JOE Gatto, one of the stars of Impractical Jokers, has announced he is leaving the prank show.
Gatto, 45, who announced the news on his Instagram page Friday night, said he made an “amicable” split with his wife Bessy and wanted to spend time co-parenting his children.
As part of comedy troupe The Tenderloins with James "Murr" Murray, Brian "Q" Quinn, and Sal Vulcano, Gatto headlined and executive produced the TruTV series which was renewed for a tenth season this fall.
“I just wanted to let you all know that I will no longer be involved with ‘Impractical Jokers,'” Gatto 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 and his high-school friend formed The Tenderloins in 1999, going on to perform improv and sketch comedy.
Impractical Jokers was launched in 2011.
The remaining members said in a statement that Impractical Jokers would keep going without Gatto and added they would resume making a “new chapter” in January.
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"Hi everyone, so here we are… After all these years together, we never imagined making ImpracticalJokers without Joe," the statement from Murray, Quinn, and Vulcano said. "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."
The popular show follows the comedians as they force one another to prank strangers and humiliate themselves in public.
A number of famous faces have appeared on the show, including Harry Connick Jr, Jameela Jamil and Jeff Daniels.
A spin-off feature film featuring the group was released in February 2020.
Gatto also praised his co-stars in his post.
“Outside of my family, my relationships with Murr, Q and Sal have been the most important in my life,” he wrote. “I know they will continue to make the world laugh. 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. 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. As I work through the challenges I am facing, I hope to and am excited to create new ways to entertain you.”
Bessy Gatto also confirmed the split in a separate Instagram post, saying they had decided to separate with “love and respect”.
“Although we will no longer be a couple, we will always be a family to our beautiful kids and we look forward to co-parenting together. We ask that you please respect our privacy as we navigate this new chapter together," Bessy wrote. "And of course we will still continue to help animals and rescue dogs, which is something we are both passionate about!"
The Gattos share two children, 6-year-old daughter Milana and 4-year-old son Remington.
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