Thursday, August 24, 2006
Johnny Knoxville... a hot guy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Philip John Clapp (better known as Johnny Knoxville), the 32 year old 6'1" host of MTV' Jackass, was born on March 11, 1971 and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. From an early age he was an atheletic daredevil, throwing himself from his crib, according to his parents, Phil and Lemoyne. At the age of 7, PJ decided to take a stick to a hornet's nest near his home. At 13, the straight-A student produced a phony report card with failing grades which was left out for his parents to find. Then there was that time he jumped from a second-story hotel room into a pool... However, Johnny admits that he got his odd sense of humor from his father, who ran Clapp's Tire Store. He recalls several practical jokes his father played while he was growing up: Running a lukewarm hot dog through Johnny's lips while he was asleep (then pretending to zip his pants when his son awoke); Staging a gunfight at the Christmas party; Giving Ex-Lax milkshakes to friends. Plus during PJ's senior year at South Young high school Phil helped his son create letters supposedly from a VD clinic which were sent to several friends on the football team. Fellow classmates have said Johnny was always very outgoing and loved to be the center of attention. Once he got up in front of the whole school during a pep rally and lip sang the song from Ferris Bueler's Day Off. He also played Danny Zucho in a chorus production of "Grease".
After graduating from high school at the age of 18, Johnny moved to California to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasedena on a scholoarship. However, he dropped out within weeks. When he met his neighbor, a Texan named Melanie, they quickly fell in love. In 1995 they decided to elope to Las Vegas, Nevada to get married. But when they got there, Johnny ended up gambling away all their money and they were forced to marry in a smaller church. Johnny and Melanie are still married and in 1996 they had a daughter, Madison, whose name is tattooed on left side of Johnny's chest. Early in his marriage, Johnny supported his family by appearing in commercials (for Taco Bell, Coors Light, and Mountain Dew) and worked on a novel (which he never finished) in his free time. He also wrote occasional articles for Blunt, Bikini, and Big Brother Magazines. Once he even spent the night in a field with 10,000 hippies during the Rainbow Gathering for a story.
In 1996 Johnny had the idea to shoot himself with pepper spray, a taser, a stun gun, .38, and then write an article about the experience. He pitched the idea to a couple of magazines that turned it down. Finally in 1997 he told Jeff Tremaine (editor at Big Brother Magazine) about his idea. Jeff hired him as journalist and convinced him to videotape this idea and other stunts (getting hit by car, poo poo platter, etc.) for stories. Eventually these became part of the Big Brother videos Boob and Number Two. Johnny quickly became a cult hit and soon there was a bidding war between MTV and Comedy Central to land him a TV show. He was offered a spot on Saturday Night Live, but turned it down. That's when Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, and Spike Jonze pitched the idea of Jackass to MTV...it would combine part of the Big Brother Crew with the East Coast CKY crew (skateboarding pranksters Bam Margera, Brandon DiCamillo, and Ryan Dunn) and would allow the three producers creative control. MTV jumped at this unique idea. Alongside Johnny, Tremaine, and Jonze on the show were Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, Brandon DiCamillo, Jason 'Wee Man' Acuna, Dave England, Ehren McGhegan, Steve-O, and Preston Lacy. Jackass quickly became one of cable's highest rated shows and eventually sparked many recent movie deals for Johnny Knoxville including a big screen version of Jackass. In addition to his father, Johnny names Slim Pickens, Strother Martin, George C. Scott, Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, Ron Palillo, Dave Letterman, Super Dave Osborne, and Candid Camera as many of his influences. Johnny currently has several films that have been released, as well as many others in production.