'Jackass' Star Quits, Series Cancelled

ByABC News
August 14, 2001, 2:06 PM

Aug. 14 -- MTV won't have to sweat more protests of its controversial stunt show Jackass anymore. The show's star, Johnny Knoxville, has quit the painful gig to focus on a career on the big screen, the New York Post reports.

"We told [MTV] we would do specials down the road," Knoxville, a native of South Knoxville, Tenn., whose real name is P.J. Clapp, told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "But this is enough. We have done enough."

Quit While He's Ahead in Ratings

MTV will continue to air repeats of the 24 existing episodes of Jackass but will edit out the segments that have been protested, says the show's former star. "The most objectionable things will be taken out. All the funny things will be gone," Knoxville told his hometown paper.

Knoxville claims that the music network pushed for another 22 episodes, but he said he wasn't interested. According to the Post, MTV was caught off guard by Knoxville's departure and didn't have a comment at press time.

The show, which was MTV's highest-rated original series, featured Knoxville and other "jackasses" attempting dangerous, "don't try this at home" stunts. Despite the lengthy warning that preceded each episode, kids across the country were injured attempting to copy such high-risk activities as a self-barbecue and jumping over a moving car. Among those tongue-lashing the show was Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who demanded that MTV cancel Jackass.

Knoxville said he wanted to quit while the show was still "special," adding, "With this kind of comedy, people become inured to the shock value."

The rising star has roles in the comedies Big Trouble opposite Tim Allen, Life Without Dick with Sarah Jessica Parker, and Men in Black 2, in which he plays a two-headed alien.