While the era of the traveling freak show may be over, the fascination with the weird and terrifying still runs strong in our red-blooded veins. If this were another time or place, Steve-O would have lived as a simple showman -- touring the nation with the circus, horrifying the populations of small towns and planting nightmares into the minds of children everywhere. Luckily, this is America where freaks rule the airwaves and reality TV is basically the only thing people watch. Thanks to his time on the show Jackass and the four movies also produced by the mega-stuntmen, Steve-O has puked his way into the hearts of young'uns everywhere.
After almost a decade of Jackass-ing, Steve-O is going on the road and focusing his energies toward perhaps the most self-debasing performance art, stand-up comedy. This weekend finds Steve-O at the San Jose Improv Theatre performing, "filthy comedy and stupid stunts" for young and old.
We spoke to Steve-O via telephone to ask him about his new career, his continued sobriety and, of course, his butthole.
How did you start dabbling in stand-up comedy?
I first tried out stand-up like six years ago. I got invited to a comedy club to do a crazy stunt, and I couldn't think of anything crazier than doing stand-up. People laughed! And I was like, pretty amazed by that.
Who do you find at your stand-up shows? Are the die-hard original Jackass fans the ones showing up, or are you finding a new, younger audience?
I see people who are genuinely elderly people ... and then I hear complaining like, "Why does it have to be 18 and over?!" It's all kinds of people, you know? There's something just sort of compelling about the misfortune of others. It's something that people really dig. I think that's why Jackass has been so popular. I think people who are fans of Jackass will have a really good time at my show.
Can you talk a bit about your relationship with pain? It seems like you have a different relationship with pain than normal humans. Is it a mind over matter kind of thing or do you just accept pain as a part of your life at this point?
It's not that I have a different relationship with pain. I think the reality is that I have an unreasonable hunger for attention, you know? I've just always had a desperate need for attention. I'm an attention whore. It's always been that way.
You have a lot of really supportive fans who are sober and are really proud of your sobriety.
I've been clean and sober for four and half years now. It's a pretty big deal.
For all the awful things you do to your body, you look pretty fit and healthy. Can you talk about your veganism and the things you do that are healing for your body, outside of your harmful professional life?
I would say I'm 100 percent vegan, but I eat an awful lot of pussy. I do yoga but you know, not like consistently. Right now, I'm surfing a lot. My right arm is in a lot better shape than my left, if you know what I mean.
(Side note: We did not know what he meant, until now. We're left-handed, give us a break.)
You are also hosting a new show, Killer Karaoke, premiering November 23 on TruTV. Since you're the host, it seems like your role is more mild than your previous television experience. Is hosting challenging in other ways?
I do a lot of wild stuff throughout the show. I mean, I'm the host but I definitely do a lot more than the average TV host. The whole point is for me to be, you know, for me to be kind of evolving, as a dude. My main priority was to keep the audience laughing ... it was rad. I was psyched to have a studio audience there.
Which was worse: snorting wasabi or running head-first into Mike Tyson's fist?
Wasabi wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it would be. To be clear, I dove into [Mike Tyson's] fist. Clearly the Mike Tyson stunt hurt a lot more. I had two black eyes and a broken nose.
And now, since this is for the perverts of San Francisco, can you please tell us the worst/most painful things you have put into your butthole.
The beer bong was probably the biggest one. I've done a lot of feeding animals with things in my butt ... as far as really opening up my ass growth, so to speak, that was all about the beer bong in Jackass 2.
Awesome. Well, we're looking forward to seeing your show this weekend! Is there anything else you'd like to tell people?
After all my shows, I stick around and take photos with everyone that wants one. That's really important to me to do that, I always stick around.
There you have it, folks. The world's most loveable stuntman/freakshow/comedian. Check him out this weekend at San Jose Improv and get your picture taken with a man who can puke on command and fit a beer bong into his butt!