The shows title card.
|Created by||Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Jeff Tremaine|
|Opening theme||"Corona" by Minutemen|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|First aired||October 1, 2000|
|“||Morons...I work with morons!||”|
Stupidity was more than just a state of mind on Jackass, it was a merry fact of life. Oddly enough, it all started as a joke but then went on to become one of MTV's most popular shows ever.
"The fact that the joke is still playing out after all these years is, quite possibly, the greatest Jackass stunt of all-time." - Sean Cliver
In the Beginning there was 'Big Brother', a skateboarding magazine more know for it's irreverent wit and subversive content than comprehensive coverage of the activity. Jeff Tremaine held the combined position of Art Director/Editorial Manager on the magazine and was significantly responsible for the cultivation of it's silly composition. A state that attracted numerous oddities from the frindges of the skateboard sect, such as Chris Pontius, Steve-O and Jason "Wee Man" Acuna. During his Tenure at the helm, Jeff began to envision the possibilities of a television show taking the more absurd facets and faces of 'Big Brother' to a whole new level.
Sean Cliver recalls the first time Jeff mentioned anything about this fantasy in 1997. "We were drinking at a bar in west Hollywood, (go figure), when he ran it past me. I said it sounded like a funny idea but didn't reckon how small-time schmucks like us would ever break into something so grand as Hollywood. Good thing I wasn't captain of the Mayflower back then".
Far fetched though it seemed, Jeff's dream gained considerable ground when some goof going by the name "Johnny Knoxville United States Of America" appeared on the mag's doorstep with the brilliant idea for a "self-defense" article, where a variety of weapons would be tested on himself. Jeff gave him an enthusiastic go ahead, of course, along with the recommendation that the entire event be filmed.
The "Self Defense Test" debuted in the Big Brother video Number Two. A surprising amount of interest was generated in this Knoxville character, which was quite remarkable considering he had to upstage Chris Pontius and his "Poocano."
When Johnny's Next round of self-abuse material began to take shape for the subsequent Big Brother video "Boob", Jeff knew he'd found a suitable partner in Knoxville to heave their moronic brand of antics at the "Big time." However, since he had virtually no understanding of the entertainment industry, Jeff enlisted the aid & experience of his longtime friend and former schoolmate Spike Jonze, who, in turn, expressed an interest in collaborating in the show. If nothing else, Spike most likely viewed the idea of guerrilla-minded project as a welcomed diversion from the "serious" things going on in his professional life (offhand, I can't think of many Academy Award Nominees who would sully themselves with a trip to a hole-in-wall colonic office for an up close and personal view of stale shit being siphoned out of Santa Claus's ass).
Jeff & Johnny threw together a slipshod reel of footage taken from the miscellaneous Big Brother videos, along with a sprinkling of clips from Bam Margera's first CKY video , to make their debut into the history books. Formal pitches were made to many cable networks (including Comedy Central, FX and HBO) but all along MTV was the ideal host for Jackass. The tape soon spread though out the entertainment industry like some sort of Mad Cow's disease! The name Johnny Knoxville was burnt into the eyes & minds of nearly everyone who was anyone.
In the meantime Johnny continued on his way to the first "official" stunt filmed for Jackass in autumn 1998: a questionably brave or be it stupid attempt at riding the nastiest bull in the pen at the 'Gary Leffew School of Bull Riding'. Then in march of 2000 MTV bravely offered to fund the development of a Jackass pilot.
A makeshift office/workspace was created in a vacant office building in Hollywood, where Jeff set to work employing a close knit crew of assorted friends from Big Brother and beyond to aid him in the realization of his vision.