Interview with Steve-O from "Jackass"
When most people are planning their work day, they don’t have to decide whether to go through a car wash on the windshield or get shocked by an electric eel. But most people aren’t Steve-O, the unflappable “Jackass” and “WildBoyz” stuntman that has made a living out of subjecting himself to intolerable levels of pain. With “Jackass: Number Two” due in theaters September 22, Bullz-Eye caught up with Steve-O as he performed the most terrifying part of his job: dealing with the press.
Steve-O: No way, what’s up, David, bro man, dude, homes, buddy, pal, amigo, dude!
Bullz-Eye: (Laughs) How the hell are ya?
S-O: Aw man, David, don’t ask me about what I did with Lindsay Lohan and Johnny Knoxville last night. Leave that out of this, all right? (Laughs)
BE: Just make sure you were wearing protection, dude.
S-O: Aw, no, dude, it didn’t come to that. It was just more about video cameras, really.
BE: I’ll look for it on YouTube. So which is more painful, getting bitten on the ass by a giant crab, or dealing with (the media) all day?
S-O: WOW, what a great question, you know? And thank you for asking that, because coconut crabs to the butt cheeks actually hurt less than the over-asked question, (adopts mock-dumb voice) “What was the most painful stunt?” You know what’s the most painful thing is fucking answering that stupid question again. It’s apples and oranges, man. To answer your question, yeah, I hate the question more than the crabs.
BE: I’ll make sure to cut that out of my questions later on. How many times have you been to the hospital since “Jackass” started?
S-O: Well, let’s just say that if each hospital I’ve been to since “Jackass” (started) had me on their Christmas list, there’d be, like, a lot of mail, dude.
BE: Your background is as a clown, right?
S-O: Yeah, before I was on TV or movies, I graduated from Ringling Brothers’ Clown College in the class of ’97.
BE: The last (Ringling Brothers) class, if I read correctly.
S-O: That is exactly correct, they closed the clown college, it’s now defunct. And there was way more money (to be made) on cruise ships. So I became a circus clown on cruise ships, but got fired when my contract ended. Then I joined a flea market circus, where I was kidnapped by MTV and became a television/movie star. (Laughs)
BE: So how did you wind up being the voodoo doll of the group?
S-O: You know, dude, that’s why I didn’t get a contract after clown college, because they said, “Hey, this isn’t a guy who’s funny. This is a guy who’s tragic. This is a stuntman, he ain’t a comedian.” But over the years I’ve developed this sense of humor that’s become very dangerous. I’m actually funny, and I’m looking forward to a time where I don’t have to break bones or shove anything up my butt.
BE: Had you guys always planned to make a second “Jackass” movie?
S-O: You know what it was, Knoxville moved on to become a $10 million per movie lead man, and he had no reason on earth to continue with the “Jackass” antics. So we had two spinoff series, “WildBoyz” and “Viva Le Bam.” On “WildBoyz,” we kidnapped Knoxville, took him to Russia, and he’s trying to get bitten by an attack dog while being shot by a 9mm (handgun) that has rubber bullets coming out of it. And our director simply said, “Yo, Knoxville, dude, if you still have this in you, let’s not do it for digital cable, dude. Let’s kill you on the silver screen.” So Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine got together and said, “All right, if we can write up enough ideas to make sure we make a better movie than the first one, then let’s do it.” And when it was proposed to me, I said, “Well, I ain’t ever been afraid.”
BE: Did you say Spike Jonze?
S-O: Sure, Spike Jonze is a co-creator of “Jackass.” There was one phone call from Spike Jonze that allowed us assholes to become famous around the world.
BE: How long did it take to shoot the movie?
S-O: We have this horrible habit of wrapping, but not being done filming. (Laughs) So I’m gonna say they take six to eight months.
BE: How much time off do you give your body to recover after shooting one of these movies?
S-O: My body doesn’t have to worry about recovering. I don’t care what shape my body is in; I have to perform, though the performances fluctuate depending on the state of my body.
BE: I was going to ask you three questions about certain types of stunts, but it looks as though you’re sick of answering the one about which one is the most painful.
S-O: If you were to ask me what hurt the most…dude, just Google “Steve-O biggest injury.” It’s old news, man.
BE: Well, what’s the scariest stunt you’ve ever done?
S-O: Dude, scary, once again, is apples and oranges, man. There wasn’t just one moment; my life has been stages of increasing fear, and let me just say that showing up for work on “Jackass 2” was so horrifying that I actually wished that I could just perform my duties while induced into a coma, and woken up for the premiere. Going to work got so fucking horrifying.
BE: Personally, my vote is you doing a one and a half off the Olympic high dive on stilts.
S-O: Ah, yeah, it was actually a three-quarter. But don’t worry, dude, I got you a fire-breathing double pump lift on the new movie. From way higher. (Note: I have no idea what that means.)
BE: Tell me about a stunt that you guys tried to do but MTV said, “Absolutely not, no way.”
S-O: Ah, man, dude, now you’re asking for cans of worms, dude. I’ve got them all over the place.
BE: Well, the first one off the top of your head.
S-O: How about, Fuck MTV for all the footage they, fuckin’, said I was allowed to film. For example, they said, “All right, you can go get Steve-O branded” – you know, with a hot iron, like a fucking cow – and then, when the footage is submitted to Standards & Practices, their response is, “We said you could brand Steve-O, but we didn’t say anything about sizzling, burning flesh.” I got a heart-shaped brand over my heart, which I thought was kind of cool, just to symbolize the fact that love hurts. But the world doesn’t know how I got that Goddamn brand, so fuck MTV for all that shit they wouldn’t run. That’s why we went to the silver screen, man. Rated R, dude, (we) do whatever the fuck we want.
BE: So there was nothing that they turned down. They would let you shoot it, and then…
S-O: They’re not going to be all that happy that I told you about why I have so many burns all over my body that were never allowed to be seen by the public. But dude, that’s the last can of worms, dude. Next question.
BE: What else are you working on?
S-O: I’ve got two movies coming out this fall. I’ve got my own shoe line, I’ve got a clothing line. I’m going on a world tour starting in January.
BE: What does that entail?
S-O: Comedy gangsta rap album. I don’t know if it’s as funny as Kevin Federline’s rap album.
BE: It couldn’t possibly be.
S-O: Well, at least I’m trying to make it funny.
BE: Well, that’s the difference, right there.
S-O: That guy is taking himself seriously, rapping about Ferraris that Britney Spears bought him. (Laughs) I’m trying to rap about premature ejaculation…
BE: Subjects that are close to your heart?
S-O: Yeah, I believe that a true comic is a guy that can make fun of himself. And let’s just say that I’m a comedian.
BE: That’s all I got. Anything else you want to talk about?
S-O: I want to add that “Jackass 2” is, like…we waited four years, we wrote up the most ferocious shit, that we’ve got 40 minutes of deleted scenes.
BE: Oh, my.
S-O: And most of my scenes are part of that 40 minutes, so…I mean, dude, this movie is so much Goddamn better than the first one, and the first one cost $6 million and made $60 million domestic ($64 million, to be precise). That’s ten times its money, not even including international (box office) and not including the millions of DVD’s. And sequels make more money, and this movie’s better. I’m not in it for the money, man; I want to live forever, dude. And the way that I want to live forever is on “Jackass 2,” man. It’s a good-ass movie, it beats the hell out of the first one.
BE: Well, I know you’re running behind schedule…
S-O: Hey, dude, hey man, your first question was a fucking doozy, and I thank you for it.
BE: I’m glad I amused you.
S-O: I ain’t gay, but you sound like a hot guy.
BE: (Laughs) I’ll tell my wife you said that.S-O: Aaaaaaaahhhh haaaaaaaa!