His television presence is matched by few; his gambling skills are matched by many, but the prank prowess of Cousin Sal (Iacono) is second to none.
The lovable nuisance has spent plenty of time ruining people’s day only to (hopefully) make them laugh afterward. The pranks and reactions never seem to go too far overboard and it’s completely by design. Unfortunately, that “design” means fight fans are unlikely to ever see Sal cross over with an MMA prank segment.
But could the king of late-night hijinks offer any advice to The Ultimate Fighter 29 cast about in-house pranks?
“Let me start with this, I’ve done over 200 pranks on Jimmy Kimmel Live and I had one rule,” Sal laid out. “I’d go after anyone; I didn’t care, but not if they had, like, a neck or below the eye tattoo. Those guys are off limits. They’re killers, they’ve been to jail, they don’t care about going back so let’s just go on to the next guy or gal.”
Have no fear, however, as Cousin Sal does happily and comfortably offer advice to the fighters inhabiting the TUF house.
Long gone should be the days of corny pranks or moving Faber’s parking sign. It’s time to usher in a better prank mindset altogether. It’s all about efficiency. This is combat sports; everybody knows that it’s the shots you don’t see coming that hit the hardest.
“I think you need to get to the essence of what makes these fighters tick, right?” Sal asked. “What they like doing, where they like going, catch them at the place where they’re in their safe haven, right? That way they’re not expecting it.”
Not one to talk a big game and not back it up, Sal was able to point to a previous prank pulled on Aunt Chippy in which she made the ill-advised confession that her only outlet from the chaos Sal and Jimmy cause is a pottery class in a Las Vegas senior center.
“Judo” Gene LeBell showed up to save Sal’s day and ruin Aunt Chippy’s.
“Judo Gene played this man, this grumpy old man who infiltrated her pottery class and just went in there and caused havoc,” Sal said. “He was angry at everybody in the place and got Aunt Chippy crazy. He ended up taking his pants down and then I walked in. I was about 100 feet away telling Judo Gene what to do and he drove her nuts. He threw sardines on her plate that she was painting and all that. So I think the main point is that you have to really dig deep into what people like. Ruin their favorite experience and that’s what’s going to get the best response.”
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For more of Cousin Sal’s pranks, gambling and everything in between, check out the Extra Points Podcast Network, Fox Bet One on Fox Sports and, of course, Jimmy Kimmel Live!