AS TOLD TO JONATHAN VALANIA Steve-O of Jackass fame will be performing nightly at Helium Comedy Club from July 16th-19th, so we got him on the horn for one of our patented Phawker heart-to-hearts. DISCUSSED: Clown college, cocaine, stilt-walking, sobriety, his father being president of Coca Cola Brazil, things he’s put up his ass, suicide, Samuel Jackson, the permanent damage of his Jackassery, Ryan Dunne & Amy Schumer, psychiatric lockdown, veganism, kindness to animals and the importance of flossing after every meal.
PHAWKER: So, you moved around a lot as a kid. Your dad was actually president of the South American division of Pepsi-Cola.
STEVE-O: My dad was the president of Pepsi-Cola Brazil. We moved there when I was six months old. I spoke my first words in Portuguese in Brazil because I was essentially raised by live-in maids. That’s what my dad called them — I’m like, ‘they were servants, face it.’
PHAWKER: You graduated from clown college, what did you learn there?
STEVE-O: I had never walked on stilts before. I never juggled clubs before. They’re not called juggling pins, they’re called juggling clubs… [talking to someone he’s with] Indianapolis monument. I thought I can climb up a little bit, I’m not going to get to far but it’s definitely worth a try...[talking to me] So I learned how to walk stilts, I learned how to juggle clubs, I learned how to unicycle…[talking to someone he’s with] I think there’s definitely a video to be shot right here. I think there’s a potential publicity move right here….[talking to me] I’m in Indianapolis and there’s the Indianapolis monument. I mean it’s a veritable fucking Eiffel Tower over here.
PHAWKER: What are you thinking about doing?
STEVE-O: I might get on the news, who knows.
PHAWKER: What are you doing in Indianapolis?
STEVE-O: I am performing at Morty’s Comedy Joint.
PHAWKER: You are in the middle of your tour?
STEVE-O: Yeah. I like heating things up on my comedy tour, you know?
PHAWKER: What do you do when you’re on stage? Do you tell jokes or do you just set yourself on fire and shoot things out of your ass?
STEVE-O: I’m fucking hilarious when I’m on stage, yeah. I first tried standup eight years ago, now. I dabbled in it for a while but about four years ago I dove right in. I’ve been a touring headliner for three and a half years now. It’s pretty blue. I get pretty dirty with it. What’s important to me is I got to stick to the god damn truth. When I talk about getting my dick sucked by a transvestite, you best believe that happened.
PHAWKER: What lasting or permanent damage do you have from any of the Jackass stunts?
STEVE-O: Lasting or permanent damage in general is minimal unless you count fake teeth and tattoos. Terrible teeth and tattoos is about it.
PHAWKER: You have a full-size portrait of yourself tattooed across your back, don’t you?
STEVE-O: Yeah, I do.
PHAWKER: For that you deserve some kind of award or prison sentence. You’re also clean and sober these days. Do you think your addictions got out of control without the fame and the money that came with the success of Jackass?
STEVE-O: I don’t think I became an alcoholic/drug addict because of the fame and money. It’s a shitty thing to say, but I think being an alcoholic/drug addict might have helped bring the fame and money. It was definitely working for me for a while. Being as crazy as I was was definitely a bonus to get me a measure of the success I enjoyed. Then, at a certain point, it stopped working for me. It really turned on me. My buddies locked me up in a psychiatric ward and then I went to rehab. I went to a half-way house and was sober for 2 years. Now, it’s been almost 6 years. Fortunately, I was able to hold on to who I am. As a clean and sober guy, I still have the same sense of humor. I’m still just as much of an attention whore as I’ve ever been. I’m still a fcking maniac. I just don’t do drugs or drink.
PHAWKER: Last Jackass question. Is there another movie in the offing or is Jackass done?
STEVE-O: I think most of the guys believe that we have another Jackass movie in us. Is it going to happen? I don’t know. I think that it’s a possibility. As time goes on more and more I think — I don’t know man, I can’t say one way or the other.
PHAWKER: I think they only got better. I think the last one was the best one.
STEVE-O: Well, thanks man. I think that’s a nice thing to say. There were certainly elements about the last one that were an improvement. In my opinion, the 2nd one was fucking all time, but that’s just my opinion.
PHAWKER: At some point you went vegan, are you still?
STEVE-O: I was strictly vegan for 3 1/2 years. I have re-introduced fish into my diet. Other than that I steer clear from animal product.
PHAWKER: In the wake of your sobriety you’ve become a very public and persuasive critic of animal cruelty.
STEVE-O: The way we treat others is a reflection on how we feel about ourselves. People who treat other people like shit are not happy people. I think the happiest people you are going to meet are people who treat others well. When I say others, I like to include animals. There’s a saying in drug addict world, ‘we can’t think our way into right actions but we can act our way into right thinking’, which is kind of a mouth full. I just think that by changing the way that you treat others you re-arrange the way you feel about yourself. If they are positive changes then your life improves.
PHAWKER: Can you clear the air on the Ryan Dunn joke that Amy Schumer — who I think is hilarious — told at the Charlie Sheen roast? There was a big kerfuffle on social media about it but it was never clear to me whether you were offended or not?
STEVE-O: Well, it wasn’t a Ryan Dunn joke that Amy Schumer told. I mean she mentioned Dunn and the joke was ‘why couldn’t it have been Steve-O who died?’ I personally didn’t think that the joke was hilarious but it’s not something I think should have been such a big deal. Yeah I also think that Amy Schumer is hilarious. I super happy for the success that she’s having. She’s on fire and I’m really glad for her.
PHAWKER: What else is going on aside from the comedy thing right now. Do you have any TV or movie stuff in the offing.
STEVE-O: Yeah. I got a couple movie things going on. One is in its early stages but its a big project. I’m working on it. Another one is something I already did, which is exciting because I’m actually acting in the movie. You will see me acting with Samuel L. Jackson. There’s still not a release date yet, but it’s called Barely Lethal. There’s all this other stuff I’m working on. I’m working on producing a documentary as well. I find that pretty exciting.
PHAWKER: About what?
STEVE-O: I don’t want to give that away but it will be juicy. So, there’s that. Then on a day to day basis I have my YouTube videos that I’ve been having a lot of fun with. I never though that I would graduate from making films for Paramount Pictures and and you know, really focusing on YouTube videos and all, but I’ve been having a blast with it. I got tons of people watching my videos. I’m really glad that I’m doing that as well as all the other stuff.
STEVE-O: I would floss my fucking teeth every day for my whole life. I say that because there was one time when I was with all the Jackass guys and I got in the van and Wee-Man said ‘Dude, Steve-O, your breath is kickin’, your breath is gnarly’ and then Knoxville said ‘Saying that Steve-O has bad breath is like saying that Wee-Man is short.’ I think that people can really benefit from flossing. You can get a lot of bacteria out of your mouth. It causes that stinky odor. I wish I would have gotten to that sooner and I wish I would have maybe not broken as many teeth as I did. And I’ll add I wish I would have gotten clean after my international drug smuggling incident in Sweden in 2003 rather than waiting until 2008.
PHAWKER: Can you just explain that for people who may not know. You swallowed a condom full of what, marijuana?
STEVE-O: Yeah. Marijuana and hashish. I tied a condom in a knot, swallowed it, choked on it, while I was in Sweden and bragged to the press about what I had done and got arrested for international drug smuggling. I sat in jail for five days. While I was in jail for those five days, I made a little pact with myself that I wouldn’t do cocaine anymore. It lasted six months until I got back on cocaine and never did I ever slow down on any of the other substances that I was having problems with. I think that would have been an opportune time for me to get clean and sober. I wish I would have done that then. Leading up to that point I nailed down. I do not wish I gave up drugs and alcohol before May, 2003. It was a blast. If I could live my life on a loop for 6 months, it would be the first 6 months of 2003 — so enjoyable. That’s a fucked up thing to say because I was a terrible person but I had a lot of fun.
PHAWKER: What was the final straw that caused you to get clean and sober?
STEVE-O: Well that’s pretty well-documented. I’m just going to go ahead and say I ran into a Mark Wahlberg…I’m gonna see if I can get into a little bit of trouble right now.
PHAWKER: Like what?
STEVE-O: If anything happens I’m sure you’ll hear about it.