Eighteen years ago, the world was introduced to the Jackass crew on MTV. No one had ever seen anything like what these guys were doing but there has definitely been a fair amount of copycats since Johnny Knoxville & Co. burst onto the scene. Nowadays, it may be strictly on YouTube or other social media sites, but the Jackass cast was able to transition from the small screen to the silver one without giving up the reason they were so special: their spontaneity.
The show was so spontaneous, co-creator Jeff Tremaine has admitted they didn’t even pull permits for most of their stunts. In the words of Knoxville: “You can’t plan too much when you’re doing spontaneous things because then it’s not spontaneous.” The show and the three feature-length films that followed weren’t just a bunch of friends goofing off. Yes, every episode and movie was hilarious, but the pranks ranged from low-brow humor to flat-out dangerous.
Part of something being dangerous means that there is a possibility that someone gets injured in the process. If you ever watched the show, you can imagine some of the injuries that took place over three seasons and three full-fledged movies. Most significantly, you probably think back to Steve-O getting his butt stapled or when he became “human bait” by putting a fish hook through his mouth but it turns out he was far from the only one that took a trip to the hospital after the cameras stopped rolling.
With his new movie Action Point currently in theaters, Knoxville sat down with Vanity Fair to talk about his Jackass years as well as the number of injuries he’s wracked up in his career and we don’t want to spoil too much, but we will say it’s a lot.