- Steve-O isn’t afraid to admit Jackass was a bad influence when it first debuted
- The stuntman says he understands the backlash the crew was subjected to and admitted the show and movies were “worth vilifying” at one point
- He also explained why he thinks it no longer deserves that stigma
If you were a regular viewer of Jackass when it first took the world by storm after debuting on MTV in 2000, you’re likely very familiar with the warning that popped up on the screen at the start of every episode, which read:
“The following show features stunts performed either by professionals or under the supervision of professionals. Accordingly, MTV and the producers must insist that no one attempt to recreate or re-enact any stunt or activity performed on this show.”
There’s also a very good chance you soundly ignored that advice, as there was no shortage of fans who insisted on following in the footsteps of a crew comprised of some of the worst role models on the planet—a label that at least one member probably wouldn’t take any issue with.
Steve-O recently sat down with Mike Tyson for an episode of Hotboxin’ to reflect on the wild ride he’s experienced in the wake of his meteoric rise to fame.
It’s safe to say he’s come a long way since linking up with Johnny Knoxville and Co., and at one point in the conversation, he addressed the backlash they received during their early days and acknowledged they probably deserved most of it (the segment in question kicks off around the 47:15 mark).
Here’s what he had to say via The A.V. Club:
“I think in the beginning of Jackass, we were genuinely worth vilifying because back then they didn’t have YouTube or video on the internet and we were legitimately a bad influence.
When Jackass came out, little kids were showing up in hospitals all over the country and maybe the world because they saw us doing this crazy shit and they wanted to do it themselves.
So, little kids everywhere got video cameras and started f—king themselves up and showing up in hospitals and getting really hurt. At that time you could really point to us as being a bad influence.
But I think over the years, because now that there’s so much YouTube, Ridiculousness, so much, it’s not our f—king fault anymore.”
Steve-O kind of glosses over the fact that many of the YouTube videos in question probably wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Jackass; hell, it’s hard to ignore the reason newly-minted member Zach Holmes caught Knoxville’s attention in the first place was the crazy stunts he posted on Instagram under the “Zackass” handle.
With that said, there’s something to be said for how far Steve-O and the rest of the squad have come since their early days, as the vast majority of the stunts featured in Jackass 4 were elaborate and complex to a point where they’d be close to impossible to replicate at home compared to hijinks that only required a shopping cart or skateboard to pull off.