The irrepressible Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) with slightly-addled 8 year-old grandson, Billy (Jackson Nicoll).
  • The irrepressible Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) with slightly-addled 8 year-old grandson, Billy (Jackson Nicoll).
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Upon exiting my fourth screening of Jackass #2, one of the ushers at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15 noted, “Man, we heard you laughing all the way in the lobby!”

Show me a guy walk into a hardware store and drop a deuce in a display toilet and no matter how many times I see it, you'll hear me laughing all the way back in Chicago!

Why isn’t there going to be a press screening of Paramount’s Bad Grandpa? Do they deem the film critic-proof or have they figured out that short of going for a PG-13 rating, there’s not much the Jackass band can do that won’t earn them a four star review in these pages?

The kids of Jackass High blowing things up in "Jackass 3D."

Checking the record, it appears that both of my predecessors, Duncan Shepherd and David Elliott, refrained from devoting so much as one word to the Jackass franchise. I hope to correct that soon with a glowing account of Bad Grandpa.

I was the first kid on my block to watch Jackass when it premiered on MTV. It was the Christmas episode where some of the boys dressed as Santa’s helpers and competed to see who could vomit up the most amount of eggnog. Not since SCTV’s Yosh and Stan Shmenge exchanging socks on Christmas morn has a holiday tradition brought such joy into my gray little nothing of a life.

"YEAH! GOOD GRANDPA! YEAH!"

The second the show ended, calls were placed to everyone in my immediate circle of friends telling them to set their VCRs. From Bam Margera’s toxically funny CKY videos to every episode of Viva La Bam!, Nitro Circus, and now, Bad Grandpa, I continue to be a Jackass completest.

Apatow, Sandler, Tina & Amy, Ferrell, Carrey, Lawrence (Martin, not Steve), Stiller, and Kevin James make cash registers ring loud enough to drown out the sounds of critics snoring. I will forever pledge allegiance to Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy, Jason "Wee Man" Acuña, Ehren McGhehey, Dave England, Brandon Dicamillo, April & Phil, Ryan Dunn, whose untimely death brought tears to my eyes, and all the other ancillary Jackasses who continue to risk breaking their necks in order to make America laugh.

The most unlikely pal to hop on the Jackass bandwagon was former U-T classical music critic Valerie Scher. If I live to be 60, I’ll never forget the first time I exposed Valerie to the boys’ antics. The setup was pure satanic genius: strap a doll to a booster seat, place it on the roof of a car, and begin to drive out of the parking lot. The only thing funnier than watching the group of terrified onlookers in the video scream “STOP! YOUR BABY IS ON THE ROOF!” was the horrified look on Valerie’s face.

Tears were streaming down my cheeks as Valerie placed her hand over her mouth and gasped, “Oh, my God! That’s not funny. Those poor people.”

I’m not sure precisely when Valerie stopped shaking her fists at the TV screen and began bringing them together to applaud the boys antics. One thing’s for certain: she clearly took some time away from Beethoven and Mahler to brush up on her Jackass.

Jeff Tremaine and the inner-dialog of an auteur at work.

As Valerie put it in this Reader piece she wrote on her Jackass addiction, “There’s a gleeful nihilism at work here, a what-the-heck recklessness that shoves aside prudence and political correctness.”

She makes my head hurt with all that poetry!

Valerie admits, “I get the most laughs when the Jackasses make juvenile fun of themselves instead of others.” In that sense, Bad Grandpa might not be a good fit. The trailer makes it look like 90 minutes of innocent victims caught in the act of being terminally harassed.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa ***

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BRING IT OVER!

This will be my first Scher-free Jackass outing. Valerie and her husband, former Burl Stiff co-worker David Elliott, moved to Oregon earlier this year to live the green life.

By the time Valerie got around to watching the films, I had already seen them — in some cases twice — at advance screenings. Part of the fun was knowing ahead of time what would make her cringe and watching it happen from the corner of my eye. I’ll be sure and pack a copy of Grandpa when I visit Eugene next year.

Watch the red band trailer here.

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Comments

David Elliott Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:59 p.m.

Oscar shmoscar, no honor that has befallen me could ever rival being called a "former Burl Stiff co-worker." Truly that is the Burlitzer Prize. Alas, Johnny Knoxville will never rival my favorite grandpa on film, Burl "Not Stiff Yet" Ives snarling at the grandkids in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, while looking at them as if they are small, noisy balls of dung. Yes, Valerie led me to the Jackasses, just as before she sagely led me to the joys of Dumb & Dumber, but while I still love D&D, the adventures of Bam and the boys never quite satisfy. Maybe because there is so much wind-up for their sado-masochistic gags, so much premature giggling and boyish guffawing, that the comedy payoff often feels deflated on arrival. It reminds me of how Red Skelton used to break up over his frequently lame TV material. Don't worry, I have not returned to primeval Skelton by moving to Oregon. Well, back to mowing the chickens....

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