Whether he is jumping off a hotel balcony into a swimming pool, allowing a friend to shoot a BB gun at his bare butt, firing off a bottle rocket from that same part of his anatomy or performing stand-up comedy, Steve-O has one goal in mind.
"I would say initially, when I started making skateboarding videos, I wanted to impress people with the serious nature of skateboarding, but at the very root of everything is that I am trying to be the center of attention," he says.
As one of the co-stars of the Jackass film and television franchise (along with cohorts Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera), Steve-O became a household name by doing outrageous things to his body in the name of entertainment. For Steve-O, who will appear at The Comedy Catch tonight through Saturday, Jan. 9-11, it was all about having people look at him.
"Knoxville likes to say that he is an attention whore but that Steve-O is an attention whorehouse," Steve-O says.
Steve-O was born Stephen Gilchrist Glover 39 years ago in London to well-to-do parents. His father was the president of PepsiCo in Brazil, where the family lived for a while. He's lived in five countries, including Canada and the U.S.
He began making skateboarding videos as a teenager and later, after flunking out of the University of Miami and living on the streets, he figured that attending the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and studying to be a stuntman would lend him some credibility.
"I fell in love with being a clown, and I was able to make a legitimate living as a clown while doing the other stuff, but mostly what it meant was that I didn't have to sell pot to pay my bills anymore."
Just because he wasn't selling them anymore didn't mean he'd quit doing drugs, however. He freely admits to doing a lot of them, so much so that friends finally intervened. He's been clean and sober and a vegan since 2008. That does not mean, as he states on his website, that he won't staple his scrotum to his leg for a laugh.
"I have become comfortable in my sobriety, I guess. On that third 'Jackass' movie, I had this awkwardness, but I'm having a good time, especially doing stand-up."
Steve-O says he first went onstage as a stunt in 2006. He says that at the time he couldn't imagine anything more daring than to try to perform, so he did. He says he was well-received, doing mostly material that can't be reprinted here. These days his routines are filled with stories about his life, especially the crazy things he did as a child, and his interaction with the audience.
It's something he takes very seriously.
"Man, when that emcee says, 'Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for your headliner,' it's a rush. Just the idea that everybody came out to see me perform, I love it. I really care. I have this reputation for being wild and not caring, but I really care."
He says the real work for him, and the part he likes quite a bit, takes place after the show.
"I will stay and have my picture made with anyone that wants one. I love it."
It's here where some guy invariably asks for more than a photo of the two of them hugging, however. You might think that he plays the role of gunslinger in such situations with guys looking to outstunt or prank him, but he gets a different reaction.
"I get asked all the time by guys to kick them in the [crotch]. What's funny is the way they ask. It's always, 'Is there any way I could get you to kick me in the [crotch]?'
"My response is always, 'Who am I to dash someone's dreams?'"
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.