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Well, I'm Johnny Knoxville, United States of America and I'll be doing a little article of self-defense equipment.

–Johnny Knoxville introduces himself for the first time

Self Defence
Self Defence.png
Johnny getting sprayed with pepper spray
Jackass Stunt
Season Season 1
Episode Episode 1
Featuring Johnny Knoxville
Related stunts The Cup Test
Video releases Jackass: The Lost Tapes

Self Defense Test was a stunt originally shot for Big Brother and later re-used in the pilot episode for Jackass. This stunt is largely considered to be the birth of Jackass, and is the first stunt filmed to feature Johnny Knoxville.


Johnny Knoxville introduces himself and guides the viewer through the self-defence equipment he is about to test on himself. These include, SABRE Red Pepper Spray, a 120,000 volt stun gun, a 50,000 volt tazer gun, and a .38 Hammerless Revolver with a level IIA Kevler vest.

Test One: Red Pepper Spray

Knoxville gets sprayed in the face with the pepper spray. After a few seconds, he has to kneel because of the pain. He attempts to wash his eyes out with milk, and his friend passes him a towel.

Test Two: Stun Gun

Knoxville, now holding the American flag, charges forward into a 120,000 volt stun gun, immediately falling to the ground. He is stunned for a few seconds, and although painful, the stun gun doesn't leave any marks.

Test Three: Tazer

A bare-chested Knoxville holding the American flag around his shoulders is tazered by his friend. He immediately falls to the ground, shouting as his friend continues to repeatedly taze him. Still on the ground with the electrodes stuck in his chest, Knoxville then tazes himself once more. He comments that it was worse than the stun gun. He then uses plyers to pull out the dart-like electrodes which are buried deep in his chest.

Test Four: Bulletproof Vest

The group travel out to the desert, and Knoxville shoots himself in the chest at point-blank range with a while wearing a bullet-proof vest before running back to the car. (Note: This segment is only available on one of the Big Brother videos. It was not included in the Jackass pilot or any subsequent re-releases due to its dangerous nature.)

Behind The Scenes

Johnny Knoxville came up with this idea far before the creation of Jackass. His original intention was to write an article about the experience, approaching several magazines to see if anyone wanted to publish it. Many magazines were interested in the article but Jeff Tremaine at Big Brother was the only one willing to pay Knoxville for it, suggesting that they film it as well.


"Well, I'm Johnny Knoxville, United States of America, and I'll be doing a little article of self-defence equipment." - Johnny Knoxville

"Hit me!" - Johnny Knoxville

"I feel like my eyes have gonorrhoea." - Johnny Knoxville after being pepper sprayed

"That would stop a fuckin' freight train." - Johnny Knoxville after being pepper sprayed

"Let's go to the desert and shoot me." - Johnny Knoxville

"I hit about where I needed to." - Johnny Knoxville after shooting himself


  • An excerpt from this skit was used in the menu for Jackass: The Lost Tapes.
  • This was the first instance of Johnny Knoxville introducing himself under this pseudonym on film. This format of members stating their name and then introducing the stunt they are about to do would go on to become a trademark of the Jackass brand.
  • Although Johnny Knoxville introduces himself as such, this is one of few times within Jackass where he is referred to by his real name, PJ (by his friends off-screen.)
  • Knoxville had planned for someone else to shoot him with a handgun from a distance. However, no one at Big Brother wanted to risk wounding or killing him, so Knoxville ended up shooting himself in the chest at point-blank range.
  • The bulletproof vest used in this stunt was the cheapest vest the store had, and was purchased with Christmas money which Knoxville's mother had sent him.
  • According to a 2013 interview with Knoxville, the part of this stunt where Knoxville shoots himself was filmed by Loomis Fall.
  • Knoxville compared the experience of being shot to being hit in the chest full-force with a shovel.