From its first dates in Philadelphia (Nov 29, Keswick Theatre), Baltimore (Nov 30, The Lyric) and Manhattan (Dec 1, Town Hall) to its final gig in Santa Rosa, Cali (Jan 29, Luther Burbank Center), the “Bucket List Tour” does not sound like any kind-of last gasp; certainly not Steve-O, our favorite Jackass-turned-stand-up comic, despite its doomy tour’s title.
Instead, with his new, just-published second memoir, A Hard Kick In The Nuts: What I’ve Learned From a Lifetime Of Terrible Decisions, his current Wild Ride podcast with its millions of views, and his co-starring role in 2022’s in-theater hit, Jackass Forever, Steve-O – real name Stephen Glover – looks as if he’s gearing up, cat-like or in Doctor Who fashion, for an entirely new life. With that, Steve-O’s multi-mediated stand-up comedy “Bucket List” excursion is but one more rung on a ladder that proves his lust for life to be full and forward moving.Before the start of his “Bucket List” stand-up comedy tour, Steve-O spoke to Paradise Media’s A.D. Amorosi about the ins-and-outs of his long, still-growing career.
A.D. Amorosi: You have certainly moved on and moved up from how we first got to know you – a la all-things Jackass – and yet, you were apt to return to the well when performing in the likes of Jackass Forever? How does that return make you feel? Like Springsteen playing the hits when he has new music to sell? Like a return to old friends and thrills?
Steve-O: I think I was more shocked than anyone to learn that Jackass Forever was going to happen after ten years had passed since the last movie. I was thrilled about the news, had a blast shooting the movie, and have found that it has helped me in the other avenues I have pursued over the last ten years. It has been awesome.
A.D. Amorosi: What was inherently humorous about, as you so eloquently put it – getting a hard kick in the nuts? Why do we laugh at other people’s unutterable pain? Why do you laugh?
Steve-O: I have a theory that we often laugh at guys being in pain because of genetics and hormones– it is built into the male DNA to be providers and protectors and, as such, guys are inherently expected to be tough and “macho”. Given that biological dynamic, it is permissible, even natural, to enjoy seeing men failing and in pain. I believe that what made Jackass so successful is our willingness to fail, and look “uncool” doing it. There is something endearing about being able to not take yourself too seriously.
A.D. Amorosi: Is it fair to say that the more you began NOT to laugh at that constant level of self-torture is how you became a stand-up comedian? To channel what you were processing physically into something vocal and with equal emotion?
Steve-O: The reason I became a stand-up comedian is simple– I’m an attention whore. In the beginning, I recognized that, if I was able to establish myself in that space, there was major potential in being able to do stand-up for far longer than the more high-impact physical comedy I first became known for. Over the course of the last twelve years since I began touring on the comedy circuit, I gradually developed a multi-media approach to my live show, which resulted in all my worlds converging. Now, when you come to a live Steve-O show, you are going to see even crazier stunts than Jackass would ever be allowed to show – really, the show is not even allowed at any theaters in Philadelphia, for example, which is which it’s just outside the city – and it’s all presented in a format of live comedy which I’ve spent the last twelve years developing. The amount of work I have put into this show is evident, and I’m unbelievably thrilled about it.
A.D. Amorosi: Does the vibe of your comedy now – smart as it can be – come at all from the fact that you are not from here, but Great Britain? Do you feel any distant affinity for the Brits’ sense of humor over that of the Colonies?
Steve-O: I don’t know that I consider myself “from” anywhere. I grew up in five different countries, am a citizen of three of them, and have traveled the entire world for much of my life. Because of its creativity, I think Jackass is arguably as “smart” as it is “dumb”, and it certainly has had global appeal. Having personally performed live comedy in more than a dozen countries, I cannot say I find the sensibility of my audience to be very different from region to region. While Jackass and Steve-O is not for everyone, there are people who enjoy it all over the world.
A.D. Amorosi: Is there anything that you wish to add about how being sober for 14 years opens your head and expands your senses beyond being able to make comedy solely in the physical-harming sense? I know, for example that you have stated in the past that you cannot watch (the documentary) Steve-O: Demise and Rise due to its copious self-use of drink and drugs.
Steve-O: Alcoholism/addiction is the only disease which, when treated, makes people into better versions of themselves than they ever were before they became sick with it. Those of us who achieve long term sobriety are really the luckiest people, in my view. Aside from all of the incomprehensible demoralization and tragic wreckage my active addiction brought about, I was creatively crippled by the end of my run with drugs and alcohol. Of course, it took me more than a couple years to become comfortable in my own skin and really find my voice in sobriety, but, once I did that and began to produce my own content for YouTube and all the other major social media platforms, my potential genuinely skyrocketed. I am far more creative today than I ever was before I got clean and sober, and I’ve been able to build a massive audience for the ridiculous ideas I come up with.
A.D. Amorosi: Do you feel as if, regarding your stand-up, that much of what you’re doing on Wild Ride, even though the interviews, is working out your routines – the conversation, intimate aspects of stand-up – or is it all another bag completely?
Steve-O: There have certainly been ideas/premises and jokes for my stand-up which were born during podcasts, but not often. I don’t view my Wild Ride podcast as an exercise in working out routines, but I definitely see it as a process of evolving my ability to communicate with others. Candidly, I still have a lot of work to do in that department, but meaningful progress has been made.
A.D. Amorosi: How and why did the podcast process evolve from wanting to do SOMETHING into what it has become?
Steve-O: I was very conflicted about the idea of starting my podcast, because so many people have one, and I viscerally dreaded the idea of asking celebrities to make guest appearances. On the other hand, I expected that it would help me to continue to build my online audience (and sell tickets on my tour), so I came up with an approach I considered a worthy compromise: a mobile studio in a conversion van. When I reach out to book guests, I make it clear that I can bring the studio to them “wherever and wherever is most convenient” for them, and that makes it much easier for me to ask. My media team just uploaded episode #134, meaning that we are creeping up on three straight years of consistent, weekly episodes and I honestly never imagined it could have been anywhere near as successful and well-received as it has been.
A.D. Amorosi: I don’t know that I would consider you to be a socially conscious comic or a political comic despite your activism when it comes to animal rights (double bravo). How has the last few years of whatever mess that we have been in affected what you’ll say on stage during the Bucket List Tour? What is on your mind beyond the currency of our civic horror?
Steve-O: I don’t mind admitting that this is one area where I will approach my comedy slightly differently in different countries. One thing that will always be a part of my show is my love for animals. My touring team has begun a practice of advancing our show with animal shelters in cities we are headed to, and arranging to promote them by bringing an adoptable dog on stage with me during my show. On our recent run in Canada, we helped to find permanent homes for fourteen dogs, and that makes me incredibly happy.
A.D. Amorosi: So, what is interactive and multi-media about the Bucket List Tour? And it sounds so final – why that title?
Steve-O: For my first comedy special, “Guilty As Charged”, I did stand-up and performed a number of stunts live onstage. Then, as I put together the show to follow that up, it occurred to me that enough of the stories I was basing the act on had unfolded on camera, that I could add the footage in post-production to illustrate the comedy as I performed it. That’s how my second comedy special, “Gnarly”, became a multi-media project. For my follow up to Gnarly, I really wanted to bring the multi-media component on tour with me, rather than add it in after the fact. I also wanted to stop “living in the past” by telling old stories, so I decided to film new stuff that was genuinely crazier than ever and make a new live show out of that. I knew right away that I had a bunch of ideas which precisely fit the bill, but they were ideas that were so ridiculous, they were never actually intended to happen. I could have just as easily called it “The Bottom Of The Barrel” list, but “The Bucket List” had a better ring to it. The reason for calling it that isn’t a morbid one– it’s not that I expect to die anytime soon, it’s that I recognize I’m running out of time to be doing these kinds of high-impact stunts. I thought this was going to be my “last licks at raising the bar for crazy”.
A.D. Amorosi: After having audiences kinda-sorta getting to know you throughout the last several decades, what is the Steve-O motto/mission statement for this current moment, and why that?
Steve-O: I have always been an attention-whore, and I really like to fancy myself a “world class” one, at that. All I ever used to care about is being noticed, remembered, and notable enough to have video footage of me matter after I was dead. I always used to look at the video camera with a sort of religious reverence– I saw it as my way to “live forever”. Since then, I can’t say I’m any less of an attention whore, but I can say I’m less concerned with what opinions are of me after I’m gone than I am with having a tangible legacy that actually does some good. My fiancée and I have a vision of creating an animal sanctuary which has its own revenue streams to make it self-sufficient. I want to become successful enough to employ hundreds of people to take care of thousands of animals, and I really love the idea of that being something that outlives me, along with all that silly video footage.
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