Why yes, it most assuredly is, and why not? After all, we do appear to be in the midst of a cultural "penaissance,"as Rob McElhenny, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton astutely observed during a recent episode of the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia podcast. It's a long time in coming, too, but if you happen to be a former reader of Big Brother skateboard mag then you know we were way ahead of the curve when it came to the curious case of full-frontal male nudity.
This was the second time Chris Pontius appeared in the pages of Big Brother, courtesy of an interview and photos submitted to us by Thomas Campbell. One of the photos included in that interview did indeed qualify as full-frontal male nudity, which I guess would've been a little more on point for the purpose of this article, but this blahg being what it is... well, the drop-knee maneuver was pretty sweet then and now.
There's a whole Pandora's minefield of petrifying shit from the '90s, but it is a well established fact that homophobia was no stranger to the scene—and I'm not just talking about within skateboarding. Like it or not this was a prevailing mindset of the time that the vast majority of American males from all walks of heterosexual life dragged around like an insecurity blanket following their conservative upbringings in the '80s (a decade, worthy to note, marked by the meteoric rise of the AIDS epidemic, and we all too well know what illogical and ignorant repercussions can result from such "polarizing" events). So when dicks started popping up in a blatantly uncensored manner within the pages of Big Brother, sure, it was rather disturbing to many skaters. And while yes, that was kind of the cheap point—shocking is as shocking does and the mag certainly leaned into that at times—it also wasn't the only point because, let's face it, dicks just look ridiculous and silly. And no one embodied this bold absurdity better than our foremost freelance staffer of the time, Chris Pontius , who had no shortage of wholesome tallywhacker antics under his belt.
[Gratuitous and relatively unnecessary aside that easily could have been a footnote below or just not mentioned at all: The uncensored full-frontal hijinks came to an abrupt end once the magazine was acquired by Larry Flynt Publications, Inc., circa 1997, which may sound ironic, but America's most notorious pornographer didn't particularly want to get pegged for peddling smut to minors . A valid concern, I suppose, considering the outspoken media mogul had pissed off so many uptight people throughout the years that he was under constant scrutiny by those just waiting to capitalize on the slightest criminal slip-up… case in point, the infamous "Kids Issue" of Big Brother and the whole Dr. Laura Schlessinger hullabaloo that ensued. If you want to know more, I suggest checking out the big dumb documentary on Hulu.]
If memory serves, the "Helicockter" was one of the earliest ideas we set upon once committing to the 3D gimmick in 2010. Photo: Sean Cliver
Aside from the very brief spell when we put baby in the corner after he flaked out on a road trip of ours through Florida in 1999, Chris's dingaling remained a featured asset throughout the lifespan of Big Brother, the televised birth of jackass, our first foray into mainstream cinema with a Box Office #1 hit movie, the greatest nature show ever, aka Wildboyz, and all of the subsequent jackass flicks—although most notably the one from 2010, when he went full Buckaroo Banzai and pioneered full-frontal male nudity into the third dimension. In the process of all that, did we inadvertently lend a helping hand toward the "normalization" of male genitalia in mainstream entertainment? It's funny to think so, but fuck if I really know. I've never been one for broader philosophical hot takes, so if you're looking for deep dive, best not to ask me. My brainpan has the relative breadth and scope of a backyard plastic kiddy pool, as evidenced by the simple anti-Socratic question that has dictated the majority of my decisions in life: "Does it make me giggle?" True story.
We always thought it was funny to force a heterosexual MTV generation to deal with all of our thongs and homoerotic humor. In many ways, all our gay humor has been a humanitarian attack against homophobia. We've been trying to rid the world of homophobia for years.
—Steve-O, from an interview in Vanity Fair (2010)
Early concept art for the "Pontiusaurus." Ralph McQuarrie wept.
Anyway, fast forward to 2020, where we're all still friends, all still working together, all still doing the same old stupid shit, and we're brainstorming on creative for what would eventually become jackass forever. Somewhere in his sprawling document of ridiculous ideas, Johnny Knoxville had this one wild hair to turn Pontius's now world famous wiener into a prehistoric monster and have it terrorize a miniature city set. A lifelong fan of schlocky giant monster movies, I excitedly took the initiative to first flesh the concept out on paper , and then, per Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine's notes, roughed out some basic storyboards for what was only intended to be a random non sequitur of sorts buried within the body of the movie [Exhibit A].
Here's the original treatment as it was written:
Cast: Chris Pontius
We transform the King of the Tallywhackers into a giant sci-fi monster using makeup and small prosthetic attachments, such as T-rex arms, plates for the back of the shaft, testicular feet, and all that prehistoric, radioactive monster jazz. The really elaborate build, though, is going to be the miniature city set for Pontius’s dong to destroy. To do this, Pontius will likely be prone, facing up, with his tallywhacker being puppeteered through a slot where the “city” can be moved and manipulated on a table around his stationary monster. Small SFX charges and explosions are prepped to go off all throughout the city, as Pontius barges through, derailing a toy train and thrashing through power lines, until his opponent is finally revealed: a crab! A real crab! Up until this point, the audience will have viewed everything from a macro level within the miniature world, but we’ll pull out for a big reveal once the battle commences and the pincers are no laughing matter—at least for Pontius, that is.
Obviously that's not the final confrontation that went down once it came time to film. While a crab may have sounded funny in the STD sense, they're a tad more wily to wrangle (they scutttle sideways!) and we needed a more predictable maw to rely upon—enter the snapping turtle.
Photos L to R: I know I called this a "backyard" shoot in the caption above, but there was still a buttload of work that went into it; The rest of Chris Pontius drifts off to a happy place while his manhood gets manipulated in the model city above him.
It wasn't until we were a few awkward scenes deep into shooting on a janky miniature set with limited thought given to Pontius's overall comfort and actual body physics—this was definitely one of those uncharted instances where you just don't know until you know—that Tremaine and Spike Jonze, both laughing to the point of tears, turned to each other with the exact same thought: this could be more—much more. And that's when it was formally decided to wrap the shoot and bump the "Pontiusaurus" up from an afternoon's half-ass lark to an intensive week-long cinematic movie shoot, incorporating live action stunts, celebrity guest appearances, great balls of pyrotechnic fire, green screen visual effects, the entire Paramount Studios backlot, and a big-time Hollywood crew  for an even bigger-time Hollywood budget.
Exhibit A: Storyboards for the backyard version of the "Pontiusaurus" shoot.
Trivial fun fact: In the original cut of the "Pontiusaurus" opening sequence, Chris was not revealed as the actual monster until the very, very snapping end ; however, a debate ensued amongst the producers that ultimately resulted in two distinct cuts: one being the aforementioned surprise reveal, while the other exposed him much earlier and directly so the audience would know exactly who and what was actually on the rampage. My money—all of it, without a single cent of doubt—was placed on the original cut of mystery winning out, but when both versions screened for test audiences, lo and behold, the latter sequence where they knew exactly what was going on, aka "being let in on the joke," ultimately played better and garnered the loudest and most favorable reactions. So… fuck me. Apparently I don't know shit and it's best I avoid Vegas at all costs.
To say it took a village to bring us to this grand snapping climax would be an egregious understatement. Photo: Sean Cliver
And on that life-questioning note, I'm happy to present this graphic ode to one of the most absurd scenarios in which I've ever had the pleasure of being an active participant in, both on paper and in the movie, and one of the best humans I know on the planet. So thank you, Chris, for being all that you unabashedly are, and thank you Knoxville, Tremaine, and Spike for having me along for this long, wild, arrested detour through adulthood, as well as your collective blessing on this particular Pontius board project. —Cliver
The Chris Pontius guest board will be available on the site this Saturday, April 9, at 9am PST/noon EST. If for some reason you happen to miss out on this opportunity, fear not, because Chris will have a limited amount available next weekend (I think) on chrispontius.com.
1. I could have easily thrown Dave Carnie in here as well, but this ain't about him. However, I'd be awfully remiss not to mention the very first time both Dave and Chris came to the World Industries/Big Brother offices in August of 1995, they made a grand entrance clad only in their birthday suits and all slathered up in orange body paint. Those were the days!
2. Okay, so there was that one little mishap in the LFP subscription department, where they mistakenly sent a super raw fetish mag entitled Taboo to all the Big Brother subscribers, but even Jay Leno could see the humor in that little mix-up (I would have included the video here, but my first Google search for "Leno Taboo Big Brother" resulted in a lot of not what I expected nor wanted to see… possibly the very same sentiment shared by all the young kids who received Taboo and were introduced to the stark reality of naked women peeing for someone's apparent pleasure).
3. Not to get all Superbad, but I could definitely relate to Jonah Hill's character in at least one regard… well, not entirely or exactly so, but let's just say I have left a pretty commendable Sharpie trail across the globe.
4. Including the dude who puppeteered/played the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the original Ghostbusters (1984)!
5. I'm a firm believer that if you go to the trouble to read anything on the interweb these days you should be rewarded in some manner . So here you go: For the original cut there was an entire vignette filmed where the monster brought down the side of a building to reveal Pontius dolled up in a very Fay Wray way in a cute, wink-wink-nudge-nudge moment. Alas, the cutting room floor was as far as it ever got, making this a truly never-before-seen shot from the set in 2021. (Photo: Sean Cliver)
6. Mainly because it's all just a bunch of click-bait articles that go on and on and on saying the same shit over and over and over for the sole purposed of serving up a million-billion ads and monetizing your precious impression time. Fucking fuckers. If you believe in a hell with a capital H then surely those in the interweb analytics profession will have a circle of torment all unto their own damned selves.