Adam Ruins Everything
Jake and Amir
Tim Taylor: Jackass of the '90s
May 25, 2007
Before the era of YouTube and
Jackass, adolescents looking to laugh at hilariously painful stunts had one source: the popular
Improvement. Kids tuned-in to the otherwise dull show throughout the 1990s for one reason: to witness star Tim Allen suffer horrific injury as
Tool Time host Tim Taylor. A noble predecessor to
Jackass, Taylor was being burned, bludgeoned, shocked and cut long before Knoxville had suffered his first kick in the groin.
vs. "Fishing Pole Into Socket"
In one of
's most famous stunts, Knoxville acts as a human test dummy for a series of self-defense items, including a number of powerful
that send him to the ground in involuntary convulsions. Nevertheless, the Tool Man is dealt an even larger shock when he smashes the end of a graphite fishing rod into the live socket of a
studio light, presumably carrying an industrial-strength voltage far greater than that of a non-lethal weapon.
"Poo Cocktail" vs. "Four-Story Toilet Fall"
An early exploit of Knoxville's had him climbing into a portable toilet and the structure flipped upside down—spilling its excrement all over the daredevil. While the stunt no doubt exposed Knoxville to an entire culture of disease, it lacks the supplemental injury suffered by Tim Taylor. While attempting to demonstrate the ease with which a construction worker might repel down a high rise, Taylor plummets 50 feet through a port-a-potty roof where, one may assume, the Tool Man's velocity sent him through the toilet seat and into the human waste below.
"Butterbean Fight" vs. "Bob Villa Assault"
For the theatrical version of
, Knoxville challenged former super heavyweight boxing champion Eric "Butterbean" Esch to an impromptu department store fight. Butterbean quickly floored Knoxville, who later required a number of stitches in his head. The Tool Man, on the other hand, defeated his home-repair nemesis Bob Villa with a 15-foot cut of heavy Doug Fir lumber, accidentally bludgeoning Villa unconscious, and presumably in need of stitches himself, as well as 6 months of painful physical therapy.
"Pallbearers" vs. "Nail Guns at Audience"
's most memorable stunts rely on the shock of random pedestrians to the sight of two fake pallbearers dropping a casket while loading it into a hearse or the disruptive blast of an air-horn at an exclusive golf club. Taking this concept of crowd participation to its extreme, Tim Taylor sent a fury of metal tacks raining down on his Tool Time studio audience during a poorly planned "21-nail-gun salute."
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