Why We Never Hear About Bam Margera Anymore
Starting in the early 2000s, MTV’s hit show Jackass turned a group of reckless young men into celebrities. One of these unhinged cast members was professional skateboarder Bam Margera. He may have seemed on the top of the world at the time, but we all know that a celebrity like that doesn’t stick around forever. While his Jackass co-star Johnny Knoxville capitalized on his fame, Margera began to fall by the wayside. Although he lingered on television to star in equally ridiculous shows such as Viva La Bam and Bam’s Unholy Union, he eventually disappeared entirely. Now, take a look to see what happened to Bam Margera, why he disappeared, and what he’s been up to.
His Music Career Went Down The Pipes
Back in 2002, Margera started the band Gnarkill with his brother Jess, Jackass cast member Brandon DiCamillo, and a few other friends. Margera claimed that Gnarkill was nothing but a good reason for him to get drunk and record songs on his tape recorder. The band released two albums:Gnarkill in 2002, and Unkle Matt and the … in 2006.
However, the band broke up after not long after the release of their second album. Margera attempted to revive his music career with the band F-Face Unstoppable, however, that group fell apart on account of Margera’s heavy drinking, progressively worsening after the death of his best friend Ryan Dunn in 2011.
He Saw Some Success On Sirus Satellite Radio
In 2014, his band F-face Unstoppable also broke up, cancelling a tour after only just three shows for many of the same reasons that Gnarkill decided to call it quits. However, more recently, he has supposedly been making music with a new group called the Eavesdroppers.
However, while he was struggling as a musician, he found some success on Sirius Satellite Radio where he hosted a long-running weekly show called Radio Bam. Yet, after almost a decade of the show being on the air, the show suddenly disappeared from the scheduling in 2013.
He Tried His Hand At Making Movies
Besides the Jackass films, Margera tried legitimate acting as well. In 2003, he co-wrote and co-starred in Haggard: The Movie, a comedy that starred Margera as well as a few other members of the Jackass crew. The film was a low-budget, independent comedy, although it was loosely based on a real-life relationship of his best friend Ryan Dunn that ended due to his unfaithfulness.
Then, in 2008, he starred and directed the sequel Minghags, which featured many of the same characters from the first film. Unsurprisingly, both films were released straight on DVD and didn’t receive much attention. In 2008, another film that went straight to DVD was his Christmas comedy, Bam Margera Presents: Where the #$&% Is Santa?
A Documentary In The Works
Although he’s tried his hand at low-budget comedy films a few times, apparently, he’s been working on a documentary for quite a few years. The film’s titled Where’s My Needle?! The Brandon Novak Story. The film is expected to be adocumentary about the skateboarder Brandon Novak and his struggle with addiction for the majority of his life.
In 2016, the production team released a trailer, however, the film appears to still be looking for a distributor. Furthermore, according to Margera’s IMDB page, he’s also planning on playing a police detective in an upcoming thriller titled Kidnapped.
He Opened Up A Club Called The Note
In 2006, Margera approached businessman Don Moore with the idea of opening up a bar/restaurant/club in his hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania. The Note opened two years later, although he spent much of his time battling community objections to the club, mostly because of his well-known party reputation.
The Note wasn’t allowed to do many of the things other establishments could, such as offer take-out-beer or hosthappy hour. They even had to hire extra security guards at all time. Still, Margera spent most of his time there with his friends while Moore handled the business side of things. In 2014, The Note closed after Moore grew tired of being the sole caretaker.
He Was Brutally Assaulted At His Club
After 2010, Margera began frequenting The Note less and less after a brutal altercation he had there. One night, a woman named Elizabeth Ray came down to The Note to complain about the noise since she lived right up the street.
She claims that Bam was dismissive about her claims and even hostile towards her. Margera admitted that he was out of line in some of the things that he called her. However, Ray claimed that Margera even went so far as to call her a racial slur.
Things Got Out Of Hand
Enraged, Ray went home and grabbed her baseball bat, only to return to the club. There, she found Margera and allegedly struck him hard in the head with the bat. Margera was rushed to a local hospital intensive care unit where he stayed overnight and was checked for major head injuries.
Ray was arrested on assault and reckless endangerment charges, but posted bail and was released. In an interview with The Philadelphia Daily news, she claimed that she was innocent although all evidence pointed to her assaulting Margera.
He Had His Fair Share Of Female Problems
When Viva La Bam was on the air, Margera was often seen with his fiancée, Jenn Rivell. However, although the couple was married, they divorced in 2005. Only a year after their divorce, Margera filed for a restraining order after Rivell supposedly tried to break into his house.
Yet, Margera found love again, and in 2006, he started dating and eventually proposed to his childhood friend Missy Rothstein. The events and their lives leading up to their wedding became the center of yet another series titled Bam’s Unholy Union.
Darkest Before The Dawn
Even though there was a TV show leading up to their wedding and the two did get married, it still didn’t work out. In 2009, Margera ended up in the hospital after a four-day drinking bender, around the same time that the two were already undergoing marriage counseling due to Margera’s struggles with addiction. Although the two eventually separated, their divorce wasn’t finalized until 2012.
However, Margera wasn’t going to give up on finding the woman he desired. In 2013, he married an artist named Nicole Boyd. In December 2017, after four years of marriage, the two welcomed their first child, a boy that they named Phoenix Wolf.
He Tried Becoming An Author
In 2009, Margera made an attempt at becoming an author with his first book being Serious As Dog Dirt. The book was a compilation of his drawings, personal photos, and excerpts of his random thoughts. However, his work was not well-received by his fans.
One disgruntled buyer even went so far as to write “Bam should be embarrassed to have put his name on this, but someone handed him a pile of money to hand over his notebook. DON’T BUY! I promise you will be disappointed.” It looks like Margera got the message after that.
He Even Dipped His Toes In The Game Show Business
After some years away from television, he returned to host a TBS series titled Bam’s Bad [Explicit] Game show. Co-created by Margera, contestants would complete stunts from the show Jackass (although significantly toned down). Unfortunately, for Margera, the show was canceled after just six episodes on account of horrendous ratings.
Yet, it wasn’t all Margera’s fault. The show was going up against huge programs running at the same time, such as WWE and the NBA playoffs, which even massive Margera fans weren’t willing to miss for his game show.
His Uncle Got Into Some Serious Legal Trouble
Margera’s uncle, Vincent Margera, better known as Don Vito, was part of the Viva La Bam family. He was well-known for his ridiculous behavior, nonsensical speaking, and for always getting slapped around and insulted by Bam.
It didn’t take long for him to become a celebrity himself and he began to appear at public events with Margera and the rest of the Viva La Bam crew. But then, in 2006, at a meet-and-greet in Colorado, he ended up getting into some serious trouble when he groped two girls age 14 and 12.
Bam Took His Uncle’s Side
For his actions, Don Vito was charged with sexual assault. Seeing how he has acted on the show and in the past, Margera’s fans weren’t incredibly surprised by this, although they were disgusted. What was surprising was how Margera brushed off his uncle’s crimes and stood by his side, proclaiming that he was innocent.
He claimed that the trial was a “frivolous lawsuit” and that his charges were nothing more than a way for the lawyers to steal thousands of dollars from his uncle and to get their names in the paper. Regardless, Vito was ultimately found guilty and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
Margera Had A Really Rough Time In Iceland
In 2015, one of Margera’s bands were booked to play the Secret Solstice Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland. The show went fine, and afterward, Margera proceeded to get extremely drunk. He tried to make his way into the control room. At the door, he was stopped by two female security guards who informed him that he wasn’t allowed past that point. Margera then went on to become violent, yelling offensive and nasty things at the two women.
The nearby Icelandic rap group Glacier Mafia saw the commotion and came over to investigate. Then, they delivered such a beat-down to Margera that he was left knocked out cold with some serious damage to his face.
Seeking The Help That He Needed
After the incident in Iceland, in 2015, Margera and his mother April appeared on VH1’s Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn. It’s no secret that Margera had been partying exceptionally hard for years. The loss of his best friend Ryan Dunn in 2011 sent him completely off of the rails. After what happened in Iceland, April contacted the producers of Family Therapy to stage what turned out to be a full-blown intervention for Margera.
His mother expressed how she honestly thought that Bam was going to die if he didn’t get help or stop partying. Thankfully, Bam made the decision to help himself and stopped drinking cold turkey.
Quitting Cold Turkey Wasn’t Enough
By 2017, it appeared that Margera finally had his life back on track. He wasn’t getting roaring drunk all the time, or being beat up by people for being intoxicated. But then in December 2017, shortly after announcing the birth of he and his wife’s first child, Phoenix Wolf, Bam learned the hard way that battling addiction isn’t something to be taken lightly.
On January 8, 2018, Margera was arrested for driving under the influence after he was pulled over for using his cell phone while driving. The police noticed signs of intoxication, in which he then failed a sobriety test. He was arrested and released on a $15,000 bail.
Getting Real Help Was His Only Choice
Only a few days after the incident, Margera checked into rehab for alcohol addiction, even posting a picture on the Internet from the bathroom of the facility. He commented that the layout of the bathroom allowed him to go to the bathroom and floss at the same time, showing that his spirits were still high.
Former Jackass member Steve-O, who had faced his own issues with addiction in years prior, let Margera know that the road ahead is long and steep. Steve told TMZ that "Rehab is like a gym, just because you’ve got a gym membership doesn’t mean you’re going to get really fit. It just depends on what you do when you get there."
The Charges Were Still Hanging Over His Head
Although he had checked into rehab for his addiction, it didn’t mean that the charges for his arrest had disappeared. He had not one, but two things that he was charged with upon his arrest. The first was for driving under the influence, and the second was for driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.8% or higher which Bam was well above.
He was scheduled to face a judge on February 1, 2018, where he could have faced up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. Luckily, for Margera, he was not sentenced to jail but instead three-years probation, fines, and to order to participate in a “live in” program.
Focusing On A New Documentary
In 2015, although he may still have had a few other projects underway, Margera announced that he had been working on a new documentary. He had already put three years into it, naming the filmI Need to Stay useless. The documentary follows Margera’s journey from growing up with essentially nothing as a young man to becoming one of the biggest celebrities on television with the help of Jackass.
He has also planned to include dream-like scripted sequences about Ryan Dunn, portrayed by Mastadon guitarist Bret Hinds. In 2016, the film was renamed Earth Rocker and has yet to be released except for a few test screenings.
Bam’s Future Was Looking Bright
It’s clear that Margera has been having a rough time since the end of Jackass and his other reality TV shows. The losses he’s suffered and trials he’s been through would bring even the strongest person to their knees. However, he’s made it apparent that he’s not going anywhere and that he’s still devoted to being creative and making people happy in the classic Bam Margera style. Thankfully, it looks like he’s on the right track to getting his life back together again.
Prior to his DUI in January 2018, he even got back on his skateboard again, taking some much needed personal time and going on a skate trip to Barcelona. We all had high hopes for Bam and want him to be just as happy as he has made so many people throughout his life.
Back To Rehab…
Although things seemed to be turning around for Bam, he ran into some major troubles several months after his January 2018 rehab stint. In January 2019, Bam returned to a rehab facility for the third time.
This was following a relapse after he was robbed at gunpoint while on vacation in Colombia in late 2018. He claimed that seeing the minibar in his hotel room after the disturbing event led to him relapsing on a couple of beers. The drinking quickly spiraled out of control, leading to his return to rehab in January.
Third Time In Rehab Was Not The Charm
Bam left the rehab facility after just 10 days in the program. In a lengthy journal entry that he posted online, he claimed that he didn’t need any professional help, like detox or medication, to quit drinking alcohol.
He also said that rehab was completely unproductive, as he was sitting around doing absolutely nothing. Bam claimed to be missing out on lucrative business deals and that he needed to be making money, not sitting around doing nothing.
Bam Has A Complete Meltdown
It turns out that Bam wasn’t able to detox from alcohol on his own. In March of 2019 he had a complete meltdown. Footage emerged of him blowing up at his manager at a comedy club where he was set to perform. Early on the same day Bam had posted a video of him complaining about his wife, Nikki Boyd.
In the videos posted to Instagram, Bam hysterically called Nikki an “[expletive] street ho’ who ‘took all my credit cards and went back home.'” He then threatened “If I don’t see her at the show, I’m canceling!”
The Comedy Show Didn’t Go As Planned
After arguing with Nikki on the street, Bam showed up visibly intoxicated at the comedy club. He was upset that the crowd wasn’t larger and demanded to know where everyone was. His manager tried to tell him that it was too early for the full audience to be there.
“We came early because you said to come early,” the manager can be heard in a video of the incident. But Bam couldn’t be persuaded, and canceled the show. He also threatened to smash his manager’s face, all caught in a shocking video posted online. In the video, Bam called his manager a number of expletives before threatening him.
His Friends And Family Are Deeply Worried
A week after his comedy club meltdown and tirade against his wife, Bam’s friends and family staged an intervention for the troubled 39-year-old. He was “unwillingly” brought to a behavioral facility — his fourth attempt at sobriety.
Sources close to his family told TMZ that they had to have him committed because he was resistant to getting help and they were increasingly worried about him. Some of Bam’s closest friends fear that he is battling a personality disorder in addition to abusing alcohol.
Whatever Happened To Steve-O?
Most people remember Stephen Glover, better known as Steve-O, from his outrageous antics on the hit MTV show Jackass. While all of the guys involved may have had a few screws loose, it can be argued that Steve-O may have been the wildest of the bunch. Whether it was snorting wasabi, getting highly questionable tattoos, or tight-rope walking over a pool of alligators, you could always count on Steve-O to put on a show. Yet, since Jackass has been off of the air, Steve-O has managed to get sober, and discover other things in life that he’s also passionate about. Check out what he’s been up to in the last few years and his amazing transformation.
The End Of An Era
After Jackass ended its show on MTV in 2002, Steve-O wasn’t ready to hang up the towel. So, he and fellow Jackass co-star Chris Pontius came out with MTV’s Wildboyz, featuring the two performing Jackass-like stunts with animals and native people from all over the world. The series lasted four seasons and ended in 2006.
From there, the stuntman spent the next few years being the spokesperson for Sneax Shoes, being featured on radio talk shows, and even being a contestant on a few reality television shows. He also spent some time aspiring to be a rapper and releasing mixtapes.
He Was Arrested Multiple Times
It was also during this time that the wild boy was getting into serious trouble with the law. In July 2002, he was arrested for obscenity after stapling his private parts to his leg, as well as for being principal to a second-degree battery during a performance in Louisiana.
Then, in May 2003, he was arrested for footage of him swallowing cannabis in a receptacle to get on an airplane, only to throw it up while on stage at a live show. Only months later, he was arrested again for urinating on potato chips in public at Lollapalooza festival. He was then kicked off of the tour by the festival.
Steve-O has always been known for his choice in tattoos. At one point, he even got a tattoo of a smiley face on his arm while off-roading with David Rollins. On top of that, his body is littered with other impulsive tattoos including a massive self-portrait that takes up the better part of his back with the caption “Yead dude, I rock!”
He was even trying to attempt to copy all of Angelina Jolie’s tattoos, including a tattoo of Billy Bob Thorton’s name on his arm although Angelina has since had it removed. He even dated LA Ink Star Kat Von D. who gave him a tattoo of himself as a baby before they broke up.
It Wasn’t Easy To Clean Up His Act
While Steve-O was always known for being a loose cannon, things took a turn for the worse when he pleaded guilty to felony possession of cocaine on June 4, 2008. However, he avoided going to jail after agreeing to complete a treatment program. Unfortunately, in July, after 115 days of sobriety, Steve-O announced that he was going “back to the looney bin.”
He said that he needed to check back into the mental institution claiming that “I’ve had horrible mood swings and severe depression. My brain is [expletive] up from using so much cocaine, ketamine, PCP, nitrous oxide, and many other substances.”
He Was Institutionalized
On February 23, 2008, Steve-O joined the rest of the Jackass Crew for the Jackass MTV 24 Hour Takeover where he was kicked out of the studio by MTV executives for his behavior and being extremely intoxicated. Then, on March 9, friend and Jackass host Johnny Knoxville received an email from Steve-O that hinted at his possible suicide.
Knoxville and other friends then dragged Steve-O to the hospital where he was placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold which was lengthened to 14 days. People who were close to Steve-O later received an apology email from him regarding his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse.
Steve-O: Demise And Rise
On May 3, 2009, MTV premiered a documentary titled Steve-O: Rise and Demise about his struggles with drugs and alcohol that eventually led him to be institutionalized. The film had home footage of Steve-O binging on drugs and alcohol and the outrageous acts he did that resulted from it.
In an interview, Johnny Knoxville claimed that “He’s taking to sobriety as 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.” After watching it himself, Steve-O claimed that he couldn’t watch it again because although it was embarrassing, it tempted him to break his sobriety.
Back In Full Force
After getting sober, Steve-O was apart of the third installment of the Jackass series, Jackass 3D, which was released in October 2010. Knoxville claimed that the stuntman’s sobriety was at its best during filming with the crew banning all drugs and alcohol when he was on set.
He stated that “[Steve-O] is really going for it. He wants to prove to everyone he can do these stunts sober. It’s been two years since he had a drink now. Everyone has been really supportive of him.” After the movie broke box office records, it was clear that Steve-O really was just an insane person and didn’t need to be intoxicated to perform.
He Got Involved In Comedy
Although we already knew that Steve-O had no problem entertaining the masses with his stunts, he decided to try his hand at comedy in November 2010. He then set off on a tour around the United States called “Steve-O’s Entirely Too Much Information Tour.”
According to the comic, standing up in front of a group of people and trying to make them laugh is equally if not scarier than some of his most reckless stunts. However, he didn’t let his fears stop him, as he did a nine-month tour in 2011 all over the US and even in Australia.
He Wrote An Autobiography
2011 was an eventful year for Steve-O as he also released an autobiography that he co-wrote with David Peisner. The book was titled Professional Idiot: A Memoir, which chronicled Steve-O’s life through all of the highs and lows of his career and personal life.
Essentially, it is Steve-O’s side of the story, something that the documentary Steve-O: Demise and Rise didn’t give him the opportunity to do. It also explains what he’s been up to including going vegan, his involvement in the NOH8 project, and his dedication to animal rights.
During the taping of the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen in 2011, things got a little out of hand when Steve-O was behind the mic. Of course, he called out Charlie Sheen on his past issues of drug abuse and promiscuity, but he also attacked his fellow roasters. He announced that “The last time this many nobodies were at a roast, at least Great White was playing.”
This was in reference to the fire during a Great White show in which 100 people were killed. This earned him some boos which led to him apologizing and asking Comedy Central to edit it out of the broadcast, which they did.
A Feud With Amy Schumer
Apparently, there wasn’t a dull moment during the filming of Charlie Sheen’s Roast. A long-lasting feud was ignited after comedian Amy Schumer made a joke about Ryan Dunn, a fellow Jackass star who had died in a drunk driving accident that same year. Steve-O, still mourning the loss of his friend, was evidently not amused at the joke whatsoever.
In a later interview, Steve-O went off on Schumer claiming that ” [In rehab] I learned the importance of forgiveness. And I forgive Comedy Central for letting that no-name [expletive] on the show in the first place. I have zero respect for that [expletive] but I’m not mad at her for telling a joke.” As of today, the two have fully reconciled.
He Has A Close Relationship With Mike Tyson
In an interview with GQ, Steve-O told a story about partying hard with Mike Tyson back in the day. Apparently, while crashing a party in the Hollywood Hills, the Jackass star found himself in a bathroom with the former boxer where the two indulged in copious amounts of cocaine and discussed subjects ranging from racism in America to how to make the world a better place.
The next time the two conversed one-on-one was when they ran into each other at the same psychiatric ward. The two were even together filming for the Charlie Sheen Roast where Steve-O intentionally jumped face-first into Tyson’s fist, breaking his nose is the process.
He’s Been Getting Into Acting
Even though Jackass may no longer be on the air, that doesn’t mean that Steve-O stopped wanting to be in front of the camera. In 2015, he had a role in the indie action comedy Barely Legal, where he worked alongside Hailee Steinfeld and Samuel L.Jackson. Steve-O plays a henchman to the villain played by Samuel L. Jackson.
Steve-O’s character is tasked with torturing a girl by injecting her with a truth serum to reveal her secrets. On top of that, Steve-O has also been doing voice-over work appearing on an episode of the Adult Swim series Mr. Pickles.
More And More Roles
In addition to his roles in the film Barely Lethal and voice-over work for Mr. Pickles, it appears that Steve-O is getting more and more work in the film and television industry. In terms of movies, most recently, Steve-O acted in the Netflix original film Game Over, Man! Alongside Anders Holm, Adam Devine, and Blake Anderson from the hit show Workaholics.
He’s also featured in the film Suicide Roadtrip which is currently in post-production with no official release date. For television, he has worked on the shows Shane & Friends, The Sideman Show, Billy Dilly’s Super-Duper Subterranean Summer, and Happy Together. Looks like Steve-O has been staying busy on-set!
He’s A Huge Animal Rights Activist
While animal rights may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think about Steve-O, in recent years, it’s been a huge part of his life. Due to a combination of events, it led him to eventually becoming a vegan and using his popularity to help raise awareness and support his various causes.
He even narrated a short documentary on animal rights called What Came Before: The Truth About Meat and Modern Farms for the organization Farm Sanctuary. In 2011, he was recognized by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and received the Nanci Alexander Award, one of the organization’s highest honors.
He’s Made His Opinion About SeaWorld Very Clear
While Steve-O is best known for his unique set of talents, recently, he’s been using them to speak out against SeaWorld. In 2014, he managed to climb onto a a sign over the Interstate 5 in San Diego to change the sign to say “SeaWorld Sucks.” He was fined $239 for his actions. However, the activist wasn’t satisfied.
In 2015, he upped the anti and climbed ip a 100-foot-tall crane on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Once on top, he blew up an inflatable orca whale which has “SeaWorld Sucks” written on it. He then proceeded to shoot off fireworks to get the attention of the public. For this public demonstration, he received some jail time and three years probation.
He Rescued A Stray Dog From Peru
In 2018, while filming a YouTube mountaineering series titled “Ultimate Expedition,” Steve-O met his future co-star. A known animal activist, he wanted to see if he could find a stray dog that would join them on his journey. While he tried giving food to many of them, only one, which he named Wendy, came forward.
After going into a building that didn’t allow dogs, he feared he would never see the K-9 again until she found him on the streets. After a bath and a trip to the vet, the two became inseparable with her joining him on his expedition. He took her home with him to Los Angeles claiming that “I’m going to bring her virtually everywhere I go for the rest of my life.”
He Just Completed His First Triathalon
In September of 2018, a decade into his sobriety, the man of many talents competed in the celebrity division of the 32nd annual Nautica Malibu Triathlon in Los Angeles to raise money for childhood cancer research. The race consisted of a half-mile swim, 17-mile bike ride, and a four mile run on the beach to finish off the race.
He posted on Twitter with his medal and the caption reading, “I really can’t believe how far I’ve come on this journey of life… I just got tenth place in my division at my first ever triathlon! Woohoo!!! #nauticamalibutri (full disclosure— my division was “men’s celebrity”, but there were tons of celebrities, so I’m stoked!)”
A Birthday Gift To Himself
In the years since he has been sober, the ex-party animal has devoted his life to healthy eating and fitness. While he’s still as crazy as ever, he’s also been a dedicated vegan since 2008 and more of a fitness freak with each passing day.
In an Instagram post in June 2018, he announced to the world that getting in the best shape of his life was a birthday gift to himself. He captioned the photo saying “For my birthday this year, I decided to get in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I may be old, but I’m healthy as [expletive]! #HappyBDayToMe.”
He’s Just Getting Started
Although Steve-O no longer pumps drugs and alcohol into his body or consumes meat, that doesn’t mean his overall personality has changed. While he may have new goals and a different outlook on life, he will always be Steve-O and he doesn’t want his fans to forget it.
Today, he can still be seen performing his wild stunts during his travels on his YouTube channel (steveo) or other social media accounts. Here, fans can still laugh at him while he wears poisonous jellyfish like a hat or being electrocuted with 50,000 volts just because he feels like it. He’s the new and improved Steve-O.
Jackass Got Its Start Because Johnny Knoxville Was Unemployed
All of the members from the Jackass crew can thank Johnny Knoxville for becoming MTV stars. Both before and after Jackass Johnny Knoxville worked as an actor, having studied at the American Academy of the Arts. During a period of time when he couldn’t get any work, he relied on stunt journalism to pay the bills. He would test self defense equipment such as pepper spray, tasers, and rubber bullets and then review them.
While no mainstream magazines were interested in his work, the underground skateboard magazine Big Brother was. Editor Jeff Tremaine wanted to add Knoxville’s reviews to their current line of magazine videos and Jackass was born.
An Oscar-Winning Director Helped Get The Show Off The Ground
Once the full concept for Jackass had been established, the group needed a little help getting the ball rolling. Luckily, Big Brother editor Justin Tremaine was friendly with well-known music video director Spike Jonze. By the ’90s, Jonze had begun working on full-length films such as Being John Malkovich and knew enough about the industry to help out.
Jonze helped Tremaine and Knoxville flesh out all of the concepts for the show and helped them put together an effective pitch for television networks. Jonze later went on to win an Academy Award for his work on Her and was an executive producer of Jackass.
There Was A Bidding War For The Show
Knoxville, Tremaine, and Jonze had realized that they were sitting on a gold mine with the idea to turn Jackass into a show. Considering the show’s demographic, who doesn’t want to see a bunch of irresponsible slackers hurt themselves for the public’s amusement? Once the network figured this out, a bidding war started which resulted in MTV barely beating out Comedy Central for the rights to air the show.
Saturday Night Live even wanted a piece of it, offering Knoxville the opportunity to have pre-recorded stunts played on the show each week. However, they wanted a whole show, not just a segment on SNL. Regardless, Knoxville would eventually host an episode in 2005.
The Original Title Was Rejected By MTV
That’s right, the original title for the show was worse than Jackass. Initially, the crew had pushed for the name [expletive]holes, but MTV put their foot down, claiming that the name was too profane even for what they were doing.
However, MTV agreed to let them use that name, except the title would have to be censored anytime the show aired, was advertised, or could be seen anywhere in public. This would essentially mean that the show didn’t have a name, so they came up with the “toned-down” name Jackass. Yet, even that title proved to cause some issues.
People Have Died Trying To Re-Create The Stunts
Regardless of the warning that was shown at the beginning of every episode and movie, people still tried to imitate some of the stunts that they saw. On countless occasions, this resulted in serious injuries with a few people unfortunately losing their lives. Most of these accidents were very clearly linked to people trying to either copy stunts or come up with their own, similar stunts.
Show creator Jeff Tremiane explained that “We would always watch something to see if it was too imitable, we still do that to this day.” MTV President Van Toffler followed up discussing all of the precautions that they take on set to make it a safe environment for their stunts.
A US Senator Led To The Show’s Demise
After a teen suffered from severe burns over 65% of his body trying to reenact the “Human Barbecue” stunt, Senator Joe Lieberman began to attack MTV directly. He claimed that while the show had a mature rating it was irresponsible for MTV to put it on the air because so many young teens were drawn to it. This led to MTV having to tone down many of the stunts that could be put on the show, ultimately leading to its ending.
Knoxville claimed that “MTV’s new restrictions were creating a watered-down version of the show,” which resulted in him quitting. However, they later came out with their much raunchier films that had little to no restrictions.
Cast Members Have Suffered Lifelong Injuries From Their Stunts
It came as no surprise when a member of the crew hurt themselves during a stunt, however, they weren’t always permanent. Apparently, Steve-O, who was known for vomiting frequently on the show, contracted something known as Barrett’s Esophagus. He described it as “a pre-cancerous condition in my throat/esophagus for which I blame all of my vomiting, drug abuse, and generally [expletive] living in years past.”
Johnny Knoxville is part of this group too. While trying to land a backflip on a motorcycle, he ended up rupturing his urethra. Aside from having to use a catheter for three years, he now has permanent damage to his privates.
Bam Margera Wanted To Have Mike Tyson Bite Off His Ear
While drinking wine on a plane during a brainstorming session, professional skateboarder and Jackass star Bam Margera came up with what he thought was a grand idea. His idea was to have his ear bitten off by nobody else but Mike Tyson himself. He claimed that the stunt would give him a lot of “street cred.”
Since this was an idea for one of the films, the production company actually reached out to Tyson to see what he would have to say about Margera’s idea. Paramount got back to Margera saying that Tyson got offended and said no. Surely Margera is happy that stunt never happened.
A Lot Of The Stunts Were Denied
While there’s no denying that many of the stunts on the MTV show were downright unbelievable, it’s surprising to learn that many of the ideas for Jackass stunts were actually forbidden by MTV. Of course, most of these rejected ideas involved Steve-O, who was always trying to take the show and his own stunts to the next level.
Yet, it all worked out, as Many of Steve-O’s stunts that were left out of the show came out on a DVD called Don’t Try This at Home: The Steve-O Video. Also, many of the other sketches that didn’t air made it into the first Jackass movie.
Shooting In Japan For The First Film
For the first Jackass the Movie, if you watch closely, you’ll notice that many of the sketches are filmed in Japan. This isn’t just out of coincidence but was part of a strategy. Besides changing the scenery for the stunts, they also didn’t have to worry about hordes of teenagers figuring out where they’re filming and showing up to the location.
Another reason was that they didn’t have to blur out the faces of non-consenting people in their footage because of certain Japanese laws. This made a lot of their post-production work a lot easier than it would have been otherwise.