“I always wanted to be a rock star – even if only in my lifestyle!” Steve-O tells NME. “And I think I did a pretty good job!” The 42-year-old is probably best known for being the craziest of the Jackass crew, and has been performing stand-up comedy for over a decade. As he prepares to tour the UK in a show which mixes gags with the gonzo stunts that made his name, he talks to us about being inspired by Trump, killer clown solidarity and once snorting so much cocaine that his shoes started heckling him.
Let’s start with the obligatory question of 2016: how do you feel about Donald Trump being elected President?
“Shit, I saw it coming! It was largely Donald Trump that inspired me to name my tour ‘End Of The World’ – now that he’s been elected, I think I chose wisely, because I think there’s a palpable feeling the world could end. I’m leaving America to go tour Europe – potentially to find a new place to live! I doubt I’ll move, but I think us electing him sends a message to the world that we’re a racist country, represented by all the terrible shit Donald Trump has said and done. That damage is pretty irreparable. I’m embarrassed and ashamed of America.”
What subjects are you talking about in your stand-up?
“There’s a lot of hilarious stuff about my criminal record – I’ve got a colourful criminal past which I delve into for material. There’s a bunch of stuff from my drug days, of what a pitiful alcoholic and drug addict I became. There’s a whole section of genuinely hilarious celebrity cocaine stories, where I throw very famous people under the bus. There’s a bunch of physical stunts and tricks peppered throughout the show. It’s more of a physical stunt show than what I’d perform in American comedy clubs.”
Who’s the best celebrity to get on it with?
“Mike Tyson is a good one. That story made it out into the press in a fairly significant way so from that, I learned to save the names for the show!”
Do you have a favourite time you were arrested?
“Stapling my ball-sack to my leg – that was a good one. Or the way I got arrested for international drug-smuggling was particularly hilarious. Even my drink-driving arrests were funny. I’m not proud of my drink driving – but I am proud of my arrests for it.”
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You graduated from Clown College in ’97. How do you feel about the 2016 Creepy Clown craze?
“I find it somewhat interesting. If they’re not committing any crimes and they’re being creative, then I encourage it. I’ve argued with my dad over this – he thinks it’s a serious thing. The reality is I recognise it’s a serious thing… and still don’t care. [Laughs] Fuck it!”
Do you still see the Jackass guys?
“Sure. Bam [Margera] is wandering around Europe I imagine pretty heavily drunk, and I don’t hear from him as much, but the rest of the guys keep in touch regularly.”
Will it ever come back?
“I think the odds of a fourth Jackass film are virtually non-existent. The chances of us getting together for an unrelated project are much higher and I know that myself and Johnny Knoxville are both working on separate films that will allow for us to do all the stunts and antics that we’re known for built into a script. Both movies have a Jackie Chan approach, which is a story loaded with all kinds of physical stunts. We’re in a race as to who can get our movie out first.”
Is there any competitiveness?
“Yeah. We get footage-envy – if one of us gets an amazing bit of footage, the rest of us get jealous and it pushes us harder to come up with some footage of our own.”
As you get older, is there a time-limit for being able to do the stunts? Presumably as your balls start to lower, they’re harder to staple to your leg…
“For sure! I’m glad I’ve diversified my approach, even though my comedy show is still full of physical stunts. With the sands of time falling, I have incredible pressure to hurry up and take advance of what time I have left to do the big crazy stunts. I envisage the next few years being a real race against the clock to get as much of that done as I possibly can. Goddamn it, I’m going to get fucking crazy for the next few years!”
Once a Wildboy, always a Wildboy! Special thanks to the Madagascar Cave Diving Association, the Dominican Republic Speleological Society, and Madagascar National Parks!
Before you got sober in 2008, you were doing drugs to the point where you were hearing voices and hallucinating…
“I was hearing voices and some of them would say ‘hey we’re worried about you, we care about you, we want you to stop doing all this stuff to yourself’. At one point, I had a wall of shelves filled with shoes. The theme [of the voices] was that I was to throw away all my drugs – and all of these shoes started impatiently tapping their toes waiting for me to do that. There was a point where I was sitting doing drugs and thought to myself, ‘Man I’m really killing myself here’. Then I thought, ‘no I don’t care if I die’, then leaned over to snort more drugs. As I did, the chair I was in physically spun around. I know it didn’t – but my experience was it did. I hallucinated an intervention – people filing in and sitting down – and the fact was I was completely alone the whole time.”
What’s the closest you’ve come to death?
“There’s certainly been plenty of opportunities to die in my professional life as well as my personal life, but the answer is anticlimactic – scuba-diving. There was a point where I was told the sharks were at the bottom and I just kept going. I was irresponsible and ignorant and could have died then.”
Steve O brings his standup tour to the UK on the following dates
Leicester O2 Academy2 (November 25)
Sheffield O2 Academy2 (27)
Islington O2 Academy2 (28)
Birmingham O2 Academy2 (29)
O2 Academy2 Oxford (30)
Liverpool O2 Academy2 (December 1)
Newcastle O2 Academy2 (5)