The Real Johnny Knoxville Might Surprise You

50-year-old is calling it quits after the 4th 'Jackass' film comes out this fall
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2021 7:30 AM CDT
The Real Johnny Knoxville Might Surprise You
Johnny Knoxville attends the Los Angeles premiere of "Action Point" at ArcLight Hollywood in 2018. He's stopped coloring his gray hair now.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

PJ Clapp is now 50 years old, which may not mean much to anyone until they learn that Clapp's stage name is Johnny Knoxville of Jackass fame. In a GQ profile by Sam Schube, Knoxville says he is calling an end to his Jackass career after the fourth film drops this fall. Which means he has managed to survive 20 years of health-defying stunts since the iconic and surprisingly influential Jackass series debuted on MTV. Knoxville suffered four concussions alone while filming the 2018 film Action Point—on top of lots of others in previous years—and fears of yet another one made him hesitant about a final Jackass film. But he went ahead anyway, only to get flipped by a bull and knocked out cold with a concussion during filming. He has no regrets about that, though the profile might surprise those who have followed Knoxville's career in terms of how the real-life "PJ" contrasts with his famous persona.

Take the gray hair, for starters. Knoxville has been coloring his hair since age 29, when Jackass premiered, and he stopped during the pandemic. See the GQ profile or his Instagram for the "very gray" result. Beyond that, "he is notably attentive to the physical safety of his children," writes Schube. "He is diligent about sending gifts. ... Life at home (with wife Naomi) has become one blissful domestic scene after another." Good friend Jimmy Kimmel weighs in: "I hesitate to use the word sweetheart, but he's been a kind and gentle person since the day I met him." The full piece susses out the significance of the series—"if you squinted, you could see traces of Buster Keaton and the Three Stooges," writes Schube—and its impact on pop culture, as well as the substance-abuse struggles of Knoxville (clean now) and his Jackass compatriots. (Read it here.)

Stories to sink your teeth into.
Get our roundup of longform stories every Saturday.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.