Friday, 25 July 2014 15:45

Steve-O: Certified Clown and World Renowned "Jackass"

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids
Aug. 21-23, show times at 5:30, 8, 9 and 10:30 pm.
$10-$20, (616) 356-2000

Anyone familiar with the "Jackass" empire knows the professionals involved have one philosophy: the more outrageous the stunt, the better. This is a mantra Steve-O swears by, and one that got him noticed by members of the "Jackass" crew while they still worked with the skateboarding magazine, Big Brother.

I did a big crazy stunt trying to get into their magazine, and I really burned myself pretty terribly,” Steve-O said. “I wound up in the hospital with second-degree burns on half of my face. My face healed just in the nick of time for me to go to clown college.”

That's right, clown college. Steve-O admits he has always sought attention from others, so any career that allowed him to get in front of audiences was an alluring prospect. After dropping out of the University of Miami, he sought a more unconventional means of education.

My plan was to become a famous stuntman, and after a few years of being homeless and really not getting anywhere, and not gaining any tractiontoward my goal, I found out about clown college,” Steve-O said. “And I figured that if I were to graduate from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College it would help to further my goal of being a famous stuntman.”

After graduating, Steve-O found a stint as a clown in a small circus, but he kept recording stunt videos on the side, eventually meeting up again with the "Jackass" crew, and the rest is history.

What people may not know is Steve-O also has a career in stand-up comedy. Sure, he still performs stunts on and off stage (he even has his own Youtube channel), but he's just as comfortable performing with nothing but a microphone and an empty stage. Steve-O views this foray into stand-up not as a transition from stunt work, but as part of the evolution of his career.

The idea of all the stunts, and pretty much everything that I've done, has been to be funny,” he explains. “There's been comedy underlying pretty much everything I've done in my career.”

After each set, Steve-O likes to mingle with the crowd, putting him in the unique position of hearing firsthand what audience members thought of his performance. He says people generally come in with low expectations for his stand-up, but he's up for the challenge of proving he has what it takes to make people laugh.

Universally, the consensus is that they weren't so sure about my stand-up, they came being not so sure about what the show would be and they were surprised and shocked at how hilarious and good my show is,” Steve-O said.

He also assures "Jackass" fans that he includes plenty of anecdotes about the show and behind-the-scenes stories about his career.

My life has been as outrageous as can be.” Steve O said. “So I'm in a luxurious position of just having so much material to draw from.”

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