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Johnny Knoxville chose ‘Jackass’ over ‘Saturday Night Live’

It was a “Jackass” decision. Although most famous for being the heavily-abused face of “Jackass,” Johnny Knoxville almost never appeared on the iconic reality show: While filming the pilot, the actor and stuntman was offered a role as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” which he thankfully rejected to continue his work on the MTV comedy series. Knoxville, 50, dropped the bombshell while promoting “Jackass Forever” on the “Drew Barrymore Show.” “I was really honored that Lorne Michaels offered me five minutes on the show each week to do what I do, videos and whatnot,” the Tennessee native told Barrymore, 48, of the potentially career-making opportunity. “And I had to choose because, one thing, I was going on to an established show where I would have little control.” The human crash test dummy explained that ultimately it came down to a choice between freedom and job security. “At the end of the day it’s like, ‘Am I going to go into a situation where I have no control or am I going to bet on myself and bet on my friends, and go that direction?’” he explained. Knoxville said he ultimately bet on the latter, which “could’ve been a disaster” but “luckily it worked out.” Although he quipped, “some would argue it was still a disaster.” “Jackass Forever” is currently playing in theaters nationwide, and is making a splash among audiences with critics scoring it 85% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the flick was recently condemned by PETA, which accused the crew of abusing animals in some of the stunts. Along with Knoxville, the nostalgic spinoff stars Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Dave England and the show’s other founding fathers. Disgraced skater Bam Margera also makes a brief cameo despite being fired from the film last year after allegedly violating their abstinence policy — for which he later sued Knoxville, “Jackass Forever” producer Spike Jonze and Paramount.

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