how down to earth he is. Lit­er­al­ly. His lat­est pas­sion project is his grow­ing veg­etable gar­den. There’s noth­ing more charm­ing than hear­ing an inter­na­tion­al­ly famous comic/​actor/​author/​producer/​etc. rat­tle off with utter glee the exten­sive list of fruits and veg­eta­bles that he and his wife have been grow­ing. So, if you’re look­ing to bring Mur­ray a gift, you’d best con­sid­er bring­ing a veg­etable plant or seed. He uniron­i­cal­ly believes that in anoth­er uni­verse he would be a farmer. Stay tuned for Murr Farms (We’ve seen this before, right New­man’s Own?) com­ing to a farmer’s mar­ket near you

Being in front of audiences, there's no better feeling
James Murray

On the oth­er hand, when talk­ing about his nov­els, Mur­ray was very quick to rec­om­mend Stow­away as one of his favorite ser­i­al killer books that he’s writ­ten and teas­ing that he’s got anoth­er sched­uled for release this fall and next year. And I’m con­fi­dent that at least one of his books is going to be hit­ting a screen at some point. Whether you believe Mur­ray is a whole­some farmer exud­ing pos­i­tiv­i­ty or an author capa­ble of grab­bing you through ser­i­al killer, mon­ster, and alien forces, you’re in for a good time. 

I’m hap­py I got to know Mur­ray bet­ter in our short inter­view togeth­er, but what makes me real­ly hap­py is that the char­ac­ter” on Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers, isn’t real­ly a char­ac­ter. It’s Murr — fun­ny, hap­py, opti­mistic, with a good dose of mis­chie­vous ener­gy. What will he take on as his next chal­lenge — will it be a movie based on one (or all) of his books? adding a noto­ri­ous­ly dif­fi­cult veg­etable to his farm? or just jok­ing around with his best friends? Either way, he’s assured us the stage beck­ons him, so we’ll get plen­ty of chances to see him perform. 

Fol­low James

James can be seen, heard, and read:

  • Ten­der­loins
  • Books
    • The Awak­ened Tril­o­gy: Awak­ened, The Brink, and Oblit­er­a­tion
    • Don’t Move
    • The Stow­away
    • Area 51 Interns (pre-order now for release March 152022)
  • TV
    • Imprac­ti­cal Jokers
    • The Mis­ery Index
  • Film
    • The Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers Movie
  • Per­form­ing live in a city near you! Check his web­site for dates
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James "Murr" Murray