“Joe Dirt,” the 2001 comedy starring David Spade as the mullet-topped, stupid-funny title character, found a second life in the years after its theatrical release.
“Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser,” filmed in Covington and New Orleans, premiered Thursday on the free streaming network Crackle.
Spade and other original cast members, including Brittany Daniel, Christopher Walken and Dennis Miller, return for more of Dirt’s misadventures. New cast members include Spade’s “Rules of Engagement” co-star Patrick Warburton and Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath.
Since its release 14 years ago, “Joe Dirt” has been the movie Spade hears most about in person and through his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“The first one didn’t break the record books,” Spade, in full mullet, said on the sequel’s Covington set in December. “But I’ve done movies that made way more money than ‘Joe Dirt’ that no one talks about. Those movies don’t have any resonance.”
Spade also hears about “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” “Grown Ups,” and, two films featuring his late “Saturday Night Live” co-star, Chris Farley, “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep.” The frequent mentions of “Joe Dirt,” though, caught his attention.
“To have 80 percent of my Twitter be about ‘Joe Dirt,’ that means something,” he said. “I wanted to address it.”
Daniel, who plays Brandy, Dirt’s love interest in the films, noticed sustained interest in the original film, too.
“It became more popular over the years, because more and more people saw it,” she said on the set. “Parents showed it to their little ones. I’m really happy for the fans, because I know they were hoping for a sequel for so many years.”
“Joe Dirt 2,” like its predecessor, takes its title character on a journey, this time on a trip through time into the recent past.
In the first film, Dirt searched for the parents who abandoned him at the Grand Canyon when he was a boy. In the sequel, Joe is on a quest to retrieve Brandy and the couple’s three daughters.
“I’m not getting super rich over this movie, but I’m doing it for me and the fans,” Spade said. “When I put on that wig and I go on the set, the extras, people go, ‘Oh, my God. That’s really Joe Dirt. We gotta get a picture.’ In the South, Joe’s like Santa Claus.”
Daniel found her return to the world of Joe Dirt fun and a bit unsettling.
“When I stepped on set the first day, it was a surreal experience,” she said. “It also felt like a reunion.”
Bringing Daniel back as Brandy was essential to the project, Spade said.
“She is the real centerpiece in this,” he said. “She and I together means a lot, gives it sweetness, grounds it.”
“Even though there’s a lot of silly humor in the movie, it has a lot of heart,” Daniel said. “I think that’s why the first movie was a success.”
Spade’s frequent collaborator, Fred Wolf (“Black Sheep,” “Grown Ups,” “Joe Dirt”), directed the direct-to-streaming sequel during a quick 23 days on a low budget. Spade’s association with Wolf dates to their standup comic days, even before their years together at “Saturday Night Live,” where Wolf rose to the position of head writer.
Spade, Wolf said, “makes me laugh harder than anyone I’ve met. If there’s any way to bottle that for a movie or a TV show, I love working with him.”
Regardless of the pressurized “Joe Dirt 2” shooting schedule, Wolf said, the film was the most fun to make of any of the 12 movies he’s done.
“Dave and I have a short hand with each other,” the director said. “We’ve done five movies together and a bunch of TV shows, so, if this movie does turn out good, it’s because of the bond we’ve had over these past 20 years. And doing a comedy with heart, that’s one of the things I really love to do.”