ICYMI: Erika Ehler on Jackass Forever

Award-winning deadpan comic Erika Ehler watches the final feature-length Jackass instalment for the sake of art as she embarks on her first Fringe hour

Feature by Erika Ehler | 29 Jul 2022
  • Jackass Forever Illustration

I have always been aware of the Jackass franchise. The boys in my elementary school would try to recreate their stunts on our school's jungle gym to our teachers' dismay. And to be honest I thought if those idiot boys like that show then I won't have anything to do with it. Plus I think at the time Totally Spies! or That’s So Raven were a bit more my speed and I didn’t have any older siblings to expose me to MTV's programming.  

Cut to maybe middle school or my first two years of high school where I would come home and see reruns on TV and watch grown men hurt themselves for my amusement. I saw the appeal. 

The Jackass franchise started out as a TV show and then expanded into movies that have come out sporadically over the years. Many people fail to go from TV show to movie but the Jackass team did not struggle with this. All their movies have been wildly popular. 

And this may sound insane but (hear me out) I think it’s one of the few comedies that you can sit down with your family and watch and it won't feel awkward even though in Jackass Forever (spoiler alert?) pranks include the consumption of pig semen, a naked – but with a semi – man getting his ding dong stung by bees, and a grown man shitting himself. I think Bridesmaids is a great comedy, but watching it in theatres with my mum and it opening with a scene where Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig are boning is awkward. I wouldn’t feel that way watching a movie with my mum where a man gets pig semen dumped on him by his peers. I just wouldn't! I mean that's just pure lolz. 

The highest compliment I can give a comedy is when it's so good you forget about the world for just a little bit. Jackass Forever achieves that. Even if it's not your cup of tea there are things to admire about the film and the people who made it. All the pranks or stunts are extremely creative. They have to outdo their past selves. And then there’s the added, I suppose, drama of it all which is: these dudes are OLD. They aren’t boyish skater dudes who do these insane stunts anymore. They got white hair and back issues doing these stunts and you have to commend them for that. The commitment to their craft is inspiring.

They brought in some newbies, I think, to showcase new talent but also because their old, old (mid 40s/50s) bodies can’t take certain stunts any longer. Wee Man said out of all the four Jackass movies, "this one hurt the most." Zach Holmes made a huge impression out of all of the fresh jackass-ees. Very charismatic. 

There were also a few celebrity cameos, one being Eric André, who seemed right at home. He was not at all afraid to get involved – he really seemed in his element. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackass was an inspiration to him creatively. Bruce Dern wanted to make a guest appearance in Jackass Forever, but filming had already wrapped by the time they got his request. I would have loved to see what that would have been. Because they didn’t hold back on Tyler, the Creator. I just think it would have been funny to see what they would do to push Bruce’s buttons. 

Not to toot my own horn but I am an incredibly strong joke writer, however nothing I write – or anyone will write – will top watching dudes get hit in the balls. It just can't compete. One thing I like about this style of comedy is that language is not a barrier. You could not know a lick of English, turn it on and still have an amazing 90 mins of entertainment. That’s the beauty of Jackass Forever

In an interview, Johnny Knoxville said that Jackass Forever will be his final contribution to Jackass. And he sticks with that. I think it’s a perfect send-off to his beloved franchise and his legacy.

I won’t mince words here. If you don’t see the humour in Jackass Forever, you are just a dense loser. 

Erika Ehler: Femcel, Monkey Barrel Comedy (Carnivore 1), 1-28 Aug, 9.40pm, £7-10