When it comes to raunchy, extreme stunt humor, Jackass sits near the top of the totem pole. Created in October of 2000, the Jackass franchise has generated a lot of buzz and laughs over the years, and its epic form of comedy through extreme, and sometimes gross, stunts has allowed for their comedic longevity to be endless.
Johnny Knoxville is the head honcho of Jackass, along with personalities involved such as Jeff Tremaine, professional skateboarder Bam Margera, known crazy person Steve-O, wee man, and the late Ryan Dunn, who passed away in 2011. One may look at a show like this and be disgusted, but overall, that’s not the case. Unfortunately, Knoxville has lost interest due to injuries sustained throughout the production of the series of Jackass films, and the death of his good friend Ryan Dunn, which made his life significantly less funny.
Francesca Donovan of Unilad wrote an article called ‘Society Is Worse Without Jackass And We Can Prove It.’ She had to say the following about the tight bond that the cast of the show had with one another, “They had real camaraderie. The Jackass stars earned their devotees through a genuinely great TV product, but more importantly, it was evident that all the members treated each other like family – and that’s heartwarming to watch amid the rocket launchers, fish hooks and pints of sweat.”
Their camaraderie amongst the chaos was something that endeared them to audience members including myself. My friends, brothers, and I would piss ourselves laughing for years whenever we were watching Jackass, which was quite frequently.
So what? What’s the point of all of this? In this era of technology and media that continues to develop and expand, forms of raunchy and extreme stunt comedy will continue to come out, but nothing may reach the stature of Jackass. Johnny Knoxville and his crew’s visions set the bar high for this genre of media. YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter are hotbeds for this sort of content. If it makes its way to one platform, it’s sure to make it to others and be picked up by numerous media outlets.
No matter how much traction this type of content generates in this age of media and technology, nothing will match Jackass in some ways, and here’s why. Jackass was popular when technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now. That lack of technology in the show’s heyday made it easier for people to connect on a more personal level and enjoy it together. Similar content in today’s age doesn’t quite size up in that regard.
Jackass provoked, in a way, the creation of Nitro Circus, which is a scaled down, television show version of Jackass with Travis Pastrana, a famous x games competitor. Nitro Circus also came out in a singular movie. This is of course on top of several installments of Jackass. Nitro Circus as a television show started in June 2009, and as a movie in August 2012.
Another thing that has contributed to the longevity are platforms like Netflix and On Demand that held installments of Jackass for quite some time. Jackass installments are not on those platforms anymore but certainly contributed to the show’s longstanding popularity. Nitro Circus: 3D is on Netflix, and Nitro Circus: The Movie is still on On Demand.
Going back to Donovan’s point about their camaraderie, none of these new shows that are similar to Jackass and/or Nitro Circus have that wonderfully hilarious bond between the characters. Whether it is in behind the scenes footage or in the real thing, the love between each other is there. The fact that the show is unfortunately no longer in production left a void in this genre of entertainment.
As unfortunate and tragic as his death was, Dunn’s death showed how deep their camaraderie was. The show wasn’t quite the same after his death, as Knoxville even said. They cared about one another so much that they couldn’t go on much longer with the production after a core member passed on. This is a dark example, and I don’t mean it to sound grim, although it might be, but tragedy can really foster true togetherness.
No other extreme stunt comedy program has ever that type of bond between everyone involved, and that, amongst other reasons previously discussed, makes Jackass truly unique and memorable through the test of time.