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''Jackass'' star Johnny Knoxville is one of EW's breakout stars

But before that honor, Kristen Baldwin had a few choice words for his MTV series

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Johnny Knoxville
Knoxville: Jeff Bender

”Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville is one of EW’s breakout stars

Johnny Knoxville, star of MTV’s hit ”Jackass,” may be one of EW’s breakout stars for 2000, but back in November, staff editor Kristen Baldwin said his show is gross out comedy at its most repetitive. We present her Hot Topic in its entirety. Tell us what you think…

Scat Litter

For my money, there is no funnier television experience than watching people hurting themselves — either by accident (as on the late, great ”America’s Funniest Home Videos”) or on purpose, as on MTV’s latest ”extreme stunt” series, ”Jackass.” When the show first started, MTV publicists worked overtime to explain how star Johnny Knoxville was not just a Tom Green manqué because rather than injuring or embarrassing innocent passersby, he injured or embarrassed himself.

At first, ”Jackass” did differentiate itself from Green’s antisocial tomfoolery with its buffet of self inflicted pain, as when Knoxville allowed himself to be Maced, stun gunned, and Tazered all within a few minutes — perhaps the most hilarious TV moment this year. Some of the series’ twisted ”Candid Camera”esque stunts (like when a faux businessman fakes a screaming cell phone tantrum in public and suddenly begins to spurt blood from his head) are equally uproarious. But now that the show’s been on a month, it seems the star and his cronies (called ”Jackasses”) are relying far more on poop and vomit related humor — a tired Tom Green staple — than any sort of physical ”Jackass”ery.

In recent back to back episodes, viewers were treated to a Jackass submerging himself in raw sewage (the Poo Dive, reminiscent of the pilot’s Poo Cocktail); a group of Jackasses downing hard boiled eggs and encouraging each other to vomit into buckets; and a hidden camera stunt in which Knoxville slips some fresh poo into his restaurant entree and then complains to the stunned waitress. All three times, I had to change the channel for fear of getting barf stains on my furniture.

MAYBE it was funny last year when Tom Green tried to interview people with a microphone piled with dog poop — but by the 10 zillionth repeat of the episode, the joke had played itself out. By now, the novelty of combining twentysomething smart alecks and any kind of excrement has truly worn thin. And really, does ANYONE enjoy watching other people hurl on camera? I guess someone does, as ”Jackass” is currently MTV’s highest rated show. But I’m not convinced the poop and puke stunts on ”Jackass” will have any longevity; it’s a type of humor that tends to lose its luster once the initial shock value disappears. So here’s hoping Knoxville will flush the crap and get back to kicking his own ass.