‘Jackass’ Star Johnny Knoxville Opens Up About Turning Down ‘Saturday Night Live’

by Jonathan Howard

Throughout all of the years, broken bones, internal bruises, and more, Jackass star Johnny Knoxville did it all. But not Saturday Night Live.

Knoxville and Steve-O might be the biggest faces of the franchise, but they have always had a great cast around them. Despite the fact that the Jackass crew rolls deeper than Death Row Records used to back in the day, Knoxville is the most recognizable and enduring of the series and the movie franchise.

Over the years, the Jackass guys were able to get some attention. So, they started getting different roles and parts. However, when it comes to Knoxville, he might have made one decision that saved the franchise to this day. While trying to pitch the TV show, an unlikely person came by with an offer for the self-taught stuntman from Tennessee.

It was Lorne Michaels… And he wanted Johnny Knoxville to do 5 minutes of stunts and pranks during Saturday Night Live. The rest of the cast was not included in the deal, though. Knoxville had a big decision. He talked about that decision with The Hollywood Reporter.

“They were going to give me, like, five minutes,” Knoxville explained. “Each week to do what I do, but that would just be me. And I couldn’t do both. Our show was about to go. So I kind of bet on us as opposed to on myself. I was really flattered that Lorne Michaels asked me to have lunch with him at the Polo Lounge, but I said, ‘No, I’m going to do this instead.'”

If that had come to fruition, not only would Jackass likely not exist in the form it does today, but think of the other implications. Those early 2000s SNL casts are iconic, Knoxville could have added or hindered that reputation.

‘Jackass’ Star Has Talked SNL in the Past

When it comes to Saturday Night Live and Jackass, Knoxville isn’t the first to bring up this forgotten story. Really die-hard fans might remember a little interview Jeff Tremaine did back in 2006. This would have been at the height of the franchise’s popularity. Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Bam Margera… they all dominated MTV during this time.

Tremaine talked about almost losing Jackass and Knoxville to Lorne and SNL.

“The ball was rolling on Jackass, but it was going slow. We made a little tape basically showing what Jackass was. It was going around, and it was really popular. SNL got a hold of it,” the producer explained. “They made an offer, and it almost killed the deal because [the offer] was a sure thing for [Knoxville].”

Thankfully, Jackass and SNL never were blended. Knoxville remained true to his friends and cast members, and now we wait for Jackass Forever.