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The Untold Truth Of Wee Man

When the show "Jackass" premiered on MTV in October 2000, it brought a rowdy, underground video vibe to television in a way that mainstream audiences had never seen before. Anchored by the easy charisma of creator and star Johnny Knoxville, the boyish enthusiasm of his cast of Gen-X skater knuckleheads, and the eternal appeal of watching other people get hurt, the show was an immediate smash hit. Over the last two decades, it has spawned a veritable "Jackass" cinematic universe of spinoffs, specials, and feature films, making stars out of Knoxville and his team of amateur daredevils, including Bam Margera, Stephen "Steve-O" Glover, and Jason "Wee Man" Acuña.

Acuña quickly became a fan favorite and one of the most recognizable members of the "Jackass" gang, taking advantage of his small stature to stage ridiculous, reckless pranks that would tip over into offensiveness as often as injury. Acuña has parlayed his "Jackass" notoriety into a career as an actor, television personality, and restaurateur; not bad for an Army brat from southern California.

With the long-delayed sequel "Jackass Forever" finally arriving in theaters in February 2022, let's take a look at some things you may not know about Jason "Wee Man" Acuña.

Army brat

Jason Acuña's father George served in the United States Army and was stationed in Germany when he met and married Acuña's mother, Dagmar (via The New York Times). The couple was transferred to a base in Pisa, Italy, while his mother was pregnant. "I was conceived in Germany but born in Italy," he explained in an April 2020 episode of the podcast "Steve-O's Wild Ride!". Though English is his first language, Acuña's mother taught him German as a boy, and he remains fluent in the language. "I didn't even want to learn it when I was a kid," he told Steve-O. "You know when you're a kid, and you ask your mom, 'What's this?' My mom would tell me in German, and I'd be like, 'No, not that funny language!'"

Eventually, Acuña would settle in southern California, where his father's family is from, and as a preteen, he became heavily involved in the skateboarding culture around the area.


When he was born, the delivering Army doctor noticed that Jason Acuña's head was large compared to the rest of his body (per The New York Times). Concerned that the baby might be hydrocephalic, the doctor ran tests and determined that Acuña instead had a genetic condition known as achondroplasia, which causes dwarfism. Achondroplasia affects approximately one in 40,000 births in the United States; actor Peter Dinklage was also born with the condition.

As a boy, Acuña's mother took him to an annual conference sponsored by the support group Little People of America, thinking that he might enjoy meeting other children with dwarfism. Acuña felt differently, however, telling The New York Times in 2022, "I came back and I go, 'Mom, I don't want to go to these things anymore.' I'm like, 'That's not what my life is about. I have friends.'" He compared the impulse to group people with dwarfism together to the idea that a bald man should be friends with other bald men. "He's a dude, he's a jogger, he wants to hand out with other joggers. Skateboarder, hang out with skateboarders," he said.

That famous nickname

As a young skateboarder in Torrance, California, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jason Acuña began attracting attention, both for his age and his size — not to mention a big, attention-loving personality. In his interview with The New York Times, he said he was already being sponsored by local skate shops at age 14. At the time, the local Torrance skateboard company was World Industries, and Acuña and his friends would try to score free merchandise at the company warehouse (via Jenkem Magazine). Opened in 1987 by professional skateboarders Steve Rocco and Rodney Mullen, World Industries billed itself as the first skateboard company operated by and for skaters.

The story goes that Steve Rocco's brother Sal gave Acuña his nickname, shouting "Hey everyone! Wee Man is here!" whenever Acuña would come around. A few years later, World Industries' magazine Big Brother published a photo spread featuring Acuña and printed the nickname. After that, Wee Man was his official stage name.

Despite the somewhat derogatory tone, Acuña has embraced the nickname as a calling card, as has his family. His father George, now a home inspector in Arizona, tells prospective homebuyers that their house was "just inspected by Wee Man's dad," complete with family photos to prove his claim.

Big Brother

Much of the groundwork for what would one day become "Jackass" was laid at Big Brother magazine, the publishing arm of World Industries. Started by Steve Rocco in 1992, the magazine embraced its parent company's "for us, by us" ethos and ran skateboarding interviews and photo spreads alongside features and humor pieces that were unpolished, irreverent, and raunchy. In a 2010 interview with Maxim magazine, editor and future "Jackass" director Jeff Tremaine said one of the first issues ran a feature titled "How to Kill Yourself."

Tremaine ran the magazine's day-to-day operations in those early days and hired anyone whom he felt, in his words, "got it" — "it" being the Gen-X counterculture vibe. "They might not have had the most talent, but they definitely had the larger personalities," he said. Frequently nude "Jackass" star Chris Pontius was one of these larger personalities, as was a struggling actor named Johnny Knoxville, who pitched Tremaine a story where he would test self-defense weapons against himself.

Jason Acuña got a job in the office by virtue of being local and hanging around so much that Tremaine finally just put him to work. When Big Brother released its first video — a skateboarding compilation entitled "S***" — Acuña appeared on the box art covered in blue paint. He was a model and an employee, but he was not a model employee. "He was very unmotivated and a terrible employee," Tremaine told Maxim magazine.


There is an egalitarian streak that runs through the two-plus decade run of "Jackass." No one is better or worse than anyone else, and no one is the butt of the joke — or perhaps, everyone is the butt of the joke. Over the years, many of Acuña's stunts and pranks have been no different from the ones performed by Knoxville or the rest of the cast. For example, in "Jackass Number Two," Acuña is tricked into sitting on a stool wired to give electric shocks while a professional card thrower pretends to whip playing cards at his backside.

But many of his best and most memorable stunts came from the unique opportunities afforded by his height: Dressing as an Oompa Loompa from "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and performing skateboard tricks across Los Angeles; being shot across a swamp like "an 80-mile-an-hour fastball"; and the simple but effective sight of him kicking himself in the head. Acuña was often paired with cast member Preston Lacy for comedic effect, as their two polar-opposite body types complement one another nicely.

Still, a job hiding in duffle bags to scare cab drivers was still a job, and pay was meager in his MTV days — somewhere between $500 and $700 per sketch, he would tell The New York Times years later. It wasn't until the first film in 2002 that he received a large enough check to breathe a sigh of relief: "Oh, my God. I'm OK now."

Dealing with fame

Because of his stature, Jason Acuña is the most recognized "Jackass" cast member — even more so than Knoxville. His fame is inescapable, and he estimates that he's been recognized on the street nearly every day since the show premiered in the year 2000. "People drive by and yell my name at me," he told Jenkem Magazine in 2018. "I had a group of people in a car all yelling out the window and they crashed into the car in front of them. That's happened twice."

Over the years, Acuña has avoided the tabloid attention that his castmate Bam Margera has faced. Indeed, his social media feeds are mostly used to promote various projects and business ventures or showcase photos taken with fans. And he has discovered that the name "Wee Man" serves a useful role in delineating those people who want to be his friend from those who simply want proximity to fame. Speaking to Jenkem Magazine about romantic relationships, Acuña said, "No chick has ever called me Wee Man that I've dated. I've also never dated a chick that I noticed would call me Wee Man because it didn't feel like she was trying to date me. I don't think I've ever been called Wee Man during sex."

Chronic Tacos

So if he's not wasting it on the spoils of fame, what does Jason Acuña do with his money? Tacos, of course. In 2008, he became an investor in the California-based Mexican restaurant chain Chronic Tacos, opening a franchise in Redondo Beach called "Wee Man's Chronic Tacos." "Putting his brand, Wee Man, on top was something different for us to do," Chronic Tacos owner Randy Wyner explained to Hermosa Beach newspaper Daily Breeze at the time. "We thought ... it was a really good fit with the brand and he brings a lot to the table, his own fans."

"I decided there was something better to do instead of wasting my money and blowing it," Acuña told Daily Breeze. The chain was a good fit for him, not just because of the rock and roll street art aesthetic of its locations and food truck but also as a connection to his father's family, which is of Mexican descent. Notably, his brother and sisters grew up eating menudo every Sunday. "We didn't even know that it was cow stomach and all that, we just loved it," he told the Long Beach Post.

Acuña's association with the brand has led some fans to think that he is more than just an investor. "A lot of fans think I'm the founder, so that's pretty funny," he told the Long Beach Post. Wyner apparently thinks it's funny too. "He'll laugh about it," Acuña said.


In 2012, Jason Acuña took a rare leading man role in the family Christmas comedy "Elf-Man." When a little girl makes a wish on an old elf doll to bring her father home on Christmas Eve, a magical elf (Acuña) appears to make the wish come true by morning, when Santa will bring him back to the North Pole. Little do they know that the little girl's father has been kidnapped by a group of thieves seeking his fantastic new invention. When the thieves attack the house, the elf must defend the family by believing in himself and becoming the Christmas superhero Elf-Man.

Written and directed by B-movie filmmaker Ethan Wiley and co-starring Mackenzie Astin as the father and Jeffrey Combs as head thief, the film heads in several directions at once. The home invasion plot and slapstick elements recall "Home Alone," with a supernatural element added (perhaps to not seem too derivative). The film knows what it has in Acuña as the lead and affords as much opportunity as possible for him to snowboard and/or get knocked around, whether it makes sense at the moment or not. In addition, Combs' character is Irish to better explain why he mistakes Elf-Man for a leprechaun.

The film was released direct to video and was not terribly well-received. The most positive review might be this YouTube video featuring the children of Acuña's "Jackass" castmate Dave England. "I thought it was really funny that the robbers were not very smart," says England's son Roan.

USO tours

Because of his father's military service, Jason Acuña has been very active with the United Service Organizations for years, touring military bases all over the world and performing for servicemen and women. "We've done it for seven years straight," he told Steve-O in 2020. "And then I've gone around the world clockwise on two different trips in one week." He has flown on Air Force Two — the vice president's plane — on several occasions, as well as C-17 transports.

But his trips have not always been just fun and selfies — Acuña has found himself in active warzones on more than one occasion. "We landed in Afghanistan," he recalled, "and they told us, 'If we tell you to hit the deck, hit the deck.' We only stayed for like two hours, and when we back took off we had two F-18s flying with us, ready to shoot anybody down if stuff happened."

On another trip, Acuña was fired upon while on a helicopter headed to Qatar from Afghanistan. "And we're like, 'Oh f*** we just got shot at.'" The pilot informed them that they would be heading back to the base due to inclement weather. "Due to weather, yeah — it's raining missiles!" Steve-O joked. It was "the scariest thing that [Acuña's] ever been in," and coming from a man who has faced rampaging bulls on multiple occasions, that says a lot.