Trying to pin down theJackassboys for an interview spawns a wonderful mess of incoherence and entertainment.
Famed for their spontaneous on-screen antics, US larrikins Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy, Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña and Dave England are in Australia for a series of live shows on their Filthy Seppo Tour, taking to the stage with comedy that’s bound to be full of copious amounts of profanity. But even Lacy and Pontius aren’t sure what else is in store.
“We never know the direction the show is gonna go,” explains Lacy down the phone from a pub somewhere in Sydney. It’s the middle of the day. “I know it’s gonna be a bloodbath, though,” he adds. “There’ll be some blood and some singing…”
Blood? Really? Pontius chimes in, laughing: “We’ve got a big bag of ammo, it’s a surprise. Wee Man always seems to know what to do, that sick fuck.”
Touring the country with a live show does bring with it the challenge of appealing to an audience in person, but both Lacy and Pontius are adamant that participation is the key. “People always want to get up there with us,” Pontius says. “We love to get volunteers, guys and girls, depending on the stunt.”
“They line up pretty quickly,” adds Lacy. “It’s hysteria – it just kind of happens, just like in the movies. We don’t over-plan, we just want to make ourselves laugh and have a good time.”
There must be a certain appeal about the show for the Jackass boys to take their stunts on tour across the globe, and as Pontius explains, there’s an epic kick to be had. “You get to travel around Australia and do these shows between filming stuff, so things are kept interesting.”
“It’s such a rush,” Lacy says. “With a microphone in front of you, it’s just so much fun. When we’re filming we’re just trying to make our buddies laugh, but onstage – well, it’s like being a rock star but you don’t have to play any stupid instruments!”
It’s not the first time the pair have been in Australia – each member of the Jackass crew has their own career, with several of them embarking on stand-up comedy, but they often come together for other ventures as a group.
“We came over and filmed a video with Wolfmother – that shit was crazy, so much fun,” says Lacy. “Aussie chicks are mad! We had a really good time with that.”
“My girlfriend is from Sydney so I’ve been here a lot – I love this place, man,” adds Pontius.
It’s a delightful wonder that Lacy and Pontius, being the fascinating characters they are, have come so far with their arguably unsophisticated humour. Just how did they become so successful through stunts like fishing anacondas out of kiddies’ ball pits and throwing medicine balls at one another in the dark? A momentarily thoughtful Pontius says, “You have to know what your dreams are and live them, and a lot of people don’t believe you can do that. I wanted to make people laugh, so I found a different way to do it. I’m just so lucky I could do it with my buddies.”
As their attention span begins to waver – clearly not content with the formalities of talking about their work – Preston decides he wants to hear a story from the journalist who’s interviewing them. With England coaxing me on, they demand to know some of the crazy stuff I’ve done in my life. Ordinarily I’d be happy to oblige, but as I’m speaking from an office full of co-workers, it’s not exactly the best idea.
“Oh man, I bet you’ve got some darkness to tell,” says Pontius.
“Yeah, there’s a bag of secrets there somewhere, man!” adds Lacy. “Ladies always have secrets.”
“Just because someone’s a woman doesn’t mean they’re a lady, though!” argues Pontius. “A woman’s heart is an ocean full of secrets. It’s really true. Women are very secretive, they kind of control the world I guess – we’re fascinated with them.”
Pontius suddenly exclaims, all frazzled: “This place is haunted!” I ask what he means, curious, wondering if they realise I’m still a momentary part of their world, or if their imagination has run off completely.
“We’re at this pub – there’s ghosts here, man! I heard a noise and thought it was a banshee… but it’s just someone’s ringtone.”
“The ghouls are coming for ya,” Lacy teases.
A voice from afar calls, “Chris, our taxi’s here!” and though they’ve forgotten my name, the Jackass boys have remembered they’re being interviewed. Pontius politely excuses himself: “Erm, miss? We’ve gotta go!”
I thank them both for their time, wondering if I’m still talking to anyone or if they’ve already bounced off – and then comes Lacy’s farewell. “Gonorrhoea!” he cries.
Jackass’Filthy Seppo Tour hits Dee Why RSL on Wednesday October 26.