Jackass (TV series)
The Jackass logo
|Created by||Johnny Knoxville
Jason "Wee-Man" Acuña
|Opening theme||"Corona" by Minutemen|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||25 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Dickhouse Productions|
|Original run||April 12, 2000– February 17, 2002|
|Followed by||Jackass: The Movie|
Jackass is an American reality series, originally shown on MTV from 2000 to 2002, featuring people performing various dangerous, crude self-injuring stunts and pranks. The show served as a launchpad for the television and acting careers of Bam Margera, Steve-O, and also Johnny Knoxville, who previously had only a few minor acting roles.
Since 2002, three Jackass films have been produced and released by MTV corporate sibling Paramount Pictures, continuing the franchise after its run on television. The show sparked several spin-offs including Viva La Bam, Wildboyz, Homewrecker, Dr. Steve-O and Blastazoid.
The show developed from Big Brother Magazine, a skateboarding-related humor magazine that Jeff Tremaine, Dave Carnie, Rick Kosick and Chris Pontius all worked for, and featured regular contributions from Johnny Knoxville, Tyler Newton and Dave England, among others. The concept of Jackass dates back to 1998 when failing-actor-turned-writer Johnny Knoxville thought of the idea of testing different self-defense devices on himself as the basis for an article. He pitched the idea to a couple of magazines and was turned down until meeting with Jeff Tremaine of Big Brother. Tremaine hired him as a journalist and convinced Johnny to videotape this idea and other stunts for stories. The footage, which involved Knoxville being tasered, maced, and ultimately shot while wearing a bulletproof vest, appeared in the second Big Brother skateboarding movie (which is also the title of the second Jackass theatrical film). Future Jackass castmember Wee-Man made an appearance in the videos, and Florida clown Steve-O would send in submissions to be part of the videos.
During this time, Bam Margera released a movie entitled Landspeed:CKY, consisting of himself and his friends, which he dubbed the "CKY Crew", in West Chester, Pennsylvania, performing various skits and stunts. The Crew included the colorful cast of Ryan Dunn, Brandon Dicamillo, and Raab Himself, as well as Margera's family April, Phil, Don Vito, and Jess Margera. Tremaine saw the tapes and drafted Margera and his crew into what would become the cast of Jackass. Later, the Jackass crew would recruit Steve-O in a Florida flea market where he worked as a clown. To round out the cast, England brought in his friend Ehren McGhehey, a fellow Oregon resident and extreme stunt participant. Preston Lacy would be the last of what is now considered the main cast to join, auditioning midway through the show's run by eating four bananas with the peels on.
Tremaine drafted his friend, director Spike Jonze, to get involved with the show, and together, he, Jonze, and Knoxville served as executive producers. The show idea was pitched, and the cast was initially given an offer by Saturday Night Live to perform the stunts weekly for the show, though the offer was turned down. A bidding war occurred between Comedy Central and MTV, which MTV eventually won. It was then that Jackass was born.
- Johnny Knoxville
- Bam Margera
- Chris Pontius
- Ryan Dunn
- Jason "Wee Man" Acuña
- Preston Lacy
- Dave England
- Ehren McGhehey
Supporting crew members
- Brandon DiCamillo
- Mat Hoffman
- Loomis Fall
- Brandon Novak
- Raab Himself (2000–2002)
- Manny Puig
- Rake Yohn
- Stephanie Hodge
- Mike Kassak
- Tony Hawk
Since the first episode, Jackass frequently featured warnings and disclaimers noting that the stunts performed were dangerous and should not be imitated, and that recordings of any stunts would not be aired on MTV. Such warnings not only appeared before and after each program and after each commercial break, but also in a "crawl" that ran along the bottom of the screen during some especially risky stunts, as well as showing their 'skull and crutches logo' at the bottom right of the screen to symbolize the stunt performed as risky. Nevertheless, the program has been blamed for a number of deaths and injuries involving teens and children recreating the stunts.
On January 29, 2001, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman publicly condemned MTV and Jackass in connection with a dangerous stunt that led to a copycat incident in which a 13-year-old Connecticut teenager was left in critical condition with severe burns. Lieberman followed up with a February 7, 2001 letter to MTV's parent company Viacom urging the company to take greater responsibility for its programming and do more to help parents protect their children. MTV responded to the criticism by canceling all airings of Jackass before 10:00 PM, but Lieberman's continual campaign against the show led to MTV refusing to air repeats of the later episodes, a move which angered the cast and production crew of the series who were furious with MTV's "caving into Lieberman's demands."
A man named Jack Ass sued MTV for $10 million, claiming the series was plagiarizing his name. Jack Ass, formerly known as Bob Craft, changed his name in 1997 to raise awareness for drunk driving, after his brother and friend were killed in a vehicle accident.
Matt-Dillion Shannon, an 18-year-old from Napier, New Zealand, was sentenced on November 23, 2012 to three years in prison on a charge of causing grievous bodily harm for his role in the August 2011 dousing of a 16-year-old with gasoline and setting him alight: an act Shannon's lawyer claimed was inspired by the Jackass series.
In a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Knoxville announced the show would end after its third season aired. He also stated discontent with MTV and the censors, who, from the start of season two, increasingly gave notes regarding what the show could and could not depict. When the third season ended in 2002, MTV (which owns the rights to the name "Jackass") contemplated keeping the show going with a new cast (even running a teaser for the show's return during the 2002 VMA Awards Show).
Because of problems with MTV's standards and practices department as well as the sudden departure of Margera and the CKY Crew halfway through season three, the Jackass crew did not attempt to create a finale to bring the show to a close. MTV released a DVD boxed set in December 2005. It included the three Jackass DVD volumes (which were not composed of all three entire seasons, but highlights of each season), a bonus disc that included the crew's trip to Gumball 3000, a "Where Are They Now" documentary, MTV Cribs Jackass Edition, TV spots, and a 48-page book of photos and inside stories.
Life after Jackass
When the hit show ended, each member of the cast found new work in movies and television, each gaining his own degree of success. Knoxville pursued a career as an actor, appearing in such films as the 2004 remake of Walking Tall, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The Dukes of Hazzard, Men in Black II, The Ringer, A Dirty Shame, Big Trouble and The Last Stand.
Margera and the CKY crew were given their own spin-off show Viva La Bam, which follows Margera and his family, who are often made the victim of the clique's practical jokes. Bam and the crew also have Radio Bam on Sirius radio. Margera has also been featured in Bam's Unholy Union, following him and his fiance Missy in the run-up to their wedding, while Brandon DiCamillo and Rake Yohn featured in Blastazoid, a short-lived show about video games.
When Viva La Bam finished its run, Ryan Dunn, who was part of Bam's crew on Viva La Bam, was given his own show Homewrecker, in which he finds revenge for helpless victims of practical jokes by renovating the prankster's room according to the original incident. The show only lasted one season. On June 20, 2011, Dunn was killed while driving drunk in a car crash in Pennsylvania.
Pontius and Steve-O were also given their own spin-off show Wildboyz. Unlike Jackass and Viva La Bam, Wildboyz rejected the formula of practical jokes and instead features the two traveling the world in search of wild and exotic animals. Directed by Jackass director Jeff Tremaine, Wildboyz featured frequent guest appearances by fellow Jackasses Johnny Knoxville, Manny Puig, and Jason "Wee Man" Acuña.
MTV takeover special
On February 23, 2008, MTV held the TV special, Jackassworld.com: 24 Hour Takeover to coincide with the official launch of Jackassworld.com. The special allowed the core members of Jackass to take over MTV and its studios for 24 hours, broadcasting new pranks and stunts, along with a tribute to stunt man Evel Knievel shot days before.
Jackass: The Movie
After the show went off the air, the cast reunited in 2002 to film what they believed would be the conclusion of Jackass: a full-length motion picture version of the show entitled Jackass: The Movie. The cast made it clear that the film was their "farewell" to the fans of the show, and with the franchise taking the movie format, the cast and crew were now allowed to circumvent the censors, showing more vulgar stunts than the ones featured on the TV show. Despite earlier disagreements, MTV Films assisted in the movie's distribution.
The movie, filmed on a budget of just $5 million, went on to gross over $60 million in the United States alone, and finished in the number 1 spot at the box office during its debut weekend.
Jackass Number Two and Jackass 2.5
With the release of Jackass: The Movie, director Jeff Tremaine and the rest of the Jackass cast believed that Jackass was finished and there would be no further projects under the franchise. However, during the final season of Wildboyz, Johnny Knoxville joined his former castmates Chris Pontius and Steve-O on various expeditions around the world. It was said that Knoxville went so far out during the filming of the show that Tremaine pulled him aside and said "If you're willing to go this all out, why not get all the guys together and shoot another movie?" Knoxville agreed, and with both Viva La Bam and Wildboyz finishing their runs, the entire cast was available to reunite and film the sequel.
Jackass Number Two was released on September 22, 2006, produced by MTV Films and distributed by Paramount Pictures. As was the case with its predecessor, Jackass Number Two topped the box office in its debut weekend, earning $29.01 million. Footage for several stunts featured Bam Margera's uncle Vincent "Don Vito" Margera, but the footage was removed from the theatrical and DVD release due to his arrest in August 2006 and the nature of the charges.
On September 7, 2006, MTV featured a half-hour documentary of Jackass: Number Two. When asked if the film meant the end of Jackass, cast member Steve-O jokingly commented that the people who made money from the Jackass franchise still wanted money, hinting that the cast would still continue the franchise in one form or another. At the conclusion of the documentary, Johnny Knoxville reveals that he "had a hard time letting go" because he is "so hooked on doing stunts." Cameraman Dimitry Elyashkevich reveals that weeks after the film, Knoxville was so desperate to shoot that he would film himself running into street signs just for the sake of additional footage.
On September 5, 2007, Margera announced on The Howard Stern Show that Jackass 2.5 will be released. He said that Jackass 2.5 is a compilation DVD of stunts that did not make it to Jackass Number 2. The DVD was released on December 26, 2007. Special features on the DVD include the making of Jackass 2.5, the making of Jackass: The Game, deleted scenes and a photo gallery.
Jackass 3-D and Jackass 3.5
In an August 2009 interview with Johnny Knoxville for The Times-Picayune, Knoxville on the topic of Steve-O's recovery and rehabilitation said "He's taking to sobriety like he took to drugs and alcohol, I'm very proud of him. I think we'll see him doing some stuff here really soon. As a matter of fact, I know we are." And later stated "Something's coming. We're pretty excited". Later, he added: "I think it'll be a big year next year, but I don't want to talk about it yet....."
In September 2009, Margera revealed to Iltalehti, a Finnish newspaper, that a Jackass 3 will be made and filming in places like Mongolia, South Africa and Finland as well as the United States will start in January 2010. He then confirmed it again on Radio Bam on September 21, 2009. In early December Knoxville later confirmed that Jackass 3 was being made. In April 2010, a brief blurb about Jackass 3D, entitled "gone filmin'," appeared on the MTV website: "Thanks for the support the past two years. To keep abreast and adick of all things related to the world of jackass and Dickhouse (including the currently in production flick jackass 3D), follow us on Facebook and Twitter."
In late July 2010, Paramount and MTV Films screened the first footage from Jackass 3D at a special event during Comic-Con 2010 in its 3D format. The event allowed fans to meet the Jackass crew. Then in August 2010, the official trailer was aired on MTV.
Jackass 3D was released in American movie theaters on October 15, 2010. On opening weekend, the movie made an estimated $50 million in 3,081 theaters, outperforming predictions it would earn $30 million and breaking the record for the most successful Fall opening ever, which was previously held by Scary Movie 3.
Following the movie's success, another sequel was announced. Jackass 3.5 was released in June 2011 with unused footage shot during the filming of Jackass 3D. The entire movie started to be streamed in weekly segments on Joost, starting April 1, 2011. Previously the first trailer was released online on January 27, 2011 and the feature-length movie was released on VOD and DVD on June 14, 2011.
Jackass 4: Bad Grandpa
In March 2012, Knoxville discussed the possibility of a fourth movie, saying "we're keeping our mind open" and "I've got 50–60 ideas on top of all the stuff we didn't get to shoot." Then in June 2012, it was reported Paramount "registered several domains for a film that would be called Jackass 4: Bad Grandpa."
During Margera's September 18, 2012 interview on The Howard Stern Show about Jackass he said: "There's going to be a whole movie about Knoxville's grandpa character."
Jackass: The Game
Jackass: The Game was released on October 2, 2007. It was developed under a license by Sidhe Interactive in Wellington, New Zealand for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. The game was first shown at the 2006 E3 behind closed doors. It is mentioned in the Jackass: Number Two commentary that the stunt where several members get punched in the face by a spring-loaded boxing glove hidden behind a fake valentine on a wall had just come upstairs from shooting a promo for the video game. Johnny Knoxville and other members of the Jackass team also provided stunt ideas to the developer based on unused stunts from the show. A trailer and the cover art was released in June 2007 on the game's official website.
Various groups have created shows based on or similar to Jackass. These include:
- Extreme Duudsonit aka The Dudesons (which also started airing at 2000, although they had been filming their stunts ever since 1990s)
- Dirty Sanchez aka Team Sanchez
- Nitro Circus
- Tokyo Shock Boys
- Screwball Crew
- The Mad Hueys
- Crazy Monkey
- Rad Girls
- The French film; Les 11 commandements (The 11 Commandments)
- N.O.I.A. (Brazil based Jackass)
- AF (South African based Jackass)
- Dickstroyers (Spain)
- Das Mafia (Canada)
- Funda Productions (México)
- Call of Dumb (Texas, United States)
Jackass-type behavior has also been depicted and used as plot devices on multiple other television shows - an example of which is episode 19 of season 3 of CSI: Vegas, in which one of a group of teenagers is shot and killed while performing (and filming) a stunt.
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