Jackass’ appeal was its violence. We were allowed to enjoy the torture these scumbags were inflicting upon themselves because they approached it with such glee. Perhaps no other show exemplified the youthful rite of passage that is believing you’re going to live forever. And, thankfully, that illusion was never broken during its initial MTV run or in any of the subsequent films. We watched men jam stuff in their asses, mangle their testicles, and get gored by bulls with amusement because everyone walked away in the end. But part of getting older is realizing that actions have consequences, and to watch the series as an adult is to ponder how Johnny Knoxville’s back is doing these days.
A new piece in Page Six delves into the lives of a few old cast members, and while they’re all still, well, functioning, they most certainly sound worse for the wear. Cast member Ehren McGhehey, for example, reveals that the stunts resulted in “25 surgeries including nine knee surgeries and three broken backs.” It might sound insane that one would subject themselves to such torture, but McGhehey points out that the only way you were going to get on TV was to push the show past its boundaries.
“We were all kind of competing for that time [on TV],” he says. “There were some things that I obviously didn’t want to do — like I don’t know any human being that would want to be chased by bulls or be blindfolded — that sucks — or drink [their] own pee. Those things are what people remember and it makes people laugh and that was the whole point of it.”
The profile also touches on Chris Raab, who eventually left the show due to his addiction to alcohol and pain pills, which he says were a direct result of the stunts. “If you got hurt, you were like, ‘Oh, I can just take a pill for that,’” he tells Page Six. “And you justify it’s a painkiller, I’m in pain. I broke my ankle. I need this. And then you justify it to yourself if you broke your arm, you’d need [another painkiller] too. And before you know it, you’re just so caught up in it.”
And then there’s the case of breakout star Bam Margera, who was arrested for driving under the influence just last month. Alcohol problems appear to have plagued him since the 2011 death of his Jackass co-star and childhood friend Ryan Dunn, who died in a grisly car accident while driving drunk.
“[With] the way that we live as humans now with sports and stuff we do, it’s almost like people live like it’s a video game,” McGhehey continues. “I’m here to tell you it’s not. You only get one body. Take care of it.”
We never thought we’d say this a decade ago, but, kids, listen to the guy from Jackass.