You’d think that Eric André is constitutionally immune to pranks at this point. After all, the comedian and actor (who has a recurring role as a Randy “Macho Man” Savage-style megachurch preacher on this season of The Righteous Gemstones) has built a lucrative career out of making people very uncomfortable by fearlessly hurling himself into gonzo stunts. The Eric Andre Show, whose fifth season of absurdist chaos premiered back in October, routinely sees André putting his body on the line for his comedy, with André’s most recent show-related hospitalization coming at the hands of wrestler/actor John Cena, who hurled the much smaller host right through an inadequately gimmicked shelving unit.
With a concussion being merely another day at the office for the seemingly fearless André, one might imagine that his inevitable friendship with the similarly self-destructive guys of the Jackass franchise would be nothing to worry about. Not so, according to André, who, appearing on Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, admitted that, when the call came to be in the latest Jackass movie, “It was, like, the quickest I’ve ever said yes to a project, and then immediately—terrified.”
What, you might ask, could scare Eric Andre when it comes to prank-based entertainment? After all, he did his own, Jackass-but-with-a-plot feature film in Bad Trip, where André memorably courted disaster by asking a very unamused barber to separate his and co-star Lil Rel Howery’s penises from a conjoining finger trap. (The resulting, caught-on-camera near knife-attack made for good film, but found the two comics literally running down the street from an angry guy with a knife.) Explaining that his brand of confrontational comedy owes a big debt to Johnny Knoxville and his Jackass crew, André told Kimmel, “Oh my god, they raised me. They shaped my worldview.” So that explains a lot.
So what could make even the intrepid André fearful when meeting his idols on the Jackass set? The old exploding porta-potty gag was one thing, with André describing a Jackass set as like “the Vietnam war of comedy,” since there might be literal landmines littering the ground with each step. Being friends with that lot is even more unpredictable, as André shared the time when he—recovering from contracting the Omicron variant over Christmas—was startled from his lonely, sick, and stoned Christmas Eve by a maniac in an Andy Warhol wig hurling toilet paper over his house.
It was Knoxville, naturally, just trying to cheer André up. André told Kimmel that, before Knoxville revealed himself, the police had already been called, with André screaming at the intruder that he was getting his gun. Knoxville, again naturally, was thrilled at having caused his pal such panic, noting that it would have been great and fitting publicity for Jackass Forever (which explodes into theaters in October) if André had either shot him or had him arrested. Or, hey, both. Anything for a pal, and a gag.