- Johnny Knoxville joined ‘Jackass’ co-star Steve-O on Steve-O’s podcast where they swapped stories about their wild adventures over the years
- Here they laugh through stories of times they almost died (for real) but felt invincible due to those around them
- Read more STEVE-O articles here
There are few stuntmen in the modern era who have come as close to death as Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O while filming Jackass. It’s quite possible these two have had so many close brushes with death they literally don’t even remember some of the closest incidents anymore.
But thankfully for us, they still remember a few of their closest near-death experiences and on a recent episode of Steve-O’s Wild Ride they started swapping stories about times they nearly saw the grim reaper. You can hit ‘play’ on the video below but I’ve also transcribed the video for anyone out there who would rather read than watch.
Steve-O And Johnny Knoxville Laugh Through Stories Of When They Almost Died For Real
Steve-O: “The first time you met Manny (Puig), you said ‘I want to get bitten by a rattlesnake.’ Manny says ‘you can’t do that.’ And you were really pushing for it like ‘no, no, no, just let the rattlesnake bite me.’
And we learned that when Manny says ‘no’ that means ‘f–king no’.”
Johnny Knoxville: “Yeah, if Manny is sketchy about it then it’s like ‘alright, alright’ (we give up).”
Steve-O: “Because when Manny says ‘yes’ that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good.”
Johnny Knoxville: “What was that when before you were hanging out over the alligator pit… what was his safety plan?”
Steve-O: “He says, ‘if an alligator gets ahold of Steve-O, Steve-O will relax and hopefully the alligator will release him.”
He’s so great. I remember … It might’ve been the first time I ever filmed with Manny when we went out to do the Hammerhead (shark) thing. It was the first day with sharks and Manny. And they chopped barracuda (fish) in half and strung them all up with bloody chump. (I had) chopped up barracuda fish with strapped all over me and then Manny put me in the water with the sharks.
I remember my dad saw it and said ‘how can it possibly be safe to be covered in chum (and) swimming with sharks?’ and I looked at dad like ‘daaad, Manny was there! GOD.’ Manny’s like my little force field.”
Johnny Knoxville: “Yeah, I feel that way with Gary Leffew with the bull. I mean I feel that way about Manny too. He’s just, he’s Tarzan, right? And you do feel, even though you’re doing something f–ked, you do feel like somewhat safe just because he’s there.
And the same with Gary Leffew with bulls. I just always feel like he’s always got my back, and he always has. He hires the best bullfighters because they’re crucial. Because if you get KO’d and you’re alone in the ring with the bull it could be even worse.”
The Time Steve-O Kicked A Mako Shark In The Face As It Went To Bite Him
Steve-O: “There was a time, and everyone’s going to know this, with Manny when we put the fish hooks through my face and cast me out into the sharks. Manny’s chopping up the (fish), he’s chumming the water, hacking up fish. And he sees this mako shark going after me like it’s going to bite my foot.
And (it was) one of the very few times Manny ever became uncomfortable while filming. Like I heard him, he screams ‘Steve-O watch out!’ And I hear that and I’m like f–k and I panic and go to kick and swim away. And in that motion I inadvertently kick the mako shark in the head as it’s going for me foot which was arguably one of the closest calls I’ve ever had.
And it was years later I asked Jeff Tremaine, I said ‘Jeff, dude, if that mako shark bit my foot… We were two hours away from the coast of Hurricane Katrina-devastated Louisiana, like what the f–k was the plan? A helicopter?’ And Tremaine says ‘oh, we didn’t have a plan. We got God.’ Like how do you explain how lucky we have been?”
What WAS the best-case scenario with that stunt?
Johnny Knoxville: “When I was in Arkansas getting ready to do the riot control test and I was talking to Jeff (Tremaine) and talking about casting you out to see with the hook through your mouth and chummed up waters with sharks… And I was like ‘Jeff, what is the, uhhh… what’s the best-case scenario of this because if we get footage that means something terrible has happened? And how do we air that? What are we going for here?’
And he’s like ‘oh no, it’ll be great.’ and I really had questions about that. So it was one of those things where it couldn’t have went any better. You didn’t get hurt but you almost got annihilated, you were almost missing a foot…”
Steve-O: “Right, it was like ‘great, Jeff, you’ve explained the beginning and the middle but??? (laughing)”
Johnny Knoxville: The end… There’s only one way for this to end for it to air (with Steve-O alive), right? I remember being troubled by that bit but I wasn’t so troubled that I said ‘don’t do it’ … (laughing) … but I did have pause. I was thinking of you Steve-O.”
Let’s not forget the Alligator Tightrope
Steve-O: “And it was the same thing with the Alligator Tightrope… As I understood it, my job with the Alligator Tightrope… I was like ‘oh yeah, tomorrow I’m getting bitten by an alligator. I’m going to walk down the tightrope, fall off in the alligator pit, and then I get bitten.’
And that was another one, I remember feeling like not getting bitten by the alligator and it just taking the chicken out of th jockstrap. To me that felt like the way you (Knoxville) described getting on a suicide bull. I was like ‘oh man, I’ve lost my respect. I showed up go get attacked by an alligator…”
Johnny Knoxville: “No, but that was great. Because you could’ve. You very would could have (been bitten by an alligator). And you stuck it out and you did all that you needed to do. So… That’s a great bit.”
Steve-O: “In hindsight I’m not upset about it but I remembered thinking ‘oh, I really got away with one today’.”
Some Other Close Brushes With Death From Steve-O And Johnny Knoxville
Steve-O: “What are some of the other just crazy ‘we’ve got angels’ (moments)? I think about Jackass…
Johnny Knoxville: The rocket. It not only almost killed me but one rocket goes back like 150 yards and goes right between (Rick) Kosick and Scott Manning’s ear. And that would have decapitated one of them or both of them. It was a foot-long metal rod.
That was an angel.
The steel wall falling on me at the end of Jackass Number Two because the guy who rigged it was like ‘you get to your mark, don’t move. This is a steel wall, you will die if it hits you.’ And I’m not listening before I do a stunt sometimes you can be talking to me but you can see in my eyes that I’m far away.”
The Steel Wall Falling On Knoxville..
Paul Brisske: “I remember seeing the wall hit you thinking that was the bit.”
Johnny Knoxville: “No, no that wasn’t supposed to happen. And I remember on the set I’d had my daughter come down because I thought ‘no one’s going to get hurt today, it’s pretty casual’.
And then that steel wall slammed me and it goes silent on the set except for Madison, she goes ‘dad, what are you doing? You idiot!’ and then everyone started laughing after that because I moved around a little.”
Check out the full episode with Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O right here:
It really is a miracle they have all their limbs.