June 27th, 2011
10:12 AM ET
After learning about “Jackass” stuntman Ryan Dunn’s fatal crash on Monday, Stephen Glover - better known as Steve-O - postponed his “Entirely Too Much Information Tour,” which incorporates a mix of stand-up comedy and stunts.
In addition to canceling six shows at the Punch Line Comedy Club in Sacramento, California, Steve-O tweeted last Monday, “I don't know what to say, except I love Ryan Dunn and I'm really going to miss him.” (Since the news first broke, we’ve learned Dunn, 34, was traveling up to 140 mph with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.196 percent when his car crashed on a Pennsylvania highway.)
Three days before his cast mate and friend’s untimely death, I talked to Steve-O about his new memoir, “Professional Idiot,” and what it’s like being a sober “Jackass”:
Three years and three months sober, Steve-O said he’s still learning to separate his personal life from his work life. Having been loaded for most of his career, filming 2010’s “Jackass 3D” sober proved to be an interesting experience for the stuntman.
“It’s not easier doing stunts sober, but it’s more important than ever for me to do them. Part of me feels like it’s so important for me to prove that I have it in me to be crazier than ever before. But, I don’t know. That’s probably that part of me that’s really sick,” he said laughing. “I can’t help it. I’m hardwired that way.”
Steve-O continues to perform at comedy clubs - lighting himself on fire and blindly navigating his newfound double life.
“Recovery has been largely a function of really establishing an identity separate from the Steve-O guy,” he said. “I never contemplated any kind of existence or identity after my career. I never thought at some point the entertainment industry is going to be through with me. And when it first occurred to me that my career was going to cease to be ascendant, then I freaked out.”
That realization, he said, was the reason he urinated on the red carpet at the “Jackass Number Two” premiere in 2006.
“I guess I just always imagined that I was going to die like somehow on top,” he added. “I was going to, like, go out in some sort of blaze of glory. I never thought about sort of fading into obscurity. And I’ve worked so hard at having a life, an identity, in obscurity and finding peace with that.”
Many people wondered what Steve-O, with his attention-grabbing antics, would pull on the eighth season of “Dancing with the Stars.” But, to their surprise – or dismay – the stuntman kept it family friendly on the ABC competition show.
“At the time … I felt like I maybe just needed to throw in the towel on a career in entertainment,” he said. “For me, like, the attention and celebrity has just been a drug like anything else. … I felt [“DWTS”] was a really safe way to sort of test the waters of entertainment and sobriety.”
So, at eight months sober, Steve-O put on his dancing shoes, which seemed like a good idea until he realized: “I’m so bad at dancing.”
“Doing something I’m that bad at in front of that many people, that new in sobriety, made for a pretty uncomfortable experience,” he said. “But that’s not to say that I regret it. It definitely challenged my sobriety. I’m so glad that I was living in that halfway house where I had so much accountability and such a good support system there because that was pretty harrowing.”
In the midst of his run on “Dancing with the Stars,” Steve-O revisited the idea of writing a memoir.
The first time he approached publishers with the idea was when “Jackass: The Movie” hit theaters in 2002.
“They set me up with a writer,” he said. “And then this poor bastard came over my apartment and just watched me snort line after line of cocaine and just jabber on endlessly about nothing. It just wasn’t going to happen.”
This time, with help from his ghostwriter David Peisner, he was successful. But after months of pitching the story in third person, Steve-O said first person won out.
“I felt like the platform, or whatever, to speak in my voice should be doled out to me cautiously, like a doctor might want to cautiously dole out painkillers to an addict," he said.
When it came time to decide what would make it into the book, Steve-O said he had one rule: He didn’t want to incriminate anyone.
“When I talk about doing coke in the bathroom with Mike Tyson and stuff, I felt a little weird about that. But then again, on the other hand, it’s not like a big secret that Mike Tyson used to do cocaine.”
Conversely: “There was one story about Johnny Knoxville that I asked him if I could write and he said, ‘No, go ahead and don’t write that.’ ”
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