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James S. Murray, or “Murr” as he’s known on the hit truTV series Impractical Jokers, has a few exciting visits to Long Island coming up, including to local schools to promote his new middle-age kids book Area 51 Interns: Alien Summer.
The novel, the first in a three-part series, officially hits bookstands on March 15. Murray co-wrote it with his longtime comedy collaborator, Carsen Smith, so readers can expect lots of jokes in the upbeat tale of 8th graders on a high-tech, action-packed mission to save Area 51 when aliens escape during their first day of summer vacation before high school.
“All heck breaks loose and it’s up to the kids to save the day, and it’s awesome,” Murray told the Press. “So much of the Impractical Jokers fanbase is young kids. We hear from people that it’s a show the whole family can agree on and watch together, so I thought it would be cool to write something for that audience.”
Murray has co-authored several adult sci-fi and horror novels with Darren Wearmouth; however, Area 51 Interns is his first venture into fiction for youth. Inspired by his comedic career and love of sci-fi movie franchises such as Star Wars and Star Trek, Murray said that he and Smith had the idea for this fun series for a while now.
“I’m a sucker for sci-fi adventures,” he said. “And wouldn’t it just be really cool to find out that Area 51 it’s so much cooler and more insane than we imagined? That’s what this is about.”
The book has a color insert of illustrations depicting all the fictional gadgets that the characters use in the story. Murray and Smith began writing the series during the pandemic, and Murray said he’s now excited to see fans in person to talk about the story and Impractical Jokers.
And he’s not the only one who’s excited. Murray is set to visit four schools in the Hewlett-Woodmere School District on March 16 and 17 to meet students and sign copies of the book as part of a book tour of schools across the Tri-state area. Dina M. Anzalone, principal of Ogden Elementary School, is particularly looking forward to his visit on March 16.
“In a time when technology is taking over, it is refreshing to awaken the imaginations of our students with James Murray’s first book in a middle grade series, Area 51,” she said. “This book highlights the difficulties transitioning from middle school to high school and comes at a perfect time as we are all transitioning from living with Covid to embracing normalcy. Themes about healing hit home for many of us.”
Murray will host a virtual book launch for Area 51 Interns: Alien Summer on March 19, which anyone can join by purchasing a book at area51novel.com.
The second book in the Area 51 Interns series will be released in October 2022, and the final book in March 2023.
Murray also has a live comedy show planned for June 10 at The Paramount in Huntington, where he’ll tell jokes and do a “Jokers Live” skit, in which he’ll send someone out on the streets of Long Island with an earpiece and display the shenanigans that ensue in real time on a huge screen for the live audience. Tickets for the show are available at paramountny.com.
Impractical Jokers returns with new episodes on April 2 with special celebrity guest Eric Andre on truTV, TBS and TNT simultaneously.
For more entertainment coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/entertainment
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