Jackass' Steve-O On 'Killer Karaoke,' Crazy Stunts, Attending Clown College
Jackass star Steve-O is back on TV as the host of the new TruTV reality competition Killer Karaoke, the hilarious and squirm-inducing show, which has contestants sing karaoke while undergoing all kinds of distracting challenges, such as being lowered into a pool full of snakes. Thankfully Steve-O, who has performed much more terrifying feats, was able to escape the daunting task of singing. “I'm just really glad to say that I made it through shooting the whole first season of Killer Karaoke without singing at all," he told Uinterview exclusively. "It's important that people know that.”
Steve-O moved frequently as a child, living in five countries. He was drawn to skateboarding at a young age, and subsequently, film. With aspirations of being a stuntman, Steve-O attended the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. “If I could have that recognizable Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey name to brag about, to be a trained circus professional would really really help me along," he said. "At that point I was already lighting myself on fire at keg parties or jumping off apartment buildings into shallow pools. Those were my specialties."
After some clown gigs and a stint on a Royal Caribbean cruise line, he eventually rose to prominence on the MTV stunt show Jackass, and the subsequent films that followed: Jackass: The Movie, Jackass Number Two, Jackass 3D. As of late, after a stint in rehab, Steve-O has bounced back and taken up stand-up comedy, and now his most recent role as the host of Killer Karaoke.
Killer Karaoke premieres on November 23 at 9pm on TruTV.
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Personally, I'm not into singing at all. A lot of other people do, though. I'm just really glad to say that I made it through shooting the whole first season of Killer Karaoke without singing at all. It's important that people know that. [laughs]
The network was looking for a funny guy who could lend credibility to the crazy challenges on the show. They would put people on and these horrible, horrible things would happen to them while they're singing. I came in because of my history with Jackass and then becoming a stand-up comedian made it a perfect fit.
I gave them my two cents. A lot of it happened before I came into the picture, but they were tweaking and developing challenges right up until we started shooting. I collaborated with the tweaks and the process.
I'd say that the premise is intact, but the format changed quite a bit. The U.K. show had a panel of three judges, and for this edition they did away with the judges, there were also two hosts on the British version. They wiggled it down to just the contestants, me and the audience. They definitely put a lot of the load on my shoulders, which I'm really excited about.
We had one pretty terrible accident. A lady slipped and hurt her knee, I think. It was really just a slip and fall, but it was upsetting.
Oh God... I don't know why people have such an issue with that. There was no reason to defang them because none of the snakes were venomous. On a moral issue, I really have a problem with "devenomizing" snakes just because there's no anesthesia for reptiles so it seems horribly cruel.
Well, I grew up in five different countries. I was the son of a very successful corporate executive. My dad headed an international division of American corporations, so I had a very privileged upbringing. I got into skateboarding at a pretty young age, and the skateboard led me to the video camera. I almost wanna say it was a religion for me. I developed some pretty crazy mortality issues early on — our only instinct is to survive yet our only guarantee is that we won't, you know.
Well, we have this overriding instinct to survive. We know that we're not going to, so I think a big question in life is how to wrap my head around mortality. For me the video camera helped me do that, because I could create a legacy that'll live long after I die. There was just something permanent. We're all gonna die but, I'm gonna live on with the video camera. [laughs] I don't know, that was really what it was, my way to live forever. I saw the video camera as a way to make that happen.
I've tried to do what I can to decrease the odds of being paralyzed. [laughs] Definitely. With that said, I've recklessly done all kinds of stuff that can kill me or paralyze me. I'm more and more stringent. Like in the last Jackass movie, I went into it with a mission statement that I wanted to keep paralysis and death off the table. Provided that that criteria was met, I would do anything. [laughs]
It was more like boot camp than college, for sure. Statistically, it's harder to get into Clown College than Harvard based on the number of applicants compared to the number of people that got in. And it was free to go provided that you were accepted. Back in 1996 and '97 when I found out about it, and they didn't have tuition. I just thought, Wow what a great way to further my goal in becoming a stuntman. If I could have that recognizable Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey name to brag about, to be a trained circus professional would really really help me along. At that point, I was already lighting myself on fire at keg parties or jumping off apartment buildings into shallow pools. Those were my specialties.
I've been on the road touring as a stand-up comedian for the majority of the last two years. Whenever I've had any free time I've spent as much of it as possible surfing. In probably the last year, I've become an avid surfer. The comedy shows, the surfing, and the Killer Karaoke has been what it's about you know, and there's some other stuff that I'll probably start working on pretty soon, but it's just too early to talk about.