Most of us have a bucket list of things we’d like to do before we die, from traveling to distant lands to meeting an idol or person we admire, to trying a new hobby or conquering an unexpected feat. Comic/stuntman/Jackass star Steve-O (birth name Stephen Glover) has a list too, and to call it atypical is putting it mildly. This is stuff only a sick yet brilliant mind like his could come up with, stuff that was too wild for Jackass, involving vasectomies, laxatives and ejaculate, though not at the same time. Despite the lewd, crude and just plain insane stunts and stories that make up Steve-O’s Bucket List Tour (coming to the Novo on Thurs., March 10), the L.A.-based comic personality says there’s a surprising thread that runs through the show: love!

“The idea was to raise the bar for crazy, so from start to finish, it really is bona fide the next level of what I do and it’s perfectly appropriate for me,” Steve-O explains via Zoom, lying on his bed in his Hollywood Hills home full of goats and dogs, the latter, a German Shepherd named Wendy joining him on camera as we chat. “My standup has come so far in all of this and on top of being so explicit and crazy, it’s really a clever show. The way I structured it, the backdrop, the theme, the through line– is the fact that I got engaged to the love of my life and and it’s really a love story about our relationship. And it’s just a fact that I could not have gone through with all of these crazy things I did for the show without there being serious implications on my relationship. So you’re on this magical journey through the list of the craziest ideas you’ve ever heard. And the backdrop is my relationship and how it suffered, how it survived, how it grew, comically and for real.”

Though his adventures in stand-up started with just a microphone, the show gradually evolved to become more multimedia. Steve-O started editing footage of the stories he was telling, after the fact, and he realized it added not only a visual dimension but a narrative that sucked his audience in further, even when he was doing the grossest things imaginable. For this show, he says he’s filmed his craziest stunts ever, and the format melds screened footage with story-telling breaks in between.

(Courtesy Steveo.com)

“I have been doing standup for so long now, and I’ve developed the craft enough that it’s really exciting to have my worlds converge,” Steve-O shares.”And I really went nuts for this one. I did stunts that I never would have been allowed to do for Jackass because rules did not apply. I had a medical professional in disguise administering stolen general anesthesia drugs into an IV while I was riding a bicycle in the fields, you know, like super illegal stuff.  Another sort of theme of the show for me is, here I am in my late 40s and really feeling like I got to kind of hurry up and do everything I can before it becomes creepy to watch me do it.”

Some of his outrageous ideas are still kind of creepy, and hard to watch, so much so that sometimes, audience members actually pass out during his shows. “I knew that I wanted to raise the bar and I knew that I wanted to go wilder than I’ve ever gone before,” he admits, before sharing (spoiler alert!) a climactic bit that he’s particularly proud of. “I really didn’t need to, like sit down and come up with any ideas, because I had a handful of them that I had been sitting on for the longest time, which were all just so messed up. For example, I’ve got this irrational fear of roller coasters and bungee jumping and stuff so whenever skydiving came up over the years, I was always looking for, you know, a reason not to do it. About 20 years ago, I said, if I ever go skydiving I’m going to be completely naked with a dude strapped to my back, and I’m going to be furiously jacking off so that I can time it while I’m simultaneously falling out of the airplane. And it really was, you know, in every sense, from start to finish, the most challenging stunt that we’ve ever put together and pulled off.”

Steve-O says his show at the Novo is a really big deal to him for a number of reasons. “I’ve been doing stand up comedy, largely under the radar for well over a decade, and you know, certainly my reputation is not for performing stand up comedy despite the fact that I’ve been doing it for so long,” he explains. “I was just grinding on the comedy clubs circuit developing this craft and really, really working very hard. And now I’ve graduated from comedy clubs, to big theaters. The Novo holds 1500. I believe that I’ve done a lot of work to build my profile, with my digital content and my podcast. I really work hard to put stuff out there. The fact that I’m able to sell out big theaters now without people really knowing what I do, it tells me that if I can find a real mainstream audience for my next comedy special, which will be the bucket list special, then I believe that my next step is to perform in arenas. That is just what I believe… you can call me delusional. But that’s my dream.”

It’s definitely an attainable dream. Explicit and ridiculous humor has found a big audience in recent years, as the success of funnymen like Eric Andre and Sasha Baron Cohen can attest. Steve-O also appears in Jackass Forever, the franchise’s fourth full-length movie, which did very well in theaters and with critics last month. There was a highly publicized contractual battle with Johnny Knoxville, but as he tells it, everything was “perfectly resolved.”  He says he pushed back for the first time since he’d been involved with the show and films, “because of all the work that I’ve done over the last decade and to stand up for that kid who never stood up for himself.”

“It got kind of contentious and I handled it poorly,” he admits.”But ultimately, I’m super happy now. If I had made the decision to not be in the movie because I wasn’t happy with the deal I would have really been cutting off my nose to spite my face. I really am glad that I’m in the movie and even more than that, I’m glad that I’ve got myself to a point where I didn’t need a Jackass movie. But having one just come out certainly helps everything else that I do.”

In addition to his stand-up and movies, Steve-O has a popular podcast called Wild Ride, recorded in a roaming RV studio. He’s done over a hundred episodes with big names like Mark Cuban, Post Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Tyson, Tommy Lee, and Demi Lovato, to name a few. He’s also got a successful merch line including hot sauce (with names like Hot Sauce for Your Butthole), four different YouTube channels and books, his first, best-seller called Professional Idiot- a Memoir, and his next called A Hard Kick in the Nuts: What I Learned from a Lifetime of Terrible Decisions, due in September. It’ll confront middle age and provide wisdom culled from his life struggles, which include his widely known battles with sex, drug and alcohol addiction.

“You’re on my journey with this one, and, my sexual addiction is a real big part of it,” he shares. “I hold nothing back. You can bet it’s juicy but I think it’s just, it’s authentic too.” Which describes Steve-O in a nutshell. With 14 years sober, there’s a drive, focus, and dare we say a maturity about him that wasn’t so evident watching Jackass. He’s still a j0kester and he’s still pretty shameless in terms of ideas, obviously, but he’s also a serious businessman who considers the value in every wild and wacky thing he puts his body through. Like when he duck-taped himself to a billboard at Cahuenga and Selma to promote an online comedy special last year. He says the money he invested in the Hollywood billboard helped him make back three times as much via paywall purchases to watch it. Now he’s looking to transcend that.

“Like I said, I really want to find a way to get a massive mainstream audience for my next special because this is  a show, even without the video element,” he says. “It’s just something completely original. It’s something that nobody’s ever done, that nobody else could do. That’s why I’m so excited about it and I have so much of an emotional investment in it.”

Steve-O’s Bucket List Tour comedy show at the Novo (L.A. Live), 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Downtown; Thurs., March 10, 8 p.m. thenovodtla.com

LA Weekly