LEXINGTON, Ky. - They say you should "listen to your body," but Steve-O probably doesn't want to hear what his has to say.
After all, he's had almost every part of it beaten, bitten, stung, stapled, cut, burned, shocked and slammed while ingesting unthinkable "delicacies" for the amusement of millions as the try-anything stuntman for the "Jackass" TV series and films.
Aside from his physically taxing day job, Steve-O, born Stephen Gilchrist Glover, was destroying his body with addictions to alcohol and assorted drugs through most of the '00s, when he was riding high on his "Jackass" success.
But now, Steve-O is clean and sober and has been for four years - he's even become a vegan. He's had a bit of a break because the "Jackass" crew doesn't have any films in the works.
"My body's pretty grateful, that's for sure," Steve-O said, laughing, of his break from "Jackass" duties.
But Steve-O has been keeping busy with a passion that has its own sense of danger, minus the risk of bodily harm: stand-up comedy.
The first time Steve-O went from stuntman to stand-up was in 2006 at a comedy club in Hollywood. The owners of the club asked him if he'd like to go onstage and give it a try, which to Steve-O had its own fear factor, he says.
"There was no stunt that would be crazier than trying stand-up," Steve-O said. "I was truly terrified of it."
Turns out, Steve-O kind of had a knack for it.
Some comedians have to work up to a point where they are brutally honest about their own shortcomings, but Steve-O had this ability right out of the gate. (His 2010 stand-up outing wasn't called "Steve-O's Entirely Too Much Information Tour" for nothing.) Plus, hanging with the motley crew of "Jackass" cohorts and other celebrities, coupled with his extreme penchant for partying, provides its share of interesting anecdotes.
"I really pretty much stick to material that's honest experiences," said Steve-O, who turned 38 Wednesday. "I'm really able to admit to some really personal, embarrassing (stuff), and I just don't care."
Steve-O doesn't just have stories to draw on for laughs. One of the first people to reach out to him when he started stand-up comedy was comic megastar Dane Cook, who has been giving Steve-O advice. You might have seen some of his practice pay off with the laughs Steve-O got when he was a participant in "The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen" in 2011.
If you caught that appearance, you would have noticed that after his skewering of Sheen and his fellow roasters, he decided to run his head battering-ram style into Mike Tyson's closed fist. Despite his sobriety, Steve-O still loves a good stunt. People who come to his show can expect a bit of both.
"It's a little variety show, I would say," said Steve-O, a graduate of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. "I feel like it would be unfaithful and disrespectful of my brand if I just stood there and talked. ... My body isn't entirely off the hook."
Through his stand-up stint, Steve-O hasn't been oblivious to why people pay to see him. He knows "Jackass" gave him this opportunity. He shows his gratitude and appreciation by making sure every person who shows up to his shows gets an autograph, a picture, a handshake or a hug afterward, he says.
There is no telling how long the "Jackass" crew can keep cranking out movies, but with stand-up comedy and whatever other opportunities come his way, Steve-O is setting himself up for the long haul.
"I feel destined to have a career beyond 'Jackass' and I feel that way because I want to put in the work," he said. "I'm willing to try just about everything, and when you think about it, I really have tried just about everything."
©2012 Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)
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