By Josh Evans
You know Steve-O as the skinny, affable guy who seems the most eager of the Jackass crew to shove things into his body. But comedy fans are going to have to get used to him on the nation’s comedy stages. The man has just announced a country-wide stand-up comedy tour and if he has anything to say about it, this will not be a one-time thing.
We recently chatted with the Jackass, himself about how he’s paying his stand-up comedy dues, his new show and book and much more. Check it out!
If you look at the trajectory of most comedians’ careers, they generally start with stand-up and then move into TV and movie work (if, at all), but for you it’s the other way around. Why are moving into stand-up now?
Well, I first started doing stand-up like four years ago, so it’s not entirely new for me. I guess in short, I can say that breaking bones and shoving things up my ass isn’t getting any easier; I’ve been really consciously making an effort to evolve into more traditional comedy. Also I think that with stand-up comedy, being able to relate personal experience is pretty important. I think that jokes tend to be a lot funnier when there’s an element of truth to them, and my life has been utterly ridiculous.
I also think it’s important to not take yourself too seriously, and that’s something I’ve always been pretty good at, so I really just feel like stand-up makes sense for me. So I relate personal experience that’s just really ridiculous. I think everything about my situation is ridiculous, and it really lends itself to comedy. So I’ve been working on it really hard, man, and I understand that a lot of people are wondering what the fuck I’m doing in comedy clubs, but I’m there, man, and it’s my intention to really prove myself as a stand-up comic. I can assure people that come to see me that I’ll be doing stand-up as well as some wild and stupid stuff. Overall, I think everyone’s going to be pretty pleased regardless of what they come for, and I think that I’m going to really surprise the people who are doubting me as a comic.
So it’s obviously really important to you to keep the fan base that you have but also increase that to people who like more traditional stand-up?
Yeah, that’s exactly right. I did six shows in Marco Island; that was my first like truly professional engagement, and it just went super well, man. I’m so stoked.
That’s good to hear.
Yeah, I’m up to like 30 minutes of material, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
So you’re still working on new material for shows?
Yeah, always. I don’t think anybody ever stops working on material, you know? It’s almost impossible not to.
Is there anyone you see in stand-up comedy that you take inspiration from or anyone that you personally enjoy?
Well, I hate to sound like a namedropper, but the one guy who’s really helped me lately is Dane Cook. A few months ago, I stumbled into an interview that Dane Cook was doing. I met him, and I told him that I wanted to get into more conventional comedy, and he said, ‘Yeah dude, come by the LA Improv, and I’ll put you up.’ And we set a time and it gave me about a week, and I spent that whole week just writing my ass off, and I had like sessions with like four different comics I know to go over what I had written. I went to an open mic night like two nights in a row, and then I went and I met Dane Cook at the LA Improv and went up two comics after Sarah Silverman and immediately before Dane.
(ed. note: Steve-O unofficially began his tour at Carolines in NYC earlier this year; check out the video below).
Then right after Dane got off we sat down together, and he gave me notes, and I remember being pretty pleased. He said, ‘I’m not sending you back to the drawing board.’ That was a really good, a really promising, thing, and then after that, I remember—that was on a Thursday night I think, or Wednesday night—and that weekend we were at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, and we did the same thing. It’s just so killer, man.
But who do I love, man? Joe Rogan I think is really great, and I think that maybe more than other people I would compare the style of jokes that I tell maybe more to Joe Rogan, just because what I’ve seen from him is generally pretty vulgar. I’m not even trying to pretend that my shit’s not filthy and vulgar. I’m calling my tour the “Too Much Information Tour.” I was over on the Howard Stern Show promoting Jackass 3D, and I told him that I’m really doing this stand-up comedy, and I remember telling Howard Stern, I said, ‘Dude, get me a gig here in New York.’ This is just over one month ago, and I wound up Friday night at the Comedy Cellar and that went great too. I don’t know, man, there’s like different people, all these club owners like Jamie [Masada] — from the Laugh Factory and — over at the Comedy Cellar. They’ve been real happy with what’s going on.
It’s pretty crazy too. The shows I did on Marco Island – because my shit is fucking filthy, like if I were to tell you about the kind of jokes that I’m telling, it’s just like a lot of really graphic descriptions of how crooked my dick is as a result of jacking off and how fast… I basically just paint a picture of me as a fucking filthy man whore who performs really shittily in bed and it’s just crazy. When you’ve got some notoriety like Jackass has afforded me, it’s just ridiculous how women out there will put out for you.
And my life, I’m just truthful about my life. On Marco Island, I did these shows, and at my last show, there was this couple that was celebrating their 40th anniversary, and when I saw them cracking up the whole time I was like, ‘Man, this shit is really working.’
So is there’s anything you wouldn’t talk about onstage?
No, I really just let it ride. If it’s funny, then I’ll share it. I have yet to talk about the time that tranny sucked my dick, but that’s just waiting to come out.
Well, you know, if it gets laughs…
So much of my career has really been like a full frontal delivery effort to rid the world of homophobia, so why wouldn’t I want to talk about the tranny sucking my dick?
So is there a message in your comedy?
I don’t know. I feel like if people show up and come to my show kind of doubting or wondering what it’s gonna be like, I think that they’ll leave thinking, ‘Alright, there’s really nobody else out there that could have told those jokes.’ What I bring to stand-up comedy is just unique. It’s my experience. I think there’s a lot of curiosity about what I have to say about a lot of the things people have seen me do on television and in movies. It’s not all just about coming real fast and having a crooked ass dick, you know. A lot of it is; it’s exploiting fame and some social commentary on this fucked up society we live in, the downward spiral that we’re in.
If you keep planning on pursuing comedy, is there any future with another Jackass movie?
I wouldn’t be surprised, man. I know that everyone’s pretty intent on doing it. I’m not ruling it out. I’m not saying I’m doing it.
You did say you can’t do that kind of shit forever.
But stand-up comedy you can do for years and years.
Yeah, I’m definitely putting my real time and effort into the stand-up right now. And I’d love to not have to do the Jackass shit anymore, but I’m obviously not quite there yet.
So it’ll be an easy transition for people that follow you?
Definitely, and I’m mindful that certain people are gonna come see me because of what they know me for, and at this point I definitely feel like I owe some antics to those people beyond just stand-up.
Is the ultimate goal to change your image and become a traditional stand-up?
I don’t think changing my image, but like I evolve in my art. But it’s not like I’m going to be finding different shit funny, you know. I don’t think I’m changing my sense of humor at all.
You’ve famously went to clown college. Do you take any inspiration from that for your shows?
Sure, man. I didn’t get a contract with the circus, which we were all sort of competing for at clown college. All I came away with was bitching-ass bar tricks. And there’s definitely a portion of my routine that I’ll be doing onstage that’s devoted to helping the unemployed drunk alcoholics— training them in the ways of drinking for free for the rest of their lives in bars. That’s like something that’s pretty huge, because I remember when I learned these secrets at clown college, that’s what it was, it was how to drink for free for the rest of my life once I didn’t get a contract. Man, that shit kept me drunk for years.
So is there anything else that people should know about the future of your career?
I’m working on a book that’s set to come out in June of next year. I don’t know if people really need to know that. I’m going to be filming with this production company that’s working with me to develop a television series. And the concept of that would be do to, it’s basically to just go around and spending five and six days in each of the locations that I go to on this comedy tour. I feel like it would be criminal not to get like an episode of the television series out of each location.
And the way I picture doing it at this point is to set up a fairly massive cattle call audition for people to come to, and I’ll sort of be sitting at the table checking out what people want to do, you know, almost an American Idol meets Jackass kind of format. Because everywhere I’ve ever gone since Jackass started, there’s always been people saying, ‘Yeah man, you guys are pretty crazy, man, but I know this guy, he’s crazier than shit, man, you gotta put him on your show.’
And I just feel like it just makes sense. I want to see what people have in the way of unusual talents and stunts and like ideas for gags, you know, and I’ll have like plenty of ideas of my own. And where it’s impossible for me to go around doing a lot of the man on the street stuff without getting recognized, it’ll be a lot of fun for me to deploy different dipshits and send them into various traps and just do all kinds of shit. It’s just going to be a lot of fun, man. I’m gonna raise hell everywhere I go, and I just sort of, with life on the road and the hell that I raise, it’s gonna make for a really compelling television series.
Are any of your live shows going to be recorded for either TV or DVD?
I think that it makes sense to do that at some point, in the not too distant or somewhat distant future. Like I said, what I’m comfortable with at this point is like 30 minutes, and that’s kind of been growing pretty quickly. I don’t know, we’ll see what happens, but I think that’s going to be a natural step in the process.
For more info on Steve-O and to check out his complete tour schedule, check out his official site.