Steve-O Talks Comedy, Stunts, Sobriety and All Issues Jackass

steveo on peleton

The stuntman and Jackass star spins himself up but once more throughout a tour cease in New York Metropolis in December 2021.

Rafael Rios

A stuntman walks onto a stage with an issue. “I’m in a horrible place,” he says. “I’m Steve-O in my 40s.”

AS ALWAYS, Steve-O is the punchline. The 47-year-old begins his touring comedy present The Bucket Listing with a joke highlighting the unlikelihood of his being right here to ship it. He didn’t die leaping off a balcony and mendacity unconscious in a pool of his personal blood attempting to impress a lady as a younger “consideration whore”—his correct time period, with which he liberally seasons his steady “diatribes” (additionally his correct time period). Steve-O didn’t perish getting sepsis from stapling his scrotum to his thigh for his Don’t Attempt This at House video or blowing himself up by capturing fireworks out of his ass on Jackass or inhaling 600 canisters of nitrous oxide a day—and filming the entire thing—throughout a interval of drug use so prolific he spent his time communing with hallucinated mates inside his condominium and sending hostile e mail missives to a bunch of corporeal mates he not often noticed and who in 2008 had him involuntarily dedicated to a psych ward after he knowledgeable your entire “Rad E-mail Listing” that he was planning to throw himself out of his third-floor bed room window.

“Most individuals can be delighted to listen to that they’re really not going to die of their early 30s,” Steve-O says now, virtually 14 years into the sobriety wrested from what he believes is a familial predisposition to dependancy. “It got here to me as a disaster. I used to be confronted with probably the most terrifying risk: I used to be solely like midway by means of my life.” He had little cash and no concept learn how to make extra, having alienated his private {and professional} connections and seeming to own few abilities past inspiring individuals to shout, “Oh shit, it’s Steve-O!” after they noticed him. “The final word worry for me can be to be a recognizable persona and completely broke,” he says.

steveo chugging green juice

The comic chugging inexperienced juice.

Rafael Rios

However in a sequence of occasions as inconceivable as surviving his makes an attempt to destroy himself for our leisure, Steve-O reworked himself into somebody who’s a reputable mannequin of males’s well being. After taking the novel steps of “altering my way of life and truly taking good care of myself and caring with my well being,” he started doing stand-up, primarily comprising compellingly self-deprecating tales about stunts he then exhibits video of. He wrote a 2011 memoir referred to as Skilled Fool, which bought greater than 170,000 copies and is revealing even for somebody whose rectum we’ve grow to be acquainted with. Its follow-up is a self-help guide, which can be revealed this September.

Steve-O has since appeared within the Jackass film Jackass 3D and stars on this month’s Jackass Eternally. He started a podcast and a hot-sauce line and a merch success middle that works with Tony Hawk. He stopped consuming meat for animal-welfare causes and have become engaged to stylist and designer Lux Wright, who has each applicable boundaries and a abdomen that permits her to unflinchingly maintain a digicam and movie Steve-O shitting right into a field fan. He has traded in fuck-your-knees Vans for a method of white Asics you would describe solely as “tennis sneakers” and strikes nimbly for a person who has inflicted a lot bodily trauma on himself, evident solely within the slight quiver of his palms as he texts Tommy Lee to let him know he’s carrying a Mötley Crüe T-shirt for his interview. Solely a vestigial I stays of the shit fuck tattoos he had lasered off the normal love hate positions on his fingers.

steveo on bed

The Jackass star remains to be discovering new methods to flex his abilities.

Rafael Rios

So regardless of the joke, being Steve-O in his 40s is definitely fairly a pleasant place. “But when I am going on the market and say, ‘I’m in a horrible place. I’m Steve-O in my 50s . . .’ ” he says with clear concern, “I feel that’s a significantly much less humorous joke.

“Perhaps the extra I develop, perhaps I simply wish to get out,” he says. Then Steve-O identifies the issue with escaping himself: “I don’t know learn how to get out.”


BEFORE TAKING ON the position of Steve-O, he was Stephen Glover. In sixth grade, Glover’s instructor wrote one thing on his report card that might each clarify and inform this transformation. “Socially, Steve’s try and impress his friends ceaselessly has had the other impact,” it learn. His (usually actually) bare pleas for consideration principally concerned self-harm: making himself bleed, setting himself on fireplace. Glover would do something and do it on digicam, with hopes that others would have an interest sufficient to look at, which made him problematically helpful within the punk-stunt subculture he wound up on the periphery of. After dropping out of the College of Miami, he balanced his desperation to be seen, even with derision, with a need for legitimacy; he enrolled within the elite Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown faculty in 1997. However a real vessel didn’t exist till Jeff Tremaine, editor of the skateboarding journal Massive Brother, partnered with Johnny Knoxville and future Oscar winner Spike Jonze to create Jackass for MTV.

The prank and stunt sequence premiered in 2000 and was an incredible hit, begetting six spin-offs and 4 movies, the primary three of which collectively grossed $336 million. The Joe Rogan–led Worry Issue adopted lower than a yr later, and Ridiculousness, the illegitimate baby of Jackass and America’s Funniest House Movies, now airs in nearly each time slot on MTV. Erin Buckels, a professor of psychology on the College of Winnipeg, says of those exhibits’ recognition, “There’s one thing primal in seeing individuals get damage. It’s arousing. And that might be a detrimental or optimistic expertise.”

Buckels makes use of the time period “on a regular basis sadism” for regular individuals who get pleasure out of others’ ache; she likens the impulse to giggle when the Jackass guys run by means of a hallway of Tasers dangling on strings—deemed “vicarious sadism,” versus gratification from inflicting struggling—to the joy some get from pornography. (Glover, who went to rehab for intercourse dependancy after getting sober, doesn’t watch porn as a result of he believes it’s detrimental to relationships.) Both manner, you want what you want, after which your mind comes up with excuses for why it’s okay. Glover selected to do that. He was having enjoyable together with his buddies. He was making a living off it, beginning with $1,500 for the primary season of Jackass—paltry, however nonetheless considerably greater than he had been incomes promoting medication within the parking zone of Grateful Useless live shows. “We just remember to don’t must really feel dangerous about your on a regular basis sadism, as a result of we’re inviting you to get pleasure from it,” Glover says after studying of the idea.So it’s fully permissible to get pleasure from it, as a result of it’s understood that the reward is your consideration; you’re really being beneficiant whenever you get pleasure from it.” In different phrases, you’re permitting the Jackass solid to have careers.

steve sitting on bed of nails

Steve-O stays zen atop a mattress of nails.

Rafael Rios

One different justification an viewers may need for being amused by the ache inflicted upon the Jackass guys is that these individuals need to be punished for the qualities which have made them well-known. Bam Margera is cocky and torments his mother and father; Knoxville is the sicko who put this factor collectively; and Glover is Steve-O, the person whose much less egregious acts of highlight chasing embody getting his personal face tattooed on his again. “It’s schadenfreude,” Buckels says. “We wish to see deserving, high-powered individuals get damage. And if they’ve a sure persona that’s virtually delinquent, perhaps that does assist us launch any form of hesitance we’ve to laughing at that.” A part of the brilliance of Jackass was the cycle it created: The shittier the solid acted, the extra superstar and cash they gained from that shittiness, and the extra enjoyable we had watching them deal with themselves like shit.

However as Glover turned extra well-known, his habits—and substance use—went from dangerous to insufferable. He started urinating on pink carpets and terrorizing his neighbor. He recorded a hardcore comedy-rap album, which impressed him to strive, and repeatedly fail, to get arrested. Cops would acknowledge him and let him go. Was it not against the law that Steve-O had medication on him, or was it merely a good thing about being a well-known white man?

its counterintuitive to describe jackass as something thats wholesome but i feel strongly that it is

Glover denies this was some grand design. “I don’t learn about cultivating douchiness to make it permissible for [audiences],” he says, permitting “maybe that was a part of my unconscious.” He has one other idea: “Perhaps it was that I had some form of low shallowness or one thing, and I felt like I deserved that.” He usually felt as if his Jackass costars have been superior to him. “These guys simply had this charisma on digicam, and so they may make something humorous with out risking their our bodies or making some large factor. [Chris] Pontius is that manner. He’s only a genius. For them it got here extra pure; they’re simply gifted. I really feel wish to get footage and to get display time, I all the time needed to work more durable.”

steveo in mud bath

The star takes an extra-dirty mud tub.

Rafael Rios

Knoxville led the crew of people that, bodily and really a lot towards his will, compelled Glover into rehab. The method of getting sober by means of Alcoholics Nameless entails shifting the main focus away from your individual fears and grievances and excuses and onto your affect on others. (Glover forgoes the Nameless half as a result of Steve-O doesn’t do something anonymously.) “The fourth step is a list, the place we undergo our resentments,” he says. “It’s fairly intelligent the best way it’s designed, as a result of it’s very easy to start out out making a ‘fuck you’ checklist. ‘Fuck this particular person! This particular person fucked me!’ So I did that, after which once I sat down with the stock, what was so loopy is that I had written down a listing of individuals I handled horribly. And I’m speaking about how I’m mad at them. Restoration is a lot contingent upon smashing the ego. And a profession in consideration searching for . . . like, it [seemed as if it] wouldn’t even work.”

im mindful about thinking of ways to support myself without being an attention whore

Nonetheless, when Glover was invited to be a part of Jackass 3D in 2010, recent out of a midway home, he mentioned sure. “I used to be afraid,” he says. “I used to be uncovered. I used to be tremendous uncomfortable.” In that movie, he seems to be bodily recoiling even when not being shaken inside a bungee-cord-powered, feces-filled moveable lavatory. He hides behind the solid he feels inferior to, smiling nervously and silently as a result of he’s too afraid to throw out jokes and have them not land with out the cushion of intoxication. Certainly one of his costars, Ryan Dunn, would die in a drunk-driving accident a yr later.

With Jackass Eternally, Glover felt safe in what he may convey to the movie. He’d spent a decade touring—“My comedy profession has been significantly extra profitable for me than my Jackass profession,” he says—and accruing probably the most social-media followers of any of the castmates, together with Knoxville. With the producers feeling like Margera couldn’t safely participate, Glover is the indeniable second lead of the movie. So he went to Knoxville, Jonze, and Tremaine and requested for an quantity of compensation commensurate with what he calculated to be his price.

jackass forever poster


Glover ultimately obtained a producer credit score. However he didn’t get a greenback greater than Dickhouse Productions initially supplied him. He claims he’s positive with it. The movie is nice, he initiatives as a lot onscreen charisma and confidence as one may ever think about from a person whose testicles are being stung by bees, and, he says, “the actual fact is that I’ve a number of different income streams, which all profit [from Jackass]. So I’d have been chopping my nostril off to spite my face if I wasn’t within the film as a result of I didn’t get the deal I needed.”

It additionally would have meant chopping ties with Knoxville, whom Glover says he admires like nobody besides his personal father and praises as reflexively as another person may spit to chase away the evil eye. Knoxville calls whereas we stroll by means of Washington, D. C., on the lookout for a preshow Covid-vaccine booster with Wendy, the stoic service canine educated to assist with Glover’s psychiatric and mobility points. (Moreover his actual Jackass movie earnings, the exact situations that require Wendy’s service are the one matter Glover declines to additional talk about.) He instantly places Knoxville on speakerphone.

steveo with service dog wendy

The person behind the shtick—actual identify Stephen Glover—relaxes together with his loyal service canine, Wendy.

Rafael Rios

“Cap!” Glover says. “Dude, you’re on the report proper now as a result of I’m being adopted round by Males’s Well being journal for my function article.”

I ask Knoxville if he’s ever had a dialog with Glover that wasn’t documented.

“Nicely, you by no means know what you’re going to get whenever you name Steve-O,” Knoxville says in his bemused drawl. “Often, you’re going to be on report. There’s some form of filming occurring. There’s all the time some sort of shenanigans, however he all the time may be very up-front about letting you understand.”

Glover confesses we’d simply been speaking about him: “I mentioned, ‘I don’t fucking like Knoxville getting in entrance of bulls. I completely fear about his mind.’ After which I mentioned, ‘My dad is 78 years previous, and I pay such shut consideration to each correspondence and each dialog as a result of I’m so frightened of Dad not being so sharp anymore and any form of dementia creeping in. It’s tragic as fuck to say, however I do the identical factor with Knoxville, you understand? his texts, speaking on the cellphone, each time we’re hanging out, simply [wondering], Has the mind trauma fucked up the captain?’”

steveo headshot

“There’s simply nothing imply or darkish,” Glover says concerning the enchantment of Jackass.

Rafael Rios

Knoxville appears lower than thrilled that Glover is speculating about his potential cognitive decline to a nationwide journal. “Nicely, that’s very candy, Steve-O,” he says. “However in contrast to your father, I used to be by no means that sharp to start with; in any other case I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing for a residing, okay?” He excuses himself from the dialog he didn’t join and asks if Glover can name him again.

“I completely can,” Glover says, beaming his big veneers on the cellphone. “And bravo, courageous captain, for placing your self down, and in the identical stroke proving that you’re, certainly, so fucking sharp and my considerations are unwarranted.”

johnny knoxville, sean “poopies” mcinerny, rachel wolfson and steve o in jackass forever from paramount pictures and mtv entertainment studios

Johnny Knoxville, Sean “Poopies” McInerny, Rachel Wolfson and Steve-O in Jackass Eternally

Sean CliverParamount

“Oh, yeah, sharp as a butter knife,” Knoxville says. “All proper, properly, I like you guys. I’ll converse to you later.”

“Love you, Knox,” Glover says.

Later, Glover will inform me, “I do know that it’s counterintuitive to explain Jackass as one thing that’s healthful, however I really feel strongly that it’s. . . . There’s simply nothing imply or darkish.” I belief him so deeply I virtually neglect that he parses his captain’s textual content messages on the lookout for indicators of CTE from the films they make collectively.


“THIS WHOLE SHOW is all about existential panic, this race towards the clock to do probably the most spectacularly dumb shit doable earlier than it turns into creepy to look at,” Glover says of his Bucket Listing tour. “Knoxville believes that the older we get, the funnier it’s”—that in the future Dangerous Grandpa and the opposite prosthetics-enabled aged characters featured in Jackass can simply be the precise geriatric solid. Glover is “not so certain.”

With the meticulous dedication Glover as soon as put into chronicling his self-destruction on video, he’s establishing a miniature empire to flee to as soon as he’s accomplished with all this. The Wild Experience! podcast, YouTube movies with names like “My Ten Worst Stunt Accidents” and “Breaking Down Each Drug I Ever Did,” the merch distribution, plans for an animal-sanctuary eco-lodge and perhaps a tattoo store. “I’m not that nice at giving tattoos, however I’m shockingly higher than you’ll think about,” he says. “And the truth is there’s fairly loopy demand for a shitty tattoo from Steve-O. I’m conscious about considering of how to help myself with out being an consideration whore.”

steveo jalapenos over eyes

The star relaxes in a masks with jalapeños over his eyes.

Rafael Rios

To get to this oasis, Glover has mapped out what he calls a “delusional imaginative and prescient.” First, Jackass director Tremaine will watch The Bucket Listing and agree to assist him current it to Netflix, which is able to purchase and distribute it, enabling Glover to play his subsequent exhibits in arenas. “That felt grandiose and form of loopy, however I can’t assist it,” he says of dreaming aloud of one thing on that scale. His closing outing would be the Gone Too Far tour and can function, amongst different stunts, Glover receiving breast implants (“large, bushy man titties,” as he says); getting a penis tattooed over his eyebrow; and having a bullet shot by means of his open jaw, which is able to trigger comedy “purists” like Marc Maron to take him significantly as a stand-up. Then he’ll lastly be free from the blessed lure of being Steve-O: producing sufficient consideration to meet his primal want however in a manner that retains him from garnering the esteem he actually craves. It’s a problem he was acutely aware of earlier than it ever got here up; in an unpublished memoir he wrote whereas serving a ten-day sentence for a DUI in 1996, the unfamous 21-year-old neatly penciled, “They name me Steve-O. I’m fascinated about switching again to Steve Glover, as a result of now I’ve form of begun a profession and I don’t know if I need a nickname once I’m well-known.”

maybe the more i grow maybe i just want to get out

After I gently level out that his manner out of searching for consideration is to get the eye of a significant leisure company, the highest tier of stand-up comedians, and a wholly new and far bigger viewers, Glover takes it in. “I agree,” he says. “There’s one thing inherently paradoxical about my pitch.”

Wright, Glover’s fiancée, says she informed him, “You’ve already confirmed your price within the leisure business. Your work isn’t company pushed, so it’s not stunning if it doesn’t occur. On the identical time, you don’t want them. You don’t want validation from anyone. You and all of the Jackass guys did this factor: You created this style that no one else had ever accomplished. And since you guys created it, you might be that legacy. That’s by no means going to vary.” (Wright additionally informed me Glover is not going to be capturing a gun into his mouth.)

steve lux and wendy in peru

Glover, Lux Wright, and Wendy in Peru.


Glover calls me a couple of days after our time in D. C. to make clear the plan. “I think about a time, say, 5 years down the highway, the place I’ve accomplished my factor,” he says. “I’ve now had my faux boobs after which gotten them eliminated. I’ve had the dick on my brow, and I’ve gotten it lasered off. I’ve gone again to my present establishment: a deteriorated man pushing 50 years previous. And perhaps all of it labored out the best way I assumed; perhaps I actually hit that large dwelling run I used to be on the lookout for. Then I’m able of claiming, ‘Okay, do I actually wish to maintain attempting to lift the bar?’ ” Although no accomplishment has ever satiated him previously, he thinks the reply can be no.

Whereas we’re on the cellphone, I inform him I obtained in contact together with his sixth-grade instructor, the one who’d provide you with the evaluation Glover has repeated so many occasions. The one who wrote the story Glover all the time tells about himself: “Socially, Steve’s try and impress his friends ceaselessly has had the other impact.” I quoted the Mrs. Iacuessa of round 35 years in the past to the present-day Mrs. Iacuessa. She was shocked. She wouldn’t have mentioned that to a sixth grader! Moreover, she’d adored Steve. “He was beginning to resolve who he was and what he needed to be,” she mentioned. “He had the largest smile. He was a boy!” Then I reminded her of the second a part of the report-card notice, which Glover doesn’t quote in interviews. “Maybe if he had extra empathy . . .” she wrote.

steveo 5th grade

Glover in fifth grade.


steveo 6th grade

Glover in sixth grade.


Mrs. Iacuessa responded that I ought to ask Glover about his father, a retired packaged-foods and tobacco government who traveled together with his household around the globe after which left them in bigger and bigger properties as he went on longer and longer enterprise journeys. Whereas he was away, Glover’s mom started saying she was sick and staying in her bed room to get drunk, ultimately telling the household she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and that she was present process chemotherapy. It was a lie.

I requested Mrs. Iacuessa what particularly I ought to inquire about Glover’s dad, and she or he replied with one phrase: “his anger towards Steve as a younger lad.”

I inform Glover what she mentioned and posit a idea: What if the factor that had acted as one thing between a profession blueprint and doomsday prophecy wasn’t ever meant to be both? What if Glover wasn’t even speculated to learn the message? What if his instructor had been attempting to assist him by nudging Glover’s lone succesful guardian, a person whose absence created a black gap of want and who turned indignant when his son crammed the vacancy by appearing out to get consideration?

steveo mud bath

“There’s completely nothing that I intend to attempt to disguise,” Glover says about his strategy to fame.

Rafael Rios

“It’s form of piercing to listen to,” Glover says quietly. He pauses for his solely break in speech in any of our interactions. “That’s fairly, fairly heavy.”

We speak a bit of extra. In regards to the guide, about Glover’s father, whom he’s now shut sufficient with to have him take part capturing faux semen out of a number of dildos at an effigy of Johnny Knoxville—the 2 males Glover fears shedding probably the most, certain by a simulation of bukkake. Then Glover contemplates the form of consideration this text will convey. His publicist warned him, amongst different issues, to not take his dick out in entrance of the Males’s Well being pictures crew. “For the entire publicist’s considerations, like ‘Oh, watch out, you’re on the report, they’re all the time going to be tremendous good, after which they’re simply gonna write . . . .’” He trails off, indicating all of the unflattering potential tales one may inform about Steve-O. “And I used to be like, ‘Cool, man. Nice. There’s completely nothing that I intend to attempt to disguise.’” Glover isn’t able to cease exposing himself simply but.

This story seems within the March 2022 concern of Males’s Well being.

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