When Impractical Jokers first premiered in 2011, fans immediately got to know Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, James Murray, and Brian Quinn. The men, save for Quinn, had been friends since high school, and their dynamic was undeniably hilarious. So, when Joe Gatto decided to part ways with the group in December 2021, fans were understandably shocked. Here’s everything we know about Gatto’s decision to leave Impractical Jokers.
Joe Left ‘Impractical Jokers’ To Prioritize His Kids After Divorce
Fans will be glad to hear that Gatto didn’t depart because of some dramatic falling out with the other guys. On the contrary, Gatto has explained that he left to prioritize his children. In an Instagram post shared on December 31, 2021, Gatto revealed his departure.
However, he also explained that he was going through a divorce. “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,” the caption read.
Gatto was married to his wife, Bessy, for eight years. They share two children. Their daughter Milana was born in 2015 and they welcomed their son Remington in 2017. The pair repeatedly sparked reconciliation rumors in the months following their split, but it looks like they’re still going through with their divorce.
At the time, he assured fans that he was still on great terms with his co-stars and that the show was not ending. In an interview with Scott King, the remaining Impractical Jokers assured everyone that their friendship with Gatto is still as strong as ever.
“Our relationship with Joe has not changed an iota. We’re just not making the show together,” Quinn explained. “I talk to him almost every day.”
The Show Will Go On Without Joe
Despite Gatto parting ways with the crew midway through the show’s ninth season, the comedians forged ahead. Instead of replacing Gatto, they used his absence to welcome a new celebrity guest host each week. The show also implemented a new title sequence and rebranded logo. It seems like the creators are coping with Gatto’s absence by reinventing the show in whatever ways they can.
While the changes have certainly been jarring for longtime fans, the show was renewed for a tenth season. Of course, not everything has been smooth sailing. There are certain critics who miss what the show was when Gatto was still around. Some fans have bluntly suggested that the show should just end.
Other reviews criticize the show’s extensive use of physical pain in its jokes. One critic likened it to a “less entertaining” version of the Jackass franchise. Of course, it’s likely that the show is just trying to find its footing in Gatto’s absence. Either way, things are clearly different without the comedian’s presence.
Joe Is Also Building His Solo Career
As for Joe Gatto, the comedian hasn’t sat idle since leaving the show. On the contrary—he’s in the process of launching his own solo career. In March of 2022, Gatto teamed up with comedian Steve Byrn to launch their podcast, Two Cool Moms. They chose the name because they both had strong-willed, opinionated mothers, and they want to bring that energy to their program.
Gatto has also made strides in his standup comedy career. He launched his first tour, “Joe Gatto’s Night of Comedy,” in September. At the moment, he’s touring the country, bringing audiences comedy in a completely different way from his TV days. So far, his tour is scheduled to continue well into January, so fans will have plenty of chances to see his act in person. He recently celebrated a huge milestone: he’s now performed standup in all 50 states (North Dakota being the last).
Joe Is Continuing His Advocacy For The ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’ Movement
While Gatto’s career has taken a huge turn over the past year, he hasn’t slowed down his advocacy work. Before he and his wife separated, they founded a nonprofit rescue and sanctuary for senior and disabled dogs. The organization is called Gatto Pups and Friends, and the comedian often promotes it on his social media.
Its mission is to encourage prospective pet owners to “adopt, don’t shop.” When pet owners adopt from shelters instead of purchasing pups from breeders, they reduce the demand for harmful puppy mills. Gatto is still an engaged part of the animal rights community, and he frequently posts about his own dogs.
The comedian has even lamented that he isn’t able to travel with his beloved pups. It’s clear that, despite leaving Impractical Jokers, Gatto is still the same hilarious, animal-loving family man he’s always been!