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Dissecting a Jackass

Examining the Naughty Bits

By Daniel Dock

Johnny Knoxville, the 31-year-old six-feet-1-inch tall host of Jackass, was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee with the name Philip John Clapp. He grew up pulling pranks, and even at the young age of seven years old he was pulling dangerous stunts; once he decided to poke a hornets’ nest with a stick. Johnny admits his twisted sense of humor comes from his father, who used to pull pranks on Johnny as a child, like the time his father ran a warm hot-dog over Johnny’s lips while he slept and pretended to zip up when Johnny awoke. Shortly after graduating from high school and dropping out of college, Johnny eloped with his neighbor, Melanie. About five years ago they had a daughter named Madison (whose name is tattooed on his chest).

Johnny supported his budding family by appearing in commercials for such companies as Taco Bell, Coors Light, and Mountain Dew. He also wrote the occasional article for such magazines as Blunt, Bikini, and Big Brother. Then, in 1996, a stroke of genius came to Johnny when he decided to shoot himself with pepper spray, a taser, a stun gun, and a .38 and write an article about it. Jeff Tremaine, the editor of Big Brother, convinced Johnny to videotape it. This stunt and a few others ended up on the Big Brother Video series and were an immediate cult hit.

Johnny teamed up with Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze, and the East Coast CKY crew (Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, and Brandon DiCamillo) and pitched the show to MTV. Jackass quickly became MTV’s highest rated show. The show ran for three seasons, and the show came to an end because of Jackass copy cats and Johnny’s own desire to end the show while it was still funny. Johnny believed that they had done all they could on the television series.

All the naughty things not allowed on the TV show will be in the Jackass movie coming out Oct. 25 (the movie marks the end of the Jackass series).

On Oct. 14th I was given the opportunity to sit down with Johnny Knoxville and ask him a few questions.

The Tech: What was you favorite stunt that you did on the series?

Johnny Knoxville: I don’t necessarily know if I ... I don’t sit around and think about “aww, man, I fucking rock.” I liked the Steve-O Goldfish trick cause we were traveling to do another stunt and his piece of shit car broke down after we had just picked him up at a circus inside a flea market where he was working as a clown. He was, like, up there with John Wayne Gacy for fucking scary clowns. So we were gonna do another bit and his car broke down we were like, “ok, what do we do now?” And he’s like (Johnny imitates Steve-O’s voice) “Dude let’s get some goldfish.” So we tried that and it worked, and while we were there we got Jeff Tremaine a mullet and the barber there.

TT: Did that guy with the lazy eye (in the skit) just walk up to you guys?

JK: Yeah, he was snoopy. We gave him the goldfish afterwards. I bet he had a nice barbeque.

TT: In the Jackass series you mix in a lot of stuff from Europe trips. What was you favorite story or funny thing you did while you were away on a Europe trip?

JK: Oh god, some of the Europe ... Well, Pontius has a masturbation problem, and so he’s constantly doing it in the van and everywhere. And pulling out of London, we got this beater ’89 Jag and he was in the back going to town and Steve-O was sitting next to him. And Steve-O decided to go to town, meanwhile people in the double-decker buses were driving beside us and they were just back there killing it. And we went from England to Russia, and back by the time we got back to England the back of the seat was just a science project. Horrible. I didn’t ride in that car.

TT: That wasn’t on the Gumball Rally Episode.

JK: No, that didn’t air on television.

TT: About celebrities, in the middle of the series you had Tony Hawk and Matt Hoffman on the show. Did you approach them, or did they approach you about being on the show?

JK: They’re friends, they’re friends of ours so we asked them and, yeah, they were nice enough to do it for us.

TT: So the movie, is it going to be just like the episodes with the mosaics?

JK: It’s just a naughty 90-minute episode of the show. Very naughty, a lot of things going in and out of holes.

TT: So the movie was it originally going be NC-17 and they changed it? Or was it going to rated R all along?

JK: We intended it to be R the whole time. But the first few times we turned it in it got NC-17. So the MPAA gave us the notes of what was objectionable. But they don’t, when they tell you what’s objectionable they simply tell you what’s objectionable; they don’t tell you what to take out of it. So we didn’t have to take out any of the bits we wanted in the film; we just couldn’t linger on things so long. Oh, and we couldn’t show extraction or insertion.