JxPx Blackmon wasn't there from the very beginning of jackass in 2000 on MTV, but it was close. Damn close. But what's funny is that he didn't come into it as the shady prop guy we would all soon know him to be—at first he was just a shady PA. It wasn't long before he became the prop master, though, and that's when things got a whole lot shadier. Rick Kosick hooked up with JxPx to rehash the good ole days, along with a few bad ones, too, like that rather disturbing time in Mexico with the Wildboyz—but at least we didn't get into that one even more disturbing night in Nairobi. And on that note…
Kosick: How did you become friends with the jackass crew?
JxPx: When jackass was at RenMar Studios right after the first season. I came in after quitting production, working with Tom Green and MTV, but then I saw Mike D at Skatelab and he said he was leaving his job with jackass. I was like “Jackass?” And he was like, “Yeah, it’s the Big Brother dudes—the dudes that did shit and crap. Fucking funny-ass videos.” So I went to the production office and there was Trip [Taylor] and Michelle Klepper. I’d worked with both of them for years prior, and I was like, “I guess I need a job.” I started working in the post department and just started meeting everybody from there. I knew Guch, I knew Joey Dubs, but then I started meeting like Jeff [Tremaine] and Steve-O. Steve-O was a frickin’ nightmare, because I also did the craft service stuff and he would come in and that’s where he fed. I would basically feed Steve-O and all of his friends who came in with him. After that it was an instant bond. I got along with everybody. I felt really comfortable, like we were all birds of a feather. Then I escaped the post department and started building toys like the land buggy and other props… you know, all the props and fun things that you hurt yourself with.
What did you like most about the TV show days? Does anything in particular stick out that you remember?
Yeah, it was so unorthodox. So guerilla-style. I remember doing the “Bloody Windshield” bit and we didn’t tell the cops that we were going out with a car and with a broken windshield and Knoxville pulling crap out of the grill, saying his probation officer was gonna kick his ass. It ended up with cops surrounding all of us with guns at our heads. I remember laughing and one cop was like, “You’re not gonna think it’s funny five minutes from now.” I was like, “Yeah, I will. We got a permit to do this.” It was always excitement back then. It was so fresh and so new and everybody was having so much fun. It was fun going to work. It was like, “Okay, go out there and do something,” and we would have like this kind of rough idea of what we’re going to do, but then just going for it. There was nobody really telling us what we could and couldn’t do. But then when we got more on the radar, and we started getting on the news and shit, it became, “No, you can’t do that. No, you can’t do that.” I remember skating to work and being like, “I wonder if I’m going to have a job when I get there… I wonder if we’re gonna get shut down today?” I totally thought we were gonna get shut down every day. It felt like we were doing something… you know? I mean we were making the fucking news!
How did you earn your title as Shady Prop Guy?
Steve-O named me that. I think it was on Wildboyz, because Steve-O and I had gotten to know each other a little bit more. It took a little while for him to gain my trust, I think, but after he did, he embraced me and named me Shady Prop Guy, like, “Where’s that Shady Prop Guy?”
Wildboyz was the best. It was kind of like how we were before the movies, a really small, really limited crew. It was just a van-full of us, and we got to go see all four corners of the world. We got to see cultures and do stuff that you’re never gonna do when you’re on your vacation. We got to go to Russia and fire tanks! You know, we got to see exactly what was really going on in the world with that show. Plus we got to learn a hell of a lot about animals and what they would and wouldn’t do. I learned more on that show than I’ve learned on any other show ever.
Wildboyz was definitely a treat. It’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life.
That show was special. You don’t know how many times I hear people say, “Wildboyz, man, that show was awesome.”
How was Bad Grandpa challenging for you and your job?
Oh my god… okay, it was a long process, because I was there a month or so before anybody else got there. Just kind of casing the places and looking at them, scouting out places where we could do these gags. And then when we were inside the places, everything had to match perfectly, like we couldn’t have any cords showing, everything had to be hidden. This is quite a task when you’re trying to make movie-quality footage, too. The funeral home was one of the hardest builds, because it was like a 1700s-era building with this casing along the top that I had to match to place camera hides. And then matching that wallpaper, matching just became quite a task and we had limited time to really dial in, go in, look at it, build it up in a warehouse, bring it in, set it up, and then we’d break down the sets after they were done. But we couldn’t be there during shooting, so it was like, “Well, did you get something good?” “Yeah, it was funny.” “Oh… okay.” I wasn’t getting the same kind of payoff as like from jackass and Wildboyz, where I’d build something messed up for them to play on and then watch them get messed up on it. But on Bad Grandpa you couldn’t really watch, so you’re just sitting off in the parking lot, waiting for it to be done.
Yeah, it was definitely a process.
It was a different process… it’s a totally different thing when you’re doing hidden camera and trying to do build-outs. You have to disguise everything, so we would disguise the trucks. Like we had one that said “Joey’s Party Supply,” so it looked like we were setting up for a party.
So are you still expendable?
Yeah. The last thing I worked on with Knoxville, I built an alpine slide, but I did it out of wood and it was about a quarter-mile long. But I had to test it and I had to create these fricking carts. At first I started off with skateboard trucks and wheels, and I was just ripping my arms all to shit on the side of the slide. I got kinda messed up on that. So yeah, I’m still expendable.
How was it living in South Africa for five months while working on Knoxville’s movie?
The best way I can explain it is, they give you a tossed salad and then give you a spoon to eat it with. It’s just a difficult and challenging world over there; however, they do a lot of movies and television shows over there, so they did have prop houses and stuff. But it was a good experience. I was working on a hillside with zebras and these little sprinkbok deer, cobras and puff adders and all kinds of crazy animals. So that was fun. It was kind of taking me back to Wildboyz being over there, which was cool, and it’s a really beautiful country. But yeah, it was a long haul. Hot. I got in shape, walking up and down that mountain, building the amusement park.
She still wants to talk to Tremaine’s mom about it.
What, like a mom-to-mother talk?
Yeah, a mom-to-mom conversation. During Wildboyz we were in a zoo of some sort in Mexico, and I guess we just couldn’t think of anything to do. Then, I don’t know, I had a mohawk at the time, and this Mexican hairless dog had a Mohawk, so… one plus one equals chicken up my ass.
Oh god, that’s brutal.
Yeah. And I’m in this really ugly body suit, like a skin-colored body suit. I didn’t even tell my mom that I worked for jackass when we were working on it. It wouldn’t be her style. But on Wildboyz, I had to tell her, because it was like, “Hey Mom, I’m leaving the country.” So eventually she was like, “I want to see what you’re doing, I want to see the television show.” Wildboyz was on television and it just so happened to be that Mexico episode.
So you sat there and watched it with her?
Oh yeah. It sucked.
Can you explain the “Box of Stuff That Sucks” and how you came up with it?
It basically contains all the torturous kind of stuff: tasers, stun guns, pellet guns, dog shock collars, the field radio… mostly electrical stuff, when you really think about it, but, you know, it had horse cum in there, too. A jackass arsenal of sorts. Anyway, I needed to put it all into one place. That’s the “Box of Stuff That Sucks.” I also wanted to keep that thing right by my desk so I knew where it was. I didn’t want anybody getting into it. I actually had a padlock on it.
Did you have fun working on Swerved and being around the WWE crew?
I enjoyed Swerved for the travel. It was fun seeing the smaller parts of America that I normally wouldn’t go, places like West Virginia. That was really interesting. Swerved was a different beast. It was like mixing the prank elements of Bad Grandpa with--
With steroids injected?
Yeah. It was definitely exhilarating pranking those big dudes. You know, that kind of got your adrenaline going, especially on that first season of Swerved when it was a little more lawless. That was kind of fun. I liked that. And for the most part it was just Scott [Manning] and I running around the country in a five-ton. When you do hidden camera, you gotta really be on your toes. You gotta think quick about how to create these camera hides in places that you just now got to. It was run-and-gun, and there’s something fun about that, but you’re also hoping for luck on those.
Who did you like working with the most out of the WWE crew?
Paige. I felt like she had the spirit more than anybody else.
Yeah, she was definitely cool, man. I really liked her attitude. Didn’t you prank her at the end of it all?
Yeah, but I got reprimanded. I had saran-wrapped her car and put a Barbie doll that looked like her up on the front of it with a dildo off of her bumper in the front. I guess she took the saran-wrap off and everything, but she didn’t notice the dildo. So when she returned it to the rental car agency they were like, “You know, there’s a dildo on the front of your car.” I got Jeff with that one time, too. I put a little black dick on the front of his car, and he rolled around for weeks with it and never noticed. Then finally he goes through the Warner Bros gate and the guard was like, “Yo, man, you got a dick on the front of your car.”
The first jackass movie. That was just fun as all hell. I mean we were going crazy. We were making a movie! Everybody was on fire. Everybody was loving it.
Yeah, I feel so grateful to be a part of all this, you know?
Me too, man. I think we were part of an underground sort of revolution. Think about how many years jackass went on… it was only how many seasons? And it just keeps replaying and replaying and replaying and replaying.
Do you think there’s room for another one?
I think there can be, but the fact is everyone’s getting old. Also, everyone’s so savvy now, so the minute they say we’re going to be filming a movie their radar detectors are going to go on. So to be able to prank them is going to be a tough one.
I don’t think so.
You don’t think so? You think they’re still stupid?
Fuck yeah. You think Ehren’s gotten any smarter after all these years?
I mean with your guys’ ability at building out a room… they’re going to walk into something that they won’t know what the fuck is coming.
That’s true. I’ve got some ideas… I’ve got some wicked ideas. I just think it’s got to be on a bigger level. It’s got to be absolutely over the top, but somehow or another just not break them. Because at this point when you get broken in life, the healing time is so much longer. Like Knoxville on this last one. He kept hitting his head and you just can’t keep doing that. You know, he almost lost his eye—his eyeball was popping out of his head!
Any closing thoughts?
I just feel so blessed to have worked on this, you know? I think we all should, because all of us put into it. It was a collective effort, but that’s just how I feel about it.