EXCLUSIVE: Steve-O has never shied away from self-deprecation or self-harm for that matter — given the lengths he’ll go to in order to pull off an epic stunt — but he’s happy to live to tell the stories.
The “Jackass” legend – whose real name is Stephen Gilchrist Glover – has a penchant for identifying promotion-rich moments. He did just that on Aug. 13, when he duct-taped himself to a billboard right smack in the middle of Los Angeles to promote his comedy special “Gnarly” and had to be freed by the local fire department.
The MTV star spoke to Fox News about his decadeslong Hollywood career after earning a treasured diploma from the Ringling Bros. clown school that hung on a wall of a tattered two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment he shared at the time with his roommate, TV producer and U.S. Marine Steve Schleinitz, in the heart of Hollywood, Calif.
Steve-O is seen attached to a billboard in promotion of his new special “Gnarly” on August 13, 2020, in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
“Not a day goes by where I’m not astounded by A, the fact that I’m alive – and B, the fact that I’m thriving,” Steve-O said during our conversation about his role in the upcoming movie “Guest House,” about an engaged couple who purchase their dream home only to be met with a party-animal who refuses to leave their guest house.
“I just can’t believe it sometimes,” he shared. “It’s so crazy.”
Last month’s promotional stunt was not the first time the 46-year-old funnyman and producer had been duct-taped off the ground. (“Gnarly” is currently available to stream on his website.)
“The first time I got duct-taped to a wall, we went through so many [rolls of tape], it was absurd,” Steve-O said when asked how many it took to fasten himself to the billboard. “I don’t know the exact number, but I would guess probably about 30 or 40 rolls. The billboard one was more about the harness and the rigging than the duct tape. We actually had a prefabricated sort of blanket made out of duct tape, which we just kind of put over me.”
Steve-O famously appeared on the “Jackass Edition” of “MTV Cribs” in October 2002, which also featured Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and the late Ryan Dunn. During the episode, Steve-O showcased the skateboarding ramp he and his pals built in the kitchen and the living room and said he was “one noise complaint away from being evicted.”
The reality star said he made it a point to never prepare for any prank or stunt as doing so would spoil the often very painful surprise.
“There’s been very little preparation for all kinds of things and I think that as a general rule, I have gone out of my way to avoid preparation for perhaps most of the stuff,” he explained. “Like, I did that show ‘Wildboyz’ for four seasons and belligerently refused to see what the production schedule was. I didn’t want to know anything that was going to happen until I showed up to shoot it, which I’m pretty proud of. I went into every shoot blind.”
Times have changed for the lifelong prankster. Steve-O said his longevity could be attributed to not only his hustle to be different from the mainstream, but the fact that technology and the entertainment business itself has seamlessly shifted in his favor.
“I suppose that from the very beginning of my career, I’ve been in the business of ‘short-attention-span theater’ and that’s kind of how the media has played out is that people’s bandwidth for paying attention has gotten a lot smaller,” Steve-O explained. “It’s either they’ve got like a 10-second attention span or almost an endless one, you know?”
He continued: “People will listen to a three-hour-long podcast, or it’s got to be sometimes TikTok but, yeah, it’s crazy. It’s a fast-paced world, a very fast news cycle and yeah, man, at my core – through and through – I’m an attention whore and this is exactly the kind of culture that I aspire to.”
Asked if he’s mustered an appreciation for the fact that no one has lived their life quite like Steve-O, the “Wildboyz” alum launched into a story about the time icon comedian Dave Chappelle told him that due to his off-the-wall persona and antics, he had earned himself “diplomatic immunity” from any repercussions that could come his way.
“I think we can safely say that’s true,” he said looking back on his whirlwind life. “I love it, man, I really love it. One time I remember saying to Dave Chappelle that I thought that I might be in danger because I went on a [50 Cent] G-Unit rap mixtape and I joined in on insulting and verbally attacking these scary rappers who were beefing with the G-Unit and Dave Chappelle told me, ‘You’re Steve-O. You’ve got diplomatic immunity.’”
“That was something that was really special to here at the time,” Steve-O recalled. “And I don’t know that anybody has diplomatic immunity across the board but I think the spirit of what I do is in the right place, you know? And I’ve been given a lot of leeways to be pretty wild and crazy because I have that spirit.”
“Guest House” is helmed by Sam Macaroni and “Boondock Saints” director Troy Duffy. The project also stars Pauley Shore, Mike Castle, Aimee Teegarden, Billy Zane, Charlotte McKinney, Erik Griffin, Felipe Esparza and Bobby Lee.
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“I just want people to kick back on the couch and have a good laugh during this time while watching this one,” said Steve-O.
The film will be made available for digital and on-demand on Sept. 4.
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