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The “Jackass” jesters know how to elicit a reaction.
Shock, confusion, fear, anxiety: these are just a few of the dozens of emotions viewers can experience while watching any of the franchise’s films, all of which feature increasingly dangerous stunts extreme enough to cause broken collarbones and ruptured testicles. But one feeling in particular seems to be responsible for the franchise’s enduring success over the past two decades: nostalgia.
As throngs of fans rushed to the theater to see the stuntmen’s newest film “Jackass: Forever,” they were just as excited to be reunited with their old friends on screen, led by the crew’s ringleader Johnny Knoxville, as they were curious to see how (in the world!) they could up the ante. But this sense of nostalgia has also been a driving force for the “Jackass” crew themselves, and it’s partly why Knoxville and “Jackass” co-creator Jeff Tremaine were so excited about a new way to highlight their most memorable stunts over the years.
Their newest venture? Collectible trading cards.
“Jackass” has teamed up with the new Fanatics brand Zerocool to auction off a premium trading card set, designed with the group’s individual signatures and photos of their wildest stunts (all taken by “Jackass” producer, writer and photographer Sean Cliver, who helped them curate the set). 9,500 boxes will be auctioned off on Zerocool’s website from April 5 at 12 p.m. ET through Apr. 7 at 9 p.m. ET.
“I grew up trading and collecting baseball and football cards, it was a big part of my youth — so the thought of some kid being psyched about a ‘Jackass’ card really got me excited,” Knoxville tells Variety. “The packs from my youth would include a stick of the worst gum imaginable but as a kid you loved it.”
When asked if stepping into the trading card business made him feel like he was any closer to becoming like the sports stars he looked up to, he laughs it off. “I see us more like a band that can’t play their instruments that well.”
One card features a photo of Knoxville getting pummeled by a bull, one of the crazier stunts from the new movie that landed him in the hospital, while others spotlight rookies such as Eric Manaka, Jasper Dolphin, Sean McInerney, Rachel Wolfson and Zach Holmes. Of course, the pack also includes cards for the franchise’s legacy stuntmen: Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, Dave England and Jason “WeeMan” Acuna.
The “Jackass” collectibles are only the second pack of trading cards released by Zerocool since the Fanatics brand launched earlier this month. Created by Josh Luber, the founder of billion-dollar sneaker marketplace StockX, it’s the first trading card brand dedicated to culture and non-sports. Their first collection was a partnership with Gary Vaynerchuck and his NFT project VeeFriends.
While trading cards were thought of as little more than a hobby only a few years ago, the market is now valued at $13 billion with a projection to reach $98 billion by 2027. This potential is exactly what Luber was tapping into when he decided to introduce trading cards (as a hobby and financial asset) to this new sector of fans. It also plans to revolutionize the auction process with the first direct-to-consumer technology platform dedicated to “market-based pricing.” Via a Blind Dutch Auction, there’s no starting price and no one can see anyone else’s bids to ensure a fair and transparent access to the products.
“The trading industry is crazy right now, it’s gotten even bigger and more popular than ever, so it’s very culturally relevant to be a part of that,” Tremaine says. He adds that “Jackass’s” generation-spanning fandom is also what makes the franchise a perfect fit with the trading card business.
“When we put the new movie out, I realized we have three generations of fans. We have grandfathers that took their sons and daughters to the original movie and now those kids have grown up and had kid,” he says. “There’s three generations of fans out there that can enjoy these collectibles.”
Funnily enough, this isn’t Tremaine’s first foray into the trading card business. The OG “Jackass” crew first created trading cards for their skateboard magazine “Big Brother” in the early 1990s. The publication, which eventually ceased publication in 2004, offered step-by-step instructions for rip-off schemes and pranks that would end up developing into the “Jackass” television series that began it all.
But those “really stupid trading cards” as Tremaine calls them, have nothing on the premium collectibles created with Zerocool. “This is kind of a rekindling of those really dinky versions of cards we made, but these have come to life on such a high level,” says Tremaine, who seems to be genuinely in awe of the thickness, glossy texture and inlaid foiling on the new cards.
Does he have a favorite? “Of course I do, it’s the picture of me after being attacked by the Pontiusaurus, covered in slime.”