Monday, November 08, 2010

Here's to the Johnny Knoxville and the Jackasses!

Saw “Jackass - 3D” yesterday and I can’t remember the last time I laughed hard enough for my stomach to hurt. That said, while I had to fight off cramps caused by laughing, there were also moments when I got the dry-heaves at the thought of what was happening on screen. (I couldn’t watch – I would definitely have yarked up dinner if I’d so much as peeked.)

For those of you who (sensibly?) have never seen Jackass the TV series and don’t know what it’s about - basically, it’s a bunch of guys (including a dwarf and a grossly overweight man) behaving like... well, like jackasses. There’s no storyline at all, either to the TV show or to the “movies” – it’s just a series of ridiculous, horrifying, stomach-churning, gut-wrenchingly OTT pranks and practical jokes. So much of it is about testing the limits of physical pain and endurance, not to mention taking bad taste to unprecedented depths (sometimes literally). There are no women in this show, but that’s no surprise if you ask me. I cannot imagine any woman subjecting herself willingly to such pointless physical pain and tomfoolery.

I say pointless, but there IS a point – entertainment. While the show is all that I’ve described and more in the way of nauseating antics, it’s also hilarious. Sometimes I find myself wanting not to laugh, but I end up laughing anyway, from sheer shock. Why is it funny to watch men deliberately put themselves in the way of pain and bruises? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that most of the time they choose to do what they do despite knowing that they’ll end up hurt. Sometimes they don’t know what hits them (literally), sometimes they know what’s coming.

There’s a lot of laddish yuckiness – farting, vomiting, pissing, violence which involves being hit in the privates, testing the boundaries of the most revolting things one can experience (being covered in dog shit, anybody?) and so on. But 99% of the time, whether they’ve been ambushed by the others, or been through the wringer by choice, the Jackasses end up laughing – no matter how painful the experience they’ve just been through. If they can laugh at themselves and see the joke in pretty much everything, why should we not laugh at them?

I must confess that I did not think I had it in myself to enjoy Jackass. It's so diametrically opposite to good taste and cultured pursuits. I would have considered it beneath my dignity, thought it compromising of my good taste, and other such prissy sentiments. It’s really not like me to enjoy such crude humour as Jackass provides. At least, that is what I would have said, had I been able to do so without knowing myself for a hypocrite. The fact is, I DO like it; therefore, it stands to reason that crude humour MUST be like me. My only saving grace is that subtle, witty, intelligent humour is also very much to my taste.

There is one other major reason I like Jackass – the lead Jackass, Johnny Knoxville. He’s good looking the way Jim Carrey is good looking. (I’m a big fan of Jim Carrey.) And oh man, is he in superb physical shape or what. Then again, he has to be fit to withstand the sort of physical trauma he puts himself through.

Note: Click on the link in the first paragraph to read the Guardian interview with Johnny Knoxville.

1 comment:

Scott Andrews said...

You might enjoy my posting on the Jackass films and their homoeroticism: