Long Island Expressway traffic is a common daily drudgery, but comedian Joe Gatto has turned it into a show. Known for his work on truTV’s “Impractical Jokers” prank show, Gatto has gone solo for his “Traffic Cam — Live!” show, which comes to The Space at Westbury on Saturday, Aug. 17.
“One day I was stuck in traffic and annoyed, so I started using Periscope, the app that live streams through Twitter. As I was sitting in traffic, I started talking to the fans and answering some questions. Then I turned on the radio and started singing and dancing,” explains Gatto, 43, who lives in Glen Head with his wife and two kids. “My Twitter blew up and I’ve done more than 70 episodes since.”
ASK A QUESTION
Gatto has translated his auto antics into a stage show. As people come in, they can fill out question cards. Gatto sits in a car on stage and pulls out random question to answer. DJ Justin Gerace serves as the radio and everything is projected on a big screen.
“The show is not scripted. I use my improv skills and just go with it,” says Gatto. “The crowd gets to sit shotgun and see me in my element. It’s kind of my version of a one-man show.”
The live show began on the Impractical Jokers’ annual cruise and became so popular that Gatto wanted to do it on land.
“I love Long Island, so it’s great to do this show with my hometown crowd,” says Gatto. “I’m looking forward to getting together with Long Islanders and having some fun. I think they can share my pain of the LIE.”
Typically, Gatto doesn’t answer questions about the “Impractical Jokers” TV show. He prefers more playful ones.
“People ask stuff like ‘What’s your favorite dessert?’ or ‘What’s your favorite movie?’ I work with North Shore Animal League a lot, so I answer questions about my dogs,” says Gatto, who graduated from C.W. Post. “I once had a guy ask me how to propose to his girlfriend. He followed the way I suggested and she said ‘yes.’ It was a cool way to have an impact on somebody and be part of their story.”
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Gatto’s humor is family-friendly — no profanity — although that doesn’t mean he won’t get a bit nutty.
“I’m not afraid to be stupid,” he says. “It’s important to let people know that it’s OK to be silly sometimes.”
The show concludes with an all-out dance party with the crowd moving to a mix of current Top 40 hits blended with some old school classics.
“It’s super interactive with the fans,” says Gatto. “I want to make it feel like a party.”
JOE GATTO’S ‘TRAFFIC CAM — LIVE!’
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at The Space at Westbury
INFO 516-283-5566, thespaceatwestbury.com
“JOKERS” KEEP ON JOKING
“Impractical Jokers” is now in its eighth season and has developed fans all over the world.
“This season we will have our 200th episode. I remember when we were excited to get to episode two,” says Gatto.
Still, each of the guys guys (Gatto, Sal Vulcano, Brian “Q” Quinn and James “Murr” Murray), collectively known as the Tenderloins, has side gigs outside the group.
“We all support each other in our own ventures. Sal does stand-up comedy, Murr’s got his books and Q does his podcast. There’s only so much we can take of each other, especially us,” says Gatto. “We are together so much, therefore this is a good way to have another outlet.”
Despite the fame and doing solo stints, the Tenderloins are still tight.
“We genuinely enjoy making each other laugh,” says Gatto. “This embarrassment comedy is how we all cracked up our whole life even before we had the TV show. For example, Sal would never get into an elevator with me because he knew I’d always get into some craziness.”