Jackass 4 will be exactly the kind of dumb fun we’re all craving. Post COVID I’m not in the mood for a slow introspective drama, but I am ready to watch Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and Chris Pontius get whacked in the nuts. But right now there’s a cloud hanging over the production, as former Jackass Bam Margera has been slapped with a restraining order after reportedly threatening director Steve Tremaine’s wife and children.
This is the latest chapter in Margera’s battle with alcoholism, which apparently worsened after the 2011 death of his friend and co-star Ryan Dunn. Over the 2010s Margera has been hospitalized, spent time in rehab and mental health facilities, and there have been worrying incidents of violent behavior – including him being thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight.
His friends have been trying to help him and apparently convinced a skeptical Paramount that he could appear in Jackass 4. The studio’s terms were that he submitted to random urine tests, further visits to rehab, and therapy. But it appears that he broke this agreement and Margera was fired in early 2021. An uncharacteristically serious Knoxville recently commented on Margera’s situation, saying:
“We want Bam to be happy and healthy and get the help he needs. We tried to push that along. I think that’s all I really want to say about it. I don’t want to get into a public back-and-forth with Bam. I just want him to get better.”
This echoes Chris Pontius, who responded to questions on why the Jackass crew don’t simply hold an intervention for Margera. In an Instagram comment in 2019, he said:
“To Everybody asking the Jackass Guys to help Bam, We are trying and have been, but no matter how loudly help screams his name, it’s up to him to want to be better and not somebody who publicly degrades their Wife and Mother and takes accountability for it. I wouldn’t write this publicly, but we all get told to go help Bam so much, I might as well answer.”
I’ve been a fan of Margera ever since I got given a beaten-up copy of one of his CKY videos as a kid, so I hope he gets the help he needs and can reconcile with the Jackass crew, who’re obviously sincere about their desire to see him happy and healthy.
Jackass 4 hits theaters on October 22nd, 2021.