Johnny Knoxville and “Manly Humor”

I found Colin Tait’s article on Will Ferrell and absurd masculinity incredibly interesting. The article touched on topics I had never even thought about like “time-bending,” the trend of men acting like children in comedy, and the “absurdity of excessive masculinity.” I think what is meant by “absurdity of excessive masculinity” is  an exaggerated  take on the American view of what it means to be a man. In the article Tait is pointing out Will Ferrell’s knack for taking what is perhaps already a bit absurd and blowing it way out of proportion.

Johnny Knoxville and Will Ferrell represent to very different (yet very similar in some ways) types of comedy. Knoxville relies on stunts and outrageous behavior (like those shown in Jackass). And Ferrell gets laughs by essentially acting like a man-child. But both use juvenile behavior (Ferrell with his temper tantrums and Knoxville with his stunts) that would be inappropriate under normal, every day, circumstances. For the most part both actors draw in an audience that is entertained by crude behavior and slap-stick and bathroom humor.

In addition, both actors not only play manly roles, the roles they play and the movies/tv shows they are in also appeal to men for the most part. Knoxville, like Ferrell, uses sexuality and gender norms in their films. Knoxville even posed nude for the cover of Jackass 2.5. The two also use extremes in their comedic acts. Knoxville takes his stunts as far as possible, often even offending people just for a laugh or two.


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