Black comedy
|Created by||Johnny Knoxville|
|Directed by||Jeff Tremaine|
|Opening theme||"Corona" by Minutemen|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||25 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||20–22 minutes|
|Production company||Dickhouse Productions|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||October 1, 2000 –|
February 3, 2002[failed verification]
|Followed by||Jackass: The Movie|
Viva La Bam
Bam's Unholy Union
Jackass is an American reality comedy television series created by Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine, directed by Tremaine, and produced by Dickhouse Productions. It originally aired for three seasons on MTV between October 1, 2000 and February 3, 2002. The show featured a cast of nine carrying out stunts and pranks on each other or the public. The cast included Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Ryan Dunn, Ehren McGhehey, Jason "Wee Man" Acuña, and Preston Lacy.
The show was controversial over its perceived indecency and encouragement of dangerous behavior. Jackass inspired various spin-off shows featuring the other members of the cast, including Wildboyz, Viva La Bam, Homewrecker, Bam's Unholy Union, and Dr. Steve-O. After the show's cancellation in 2002, the Jackass franchise grew to include five feature films released by Paramount Pictures. The show placed 68th on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list, and is a significant part in 2000s American popular culture.
Origins and casting
By the late 1990s, aspiring actor and writer Johnny Knoxville had moved from Knoxville to Los Angeles and landed work in commercials in order to support his wife and infant daughter. Among his ideas was to produce an article that involved testing various self-defense equipment on himself as a homage to his hero, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. The magazines that contacted him refused to cover the story due to liability concerns, but in 1999, Knoxville was contacted by Big Brother, a skateboarding magazine for which Jeff Tremaine was an editor, and convinced Knoxville to do the stunt and film it. The stunt featured Knoxville testing out pepper spray, a stun gun, a taser, and a .38 caliber gun with a bulletproof vest, which was included in Big Brother video entitled Number 2, which also featured an appearance by future Jackass cast member Jason "Wee Man" Acuña. Other contributors to Big Brother at this time were Rick Kosick, Chris Pontius, and Dave England, who went on to become a part of the Jackass crew.
Around this time, Pennsylvania resident and skateboarder Bam Margera was filming his family and friends, collectively known as the CKY crew, short for "Camp Kill Yourself", and released them on home video as part of the CKY video series that featured stunts, pranks, and skateboarding with a cast that included Ryan Dunn, Brandon DiCamillo, Raab Himself, Rake Yohn and Margera's family, mother April, father Phil, uncle Don Vito, and elder brother Jess. Like the Big Brother videos, the CKY releases became a cult hit and attracted the attention of Tremaine, who flew Margera to Los Angeles in 2000 and saw the second CKY video, CKY2K. The video convinced Tremaine that the CKY group would suit the idea of a stunt and prank television show that Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and himself had been planning. After demo footage had been shot and pitched to several networks, Saturday Night Live offered to make them subject of a recurring segment on the show. The offer was rejected, as a bidding war between Comedy Central and MTV resulted in the three accepting a deal from the latter for a half-hour weekly show and greater creative control. Knoxville, Tremaine, and Jonze are credited as executive producers. Van Toffler, president of MTV, said: "We just knew there were a bunch of knuckleheads out there who had a very high tolerance for stupidity and pain."
Soon after the MTV deal, Tremaine approached Florida native Steve-O where he worked as a clown at a flea market, and had him film videos of his stunts for the television show, but none were cleared by MTV management. 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.
The show debuted on October 1, 2000. After the second episode had aired MTV gained its highest Sunday ratings in its history, drawing 2.4 million viewers among 12- to 34-year-olds, its target demographic.
In a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone, Knoxville questioned how long the MTV show could last, and soon after announced that the series 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. In addition, Steve-O claimed that the cast salaries paid by MTV were meager. Because of problems with MTV's standards and practices department, as well as the sudden departure of Bam 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.
At the time of its first broadcast in 2000, Jackass frequently featured warnings and disclaimers noting that the stunts performed were very dangerous and should not be imitated. 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.
Connecticut Senator Joe 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 p.m., 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 Montana man named Jack Ass sued MTV for $10 million in 2002, claiming that the show was plagiarizing his name. Jack Ass, whose birth name was Bob Craft, changed his name in 1997 to raise awareness for drunk driving, after his brother and friend both died in a car 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 on fire. Shannon's lawyer claimed that this act was inspired by the Jackass series, despite the fact that no such stunt ever aired on the show.
MTV released a three disc DVD box set entitled Jackass: The Box Set in December 2005. This set does not contain the three complete seasons, but rather three volumes of highlights, one for each season. Each volume also contains additional commentaries for various stunts. The box set also includes a special bonus disc that includes the crew's trip to the Gumball 3000 rally, a special "Where Are They Now?" documentary, MTV Cribs: Jackass Edition, appearances by the crew at the 2002 MTV VMAs and the 2002 MTV Latin VMAs, and a bonus 48-page collector's booklet of rare photos and inside stories on the history of Jackass.
Another compilation of stunts from the television series was released in 2009, entitled Jackass: The Lost Tapes. However, unlike the box set, this is only one DVD. It features stunts that weren't featured in Jackass: The Box Set. This DVD includes such stunts as "Self Defense Test", "Stun Collar", "Unicycle Poo Barf", "Fast Food Football", "Roller Jump", and the original and controversial "Satan vs. God". It also includes various bonus features, such as every opening to every televised episode of Jackass, original credit montages from each televised episode, and an inside look at jackassworld.com, featuring various skits.
A third compilation, titled Jackass: The Classic TV Collection, was released in 2014. It combined all three of the DVDs from the box set with "The Lost Tapes".
Spin-offs and life after Jackass
When the TV series 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, The Dukes of Hazzard, Men in Black II, The Ringer, A Dirty Shame, Big Trouble, The Last Stand, and Skiptrace.
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 previously also had a radio show from 2004 until 2013 called Radio Bam on Sirius radio. Margera has also been featured in Bam's Unholy Union, following him and his fiancé 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 in a car crash while driving intoxicated 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.
Jackass: The Movie (2002)
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 film's distribution.
The film, shot on a budget of just $5 million, went on to gross over $60 million in the United States alone, and finished in the #1 spot at the box office during its debut weekend.
Jackass Number Two (2006)
With the release of Jackass: The Movie, director Jeff Tremaine and the rest of the cast believed that Jackass was finished and there would be no further projects under the franchise. However, during the final season of Wildboyz, 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.
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 conviction on two counts of sexual assault on a minor.
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 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.
Jackass Presents: Mat Hoffman's Tribute to Evel Knievel (2008)
On May 27, 2008, a direct-to-DVD Jackass film was released by Dickhouse Productions. The film is a tribute to the stuntman, Evel Knievel, who died on November 30, 2007, one year before the film's release.
Jackass 3D (2010)
In an August 2009 interview with 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." He 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 would be made and filmed in places like Mongolia, South Africa and Finland as well as the United States starting in January 2010. He then confirmed it again on Radio Bam on September 21, 2009. In early December, Knoxville confirmed that Jackass 3 was being made. In April 2010, a brief blurb about Jackass 3D, entitled "gone filmin'," appeared on the Jackassworld Web site: "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 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.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013)
In March 2012, Knoxville discussed the possibility of a fourth film, 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 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."
Bad Grandpa was officially announced in July 2013 and released on October 25, 2013, exactly 11 years after the release of Jackass: The Movie. It was the first film in the series to be nominated for an Academy Award; it lost the Best Makeup and Hairstyling award to Dallas Buyers Club.
A version of the film with unused footage, titled Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa .5, includes over 40 minutes of additional outtakes and interviews, and premiered June 15, 2014 on MTV. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 8, 2014.
Jackass 4 (2021)
In a 2018 interview, Knoxville said that he is open to making a fourth Jackass film that may feature some new cast members, "just to bring in some fresh blood into it." He said that he continues to write ideas for a Jackass film and that "a ton" have been set aside should the project receive the green-light. In July 2019, cast member Chris Raab said that he had interviewed the Jackass crew on his Bathroom Break podcast and noted that everyone was still open to a fourth film should Knoxville, Tremaine, and Jonze agree. On December 19, 2019, Paramount confirmed that a fourth Jackass film is set for production and scheduled for release on March 5, 2021. In April 2020, the film's release date was rescheduled to July 2, 2021. In July 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the film was rescheduled once again to September 3, 2021. In April 2021, Paramount in a major reshuffle, moved the release date again to October 22, 2021. Filming commenced on December 14, 2020.
Jackassworld.com: 24 Hour Takeover (2008)
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 (2002)||Jeff Tremaine||Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Preston Lacy, Chris Pontius, Wee-Man, Dave England, Ryan Dunn and Ehren McGhehey||Brandon DiCamillo, Dimitry Elyashkevich, Whitey McConnaughy, Sean Cliver, Loomis Fall, Tim Payne, Anne Zogby, Phil Clapp and Vernon Chatman||Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze and Johnny Knoxville|
|Jackass Number Two (2006)||Mark Lewman, Dimitry Elyashkevich, Al Walker, Brandon DiCamillo, Darrin Prescott, David Weathers, Gary Leffew, Jeffrey Ross, Juicy J, Loomis Fall, Scott Rogers, Sean Cliver, Thor Drake and Rob "Whity" McConnaughy|
|Jackass 3D (2010)||Loomis Fall, Barry Owen Smoler, The Dudesons, Dave Carne, Mike Kassak, Madison Clapp, Knate Gwaltney, Derek Freda, Trip Taylor, Sean Cliver, Dimitry Elyashkevich, J.P. Blackmon and Rick Kosick|
|Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013)||Screenplay by: Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze and Jeff Tremaine
Story by: Fax Bahr, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Adam Small and Jeff Tremaine
|Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Derek Freda and Jeff Tremaine|
|Jackass 4 (2021)||Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze and Jeff Tremaine||Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Derek Freda and Steve-O|
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office gross||Box office ranking||Budget||Ref(s)|
|Jackass: The Movie||October 25, 2002||$64,255,312||$15,238,519||$79,493,831||#1,076||$5 million|||
|Jackass Number Two||September 22, 2006||$72,778,712||$11,839,820||$84,618,532||#912||$11.5 million|||
|Jackass 3D||October 15, 2010||$117,229,692||$54,456,100||$171,685,792||#456||$20 million|||
|Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa||October 25, 2013||$102,003,019||$49,828,518||$151,831,537||#569||$15 million|||
Critical and public response
|Jackass: The Movie||49% (96 reviews)||42 (14 reviews)||A−|
|Jackass Number Two||64% (102 reviews)||66 (23 reviews)||B+|
|Jackass 3D||65% (110 reviews)||56 (23 reviews)||B+|
|Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa||61% (109 reviews)||54 (29 reviews)||B|
On September 5, 2007, Margera announced the release of Jackass 2.5 on The Howard Stern Show, a compilation DVD of stunts that did not make it to Jackass Number Two. 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 3.5 was released in June 2011 with unused footage shot during the filming of Jackass 3D. 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, and the entire film was streamed in weekly segments on Joost, starting April 1, 2011.
Jackass: The Game was released on September 24, 2007. It was developed under a license by Sidhe Interactive in Wellington, New Zealand, for the PlayStation 2, 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. All main characters of the show were featured as playable, except for Bam Margera, who was contractually obligated by Neversoft to appear in the Tony Hawk's franchise, thus making him unable to appear in any other video game.
National Lampoon's TV: The Movie (2006)
National Lampoon's TV: The Movie is a comedy film that was released in 2006 and features several cast members of Jackass including Steve-O, Preston Lacy, Jason Acuña and Chris Pontius. The film features parodies of many television shows, such as Fear Factor, Cops, MTV Cribs, The Six Million Dollar Man and Miami Vice.
Action Point (2018)
Action Point is comedy film featuring Jackass cast members Johnny Knoxville and Chris Pontius released in 2018. Knoxville was inspired to make the film after seeing Matt Robertson's 2013 short documentary The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever, about Action Park, a theme park in New Jersey which was notorious for poorly designed, unsafe rides, in addition to employing underaged, undertrained and often under-the-influence staff. Similar to Bad Grandpa, the film features traditional Jackass-style stunts connected by a fictional narrative.
Steve-O: Gnarly (2020)
Gnarly is Steve-O's second stand-up comedy special at the Gothic Theatre in Denver, Colorado. He presented stories, stunts and previously unseen footage to the audience. The special marks the first time the entire cast of Jackass reunited after the death of Ryan Dunn. It was released in 2020 and is available to watch on Steve-O's website.
Various groups have created shows based on or similar to Jackass. These include:
- The Dudesons (which also started airing at 2000, although they had been filming their stunts ever since the 1990s)
- Dirty Sanchez aka Team Sanchez
- Nitro Circus
- Stankervision (a repackaged version of 'The DAMN! Show')
- Tokyo Shock Boys
- Rad Girls
- The French film; Les 11 commandements (The 11 Commandments)
- Rémi Gaillard (France)
- Ed Bassmaster
- Ogags (Philippines)
- Jim Rose Circus
- P.O.R Stunts
- The Lazy Generation  
- Too Stupid to Die
- Stefans stunt show
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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