A comedic stuntman on the caliber of a live-action Wile E. Coyote, “Jackass” star Steve-O has been in the news this summer after climbing to the top of a Hollywood crane to shoot fireworks while holding an inflatable whale in a SeaWorld protest. The stunt was recorded live by Steve-O (real name Stephen Glover) for social media, but it also drew the ire of emergency crews.
On the morning of this interview, Steve-O was cited with five criminal charges after the incident. Reluctant to talk about the stunt because of legal issues, Steve-O did open up about his unique career and current progress as a stand-up comedian as he returns to Helium Comedy Club in Buffalo this week.
A former circus clown who became a star as a member of Johnny Knoxville’s “Jackass” crew (which produced three seasons on MTV, three feature-length movies and several spin-offs), Steve-O rose to fame by committing acts of televised idiocy, such as snorting wasabi, getting stuck in a limo filled with bees, and other things we can’t print in a family newspaper. Now Steve-O produces and stars in his own stunt videos uploaded to his social media platforms.
“It’s not really any different than before,” he said of using social media to distribute his “Jackass”-like videos. “It’s just how the world is now. The actual art isn’t any different. I’ve always said it’s pretty simple: Think of something nobody would ever want to do, then go do it.”
While his career was based on live performance, Steve-O didn’t try stand-up until nine years ago, but now he’s been touring with his comedy act for five years.
“Performing on stage has always been part of my deal,” he said. “Before I was on TV, I was a professional circus clown and I did all kinds of live stuff. I’ve been touring most of my career, and now that it’s become stand-up, it’s slightly a different animal, it’s all just a function of me being an attention whore.”
For those only familiar with Steve-O through his stunts, he explains that his stand-up show incorporates elements from his entire career, including being a circus clown, “Jackass” and his addictions.
Steve-O is set to tape his first comedy special for Showtime in November, and he’s confident that his act is going to surprise many people.
“It really chronicles my growth, and the lack thereof, over the past five years,” Steve-O said. “There’s going to be a curiosity factor. I really think it’s going to change my life in a really big way, because when people see that I have a Showtime comedy special, many are probably going to expect to see me punch myself in the (groin) for an hour.”
While the comedian was recently at Helium, he promised audiences will see many new jokes during his set, and is looking forward to meeting fans after the show. Steve-O’s last trip to Helium ended with a photo with the staff featuring the star wearing only a single shoe – which isn’t on his foot. He’s hoping to leave the club with a picture that tops that.
“I really feel that was a pretty epic picture,” Steve-O said. “After we took it, the sense is that’s the one to beat.”
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Helium Comedy Club, 33 Mississippi St.