Jackass (TV series)
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 Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, and Steve-O, who previously had only minor acting roles. The show later sparked several spin-offs including Wildboyz, Viva La Bam, Homewrecker, Bam's Unholy Union, and Dr. Steve-O as well as three feature films distributed by MTV corporate sibling Paramount Pictures.
|Created by||Johnny Knoxville
|Directed by||Jeff Tremaine|
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 release||October 1, 2000 – February 17, 2002|
|Followed by||Jackass: The Movie|
Viva La Bam
Bam's Unholy Union
Jackass sparked considerable amounts of controversy, as it was seen as indecent and encouraging of dangerous behavior. The cast struggled to cope with the censorship often imposed on the show, which included forbidding certain footage from ever being released, and opted to not return to the show, instead continuing the rest of the franchise as a series of feature films owing to the looser restrictions on its content.
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 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 shot while wearing a bulletproof vest, appeared in the second Big Brother skateboarding movie: Number 2. Future Jackass castmember Wee-Man made an appearance in the videos as well.
During this time, Bam Margera released a movie titled 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.
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.
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 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. 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.
Series finale and DVD releasesEdit
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 2001, 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 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. 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 JackassEdit
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 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 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 drunk 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 specialEdit
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 MovieEdit
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 TwoEdit
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.
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 Presents: Mat Hoffman's Tribute to Evel KnievelEdit
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.
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 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 Presents: Bad GrandpaEdit
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.
In an interview, Bam Margera suggested Jackass 4: We're Not Dunn Yet, referring to Ryan Dunn, could be the title of a fourth film, which Tremaine has said he would like to shoot in Australia. In October 2015, Steve-O said that the film was "unlikely" to happen and that the production would depend on Margera becoming and remaining sober. Jason "Wee Man" Acuña said in February 2018 that a fourth movie is “definitely not happening”, though McGhehey said he believes the franchise will continue.
Box office performanceEdit
|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 responseEdit
|Jackass: The Movie||48% (95 reviews)||42 (14 reviews)||A-|
|Jackass Number Two||63% (102 reviews)||66 (23 reviews)||B+|
|Jackass 3D||64% (107 reviews)||56 (23 reviews)||B+|
|Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa||60% (105 reviews)||54 (29 reviews)||B|
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, 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 franchise, thus making him unable to appear in any other video game.
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 the 1990s)
- Dirty Sanchez aka Team Sanchez
- Nitro Circus
- Stankervision (a repackaged version of 'The DAMN! Show')
- Tokyo Shock Boys
- Crazy Monkey
- Rad Girls
- The French film; Les 11 commandements (The 11 Commandments)
- Rémi Gaillard (France)
- Call of Dumb (Texas)
- Ogags (Philippines)
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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