Imagine having to face your worst fears or most embarrassing situations, all for a laugh.

That’s reality for James ‘Murr’ Murray and his three pals in the Impractical Jokers comedy TV show, which comes to the SSE Hydro this Friday night.

The hidden camera show features the friends taking part in a series of public pranks and challenges, while whoever loses each episode of the programme has to face a punishment designed by the other three members of the group.

“They threw me out of an airplane once to skydive and I am terrified of heights,” recalls Murr, who’s able to laugh about it now.

“I actually locked myself in a room beforehand and I wouldn’t come out for half an hour because I was so afraid, but eventually I realised it would be funny if I jumped out - as long as I lived to tell the tale.”

The smash hit series has been running for several years now, but the four friends – Murr, Brian ‘Q’ Quinn, Sal Vulcano and Joe Gatto Jr – are showing no signs of running out of ideas.

Hidden camera comedy is not exactly a new concept but the Jokers twist on the formula is that they’ are the ones firmly at the butt of the joke, rather than the public.

That has led to huge popularity for the group, who perform under the name the Tenderloins, and who have a clear love for the Three Stooges and classic screwball comedy.

Over the years Murr has sung with a gospel choir while dressed as Dracula, swam with sharks and found himself interviewing his childhood crush, the actress Danica McKellar, while dressed for a bodybuilding contest that he had thought he was entering.

“Danica and I are now friends, so I had the last laugh there,” he says.

“I never thought they would be in touch with her, so when I walked into the room wearing a American flag thong with all this spray tan on and she’s sitting there, I just crumbled.

“It was an odd feeling, where you’re really proud of your friends for putting together such an elaborate ruse, but at the same time you can’t believe you’re having to do this. The second I walked out the room I was thinking what I could do for revenge…”

However the group had a long road to success before hitting worldwide fame and arena tours with the Jokers programme. All of the crew are in their mid thirties, having worked in comedy for years while holding down other jobs.

Surely they’d thought fame was never going to happen?

“10 years ago we did a live show in New York and two people turned up,” says Murr.

“We’re a 12 year overnight success story, because we failed a lot more then we succeeded. We did hundreds of live shows, we tried for a decade to make it on TV and we had two pilots for shows before Jokers, so this was our third attempt.

“Even in Season 1 we still had regular jobs, so Q was working a 12 hour shift at the fire department, then filming.”

Now the guys are facing a very different problem – trying to get away with daft antics in public when they’re recognisable TV faces.

“It has got harder, so we’ve changed the show to accommodate that,” admits Murr.

“We can’t do as many public challenges anymore, like going to amusement parks. The problem is that word spreads and loads of people turn up!”

Now they’re ready for another Glasgow visit, after a first Hydro appearance in January was a huge hit. And Murr is promising a special surprise…

“All I’ll say is that a company there has arranged to dress me,” he chuckles.

“You’ll see what I mean on the night…”

The TV show is going great guns and Murr hopes to eventually take the concept to the big screen, as well as scripted comedy shows too. However he has another project on the go too – a book, that’s slated for release next year.

“About 13 years ago I was writing this scary thriller, a conspiracy book,” he says.

“I’ve partnered with a best selling author in the UK, Darren Wearmouth, and he and I whipped the book into shape. It’s a scary, fast paced thriller in the subways of New York, with monsters involved and people in jeopardy, and I’ll be getting to do a book signing tour next year.

“That’s just mad.”

Impractical Jokers, SSE Hydro, Friday, £34, 7pm

Jonathan Geddes