Jackass 4.5 is now available to stream on Netflix. The film contains unreleased footage and outtakes from Jackass Forever, which grossed over 80 million when it was released in theaters earlier this year. Originally a 30-minute show on MTV, the Jackass franchise was created by MoCo natives Jeff Tremaine and Spike Jonze, along with actor Johnny Knoxville. Tremaine and Jonze were childhood friends, both growing up in MoCo and graduating from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda in the mid 80s and are both executive producers of all the Jackass movies.
Tremaine is the former editor of the skating culture magazine Big Brother and a former art director of the influential BMXmagazine GO. He was also a former professional BMX rider. Tremaine has directed and produced all the movies in the Jackass franchise and was also the executive producer on the MTV reality series Rob and Big, and the executive producer of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, Ridiculousness, Nitro Circus, and Adult Swim’s Loiter Squad.
Jonze began his career as a teenager photographing BMX riders and skateboarders for Freestylin’ Magazineand Transworld Skateboarding, and co-founding the youth culture magazine Dirt. Moving into filmmaking, he began shooting street skateboarding films, including the influential Video Days (1991). Jonze co-founded the skateboard company Girl Skateboards in 1993 with riders Rick Howard and Mike Carroll. Jonze’s filmmaking style made him an in-demand director of music videos for much of the 1990s, resulting in collaborations with Sonic Youth, R.E.M., Beastie Boys, Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk, Weezer, Kanye West and more.
The early inspiration for Jackass came when Knoxville was an aspiring actor who pitched an idea to test self-defense equipment on himself. This captured the interest of Jeff Tremaine’s skateboarding magazine Big Brother. Some of the stunts were recorded and included in Big Brother‘s “Number Two” video. Eventually a demo of the stunt/prank television show was created and pitched to several networks. Saturday Night Live made an offer to make the show the subject of a recurring segment, which was rejected. A bidding war between Comedy Central and MTV, but the trio of Tremaine, Jonze, and Knoxville accepted a deal half hour show on MTV.
Jackass originally aired for three seasons on MTV between October 2000 and February 2002. The show debuted on October 1, 2000. After the second episode had aired MTV gained its highest Sunday ratings in its history, featuring a cast of nine carrying out stunts and pranks on each other or the public.