Stuntman finds Success in Stand-up
September 2nd 2014
By Nicholas M. Pescod
File From: Nanaimo News Bulletin/Black Press
In 1987, Steve-O was a teenager on a mission in Toronto.
Mötley Crüe was playing at Maple Leaf Gardens and he was determined to find out at what hotel the American superstars were staying.
“In my life that was a really big landmark,” Steve-O told the News Bulletin. “I had an attitude that I could accomplish a lot of things, but when I pulled that off I just developed an attitude that I can accomplish anything I damn well want to in my life.”
It was that attitude combined with an insatiable appetite for attention that would help launch Steve-O to fame as a stuntman, prankster and comedian with the hit television and movie franchise, Jackass, which included Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera.
“Everything I have done has been driven by an unreasonable need for attention,” Steve-O said.
On Sunday (Sept. 7) the Jackass star turned standup comedian will be the centre of attention as he performs his routine at the Port Theatre as part of his Entirely Too Much Information tour.
“I would describe it as first and foremost as vigorously honest,” Steve-O said. “I don’t bullshit anybody. My life has been outrageous enough where I don’t have to bend the truth.”
Long before Steve-O was stapling his manhood to his leg and snorting wasabi as a member of Jackass, he was a 15-year-old kid who filmed himself skateboarding and doing various stunts with his father’s video camera. His need for attention and desire to become a serious stuntman led him to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College.
“I figured if I could graduate from there [Clown College] that I would be a trained circus professional and people would be inclined to take me more seriously,” he said. “Really that was why I went to Clown College, was to further my goal of becoming a crazy stunt guy.”
After college, he spent time as a clown in Florida before being noticed by Jeff Tremaine, who would eventually create Jackass.
“It was all really cool,” Steve-O said about his time on Jackass.
Following the conclusion of the Jackass, television series and subsequent movies, Steve-O became involved in a number of projects including the release of an autobiography, Professional Idiot: A Memoir.
He also dealt with a serious substance abuse problem and received treatment after his friend and Jackass co-star Johnny Knoxville encouraged him to get help.
“You know you’ve got a problem when Johnny Knoxville is your interventionist,” Steve-O said about the day he realized he needed to get help.
Four years ago, Steve-O was invited to do a stunt at comedy club.
“When I showed up I couldn’t think of anything crazier for me to do than try standup comedy,” he said. “It was really genuinely terrifying and I just went for it.”
Shortly afterwards, Steve-O decided to take a serious run at standup comedy. He credits Dane Cook for helping him hone his craft as a standup comedian.
“Dane Cook really took me under his wing and served as a mentor to me in a really meaningful way … we would sit down and he would give me notes,” Steve-O explained. “The first note he gave me was I am not sending you back to the drawing board, which was his way of saying my material was funny and that really put the wind in my sails.”
Just recently, Steve-O made headlines after he released a YouTube video, which showed him defacing a freeway sign in southern California in a protest about SeaWorld. The prankster also criticized celebrities who participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Instagram, stating that they weren’t sharing
information about the disease to their fans.
“They weren’t really doing anything. They were just dumping water over their head and that was it,” Steve-O explained. “I never would have imagined that bitching about something like that could be so wellreceived.”
To his credit, Steve-O participated in the challenge and donated $1,000 to the cause.
“I think I am one of the few people who looked it up and got educated about it,” he said.
After being clean and sober for eight years now, Steve-O said he is still the same person that he has always been.
“I didn’t loose anything in the way of my sense of humour and my sensibility,” he said. “I am still a maniac.”