If you’re using dangerous words, as long as you’re turning the gun on yourself, nobody cares. The Jackass movies are honestly some of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I laugh so hard at them. Those guys are geniuses. If they had grown up with a different group of people, they could’ve have been performance artists at Bard College, and people would be writing papers about them. There’s a real beauty in it, and there’s a release to watching those movies. But it’s because they’re doing things to each other as friends. If they were going around and hitting old ladies in the head, it would be horrible. What if Hitler had won the whole thing and we were all living in Nazi earth? There would probably be a version of Jackass where they’re doing that shit to Jews. That would be funny to Hitler, but it wouldn’t be funny to me — not because it’s anti-Semitic but because it’s just not good comedy. But I don’t think I should always humiliate myself on stage, I just find a laugh at the end of that rope a lot.
In light of the untimely passing of Ryan Dunn, today’s Pitchfork interview with Louis CK in which he talks about his appreciation for Jackass is especially notable. Here he is comparing the movies to the way the dangerous parts of his act always end up targeting himself: