Terry Morrow: Johnny Knoxville absorbs chance to do 'SpongeBob'

SpongeBob SquarePants is psyched to have Johnny Knoxville on an upcoming episode.

SpongeBob SquarePants is psyched to have Johnny Knoxville on an upcoming episode.

HOLLYWOOD — When the producers of "SpongeBob SquarePants" invited Johnny Knoxville to do a cameo on their show, he didn't think twice about it.

"I said, 'Yeah! Of course. It's SpongeBob!' And, unlike the (producers) in (my) movies, he lets me do my own stunts," he deadpanned of the show airing 8 p.m. Saturday on Nickelodeon.

Knoxville, nee PJ Clapp, plays Johnny Krill, a member of the Drasticals extreme sports team. When the Drasticals visit town, SpongeBob and Patrick try to show that they fit into the Drasticals' extreme world of motor biking, hang gliding, surfing and extreme bubble blowing.

"In the recording booth, we showed him some of the crazy stunts his character was doing in the storyboards and he said, 'Wow, I think I actually did a stunt like that,' " Sarah Noonan, senior vice president of talent and casting at Nickelodeon Animation is quoted as telling Hollywood.com.

Eager to bring something to do the table, Knoxville asked if he needed to come up with a funny voice for his character. However, the producers were quick to note: "No, we want (your voice)," Knoxville recalled.

As for the actual work itself of doing a cartoon character, Knoxville pointed out, "It's not easy, but there's not a lot of heavy lifting. It's a different kind of work."

Knoxville is a 'toon head from way back.

He grew up watching "Tom and Jerry" and still catches episodes of it even today with his son, Rocko.

He was even a fan of old-school anime and was a fan of "Gigantor," being particularly fond of the shimmering female robot.

One of his future film projects will be animated.

These days, he takes ribbing from some of his buddies about his interest in cartoons.

"Some of the guys made fun of me. They say I think life is a cartoon," he said during an interview at his office in Hollywood, where toy knickknacks are part of the ambience.

Is it?

"Sometimes, it is," he said. "Sometimes."

Not winning

Luttrell native Kenny Chesney has the hit records and concerts to his credit, but that doesn't stop him from being criticized by the Hollywood press lately.

E! news had this to say about him presenting at the ESPY Awards: "It's already kinda random that Kenny Chesney was at the ESPYs, but we got over it. Then he got on stage to present an award and we couldn't even see his face because of that huge cowboy hat, and he seemed so nervous the whole time, we got so distracted. What award was it again?"

And the Los Angeles Times wrote on a recent concert performance with Tim McGraw that perhaps flash over substance was at play on stage.

"Both turned around so many times to face their bands during Saturday's blockbuster Brothers of the Sun tour stop at Anaheim Stadium that it seemed as if for half the show all the sellout crowd and cameras had to look at was their backsides."

Also noted: "When some of the biggest ovations of the evening are generated by projected images of the show's star without his shirt, you know that it's more than catchy turns of phrase and hummable melodies that pull nearly 45,000 people to the show."

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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