Some skateboard pros are paragons of dignity. And then there’s Bam Margera. The original Jackass has brought laughs, a disturbingly punk attitude, prankster antics, and down-and-dirty skateboard tricks to cable-enabled screens since MTV unveiled stupid tricks for the masses in 2000.
The innovative skate radio show jumped uncharted territory, combining obnoxious stunts and public harassment for the eager amusement of millions. The show become a hit, due mainly to the opportunity it presented viewers to witness self-inflicted violent mishaps occurring to the most foolhardy daredevils.
Margera got an early start in the art of self-destruction. His grandfather, seeing his potential, tagged him with his nickname because the toddler wouldn’t stop banging his skull into doors and walls.
The pattern would carry on to define Bam’s personality, both his strange success as a human crash test dummy and his personal problems, which have been varied and colorful. He’s been on both sides of the 911 call, facing weapons charges in connection with a set of brass knuckles. His story includes a sundered relationship with his long time girlfriend, which dissolved amidst accusations against her of burglary and vandalism, and an undignified addiction to the prescription stimulant Adderall.
Bam Margera is better known as street and stunt skater than a vert skater, although he’s garnered coveted sponsorships from some of the top brands in skateboarding, including Destructo Trucks, Electric Visual, Adio Footwear, and Element Skateboard. And he was the first street skater to land the legendary Loop in Phoenix.
Jackass evolved out of Bam’s personal production CKY (Camp Kill Yourself), a series of groundbreaking skate videos out of West Chester, Pennsylvania, which was also the name of his brother’s band. This video series set the stage for East Coast punk skaters to steal the scene from clean-cut sport skaters, proving that amazing tricks and stupid ones can be equally mesmerizing.
Having starred in MTV’s three Jackass movies and long-time cast member of the series, as well as directing, co-writing and starring in his own MTV shows Bam’s Unholy Union and Viva La Bam which he also produced. Bam Margera Productions, which was founded with the revenue from the first Jackass Movie in 2000, also produced Haggard: The Movie. With feet in both audio and video multimedia, his empire includes his own music production company, Filthy Note Records.
Skate Radio took a dangerous dive when Bam Margera got access to a daily microphone. Skating the edge of good taste, Bam fills the airwaves with hysterical tales of his bizarre exploits and humiliating bets among his elite crowd of slackers. The audience can’t get enough, of course, and a devoted core of loyal listeners keep their ears peeled to skateboarding’s Lenny Bruce comment on the world of the sport, stunts, and insanity in general.
RADIOBAM expresses an inebriated sense of humor and outlaw sensibility, and was almost cancelled when amidst controversy related to on-air solicitation of prostitution. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the hours with Bam Margera remain extremely popular among both the skateboarding crowd and those who merely like pithy, no-holds-barred radio madness.