That man dangling from a Hollywood billboard? That was Steve-O from ‘Jackass’
Actor Steve-O is seen taped to a Hollywood billboard along Cahuenga Boulevard on Thursday.
Publicity stunts are still alive and well during the COVID-19 pandemic. And Steve-O just proved that in an extremely sticky way.
Before being removed by firefighters, the former “Jackass” star’s latest antic involved him taping himself to a towering billboard in Hollywood Thursday to promote his upcoming multimedia comedy special, “Gnarly.”
The live installation along Cahuenga Boulevard and Yucca Street featured the star adhering himself to the billboard under several layers of black duct tape that covered his body from his torso to thighs. He was shirtless and barefoot and apparently able to take selfies and post Instagram stories in the process.
“I’m attached to a billboard right now,” he wrote on Instagram, “and want to emphasize that a team of real professionals rigged everything safely. There is zero chance of me falling, and it’s important to me that we not waste any valuable city resources on this. I’m happy to just hang out.”
The stuntman said he really wants “the world to know about this project I worked so hard on.” On Instagram stories, the stunt actor said he was getting sore after an hour-and-a-half of being taped up and police had been called to monitor him.
“They say that they’re not sure I’m committing any crimes. I don’t think so. I paid for the billboard,” he said. “Hopefully nobody gets too upset.”
However, firefighters were also called to the scene Thursday and helped get the stunt actor down from the billboard.
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Dept. were also called to facilitate the firefighters’ response, said Lt. Brian Bixler, the commanding officer for LAPD’s Hollywood Patrol Division. No criminal elements would be pursued because Steve-O rented the billboard and police were there for crowd control, Bixler said.
“A lot of resources [were used],” Bixler said. “We’re trying to keep them minimum for the fire department. But definitely the fire department has a lot of rigs out here, and it takes a lot of resources away from what we should be doing — make people safe.”
Bixler estimated that a crowd of about 100 people gathered to watch the stunt. He said nobody was wearing masks or social distancing, “And that can create a problem for our communities.”
A Times photographer on the scene, however, noted that some observers were wearing masks.
The Los Angeles Fire Dept. was notified by a passerby about a man being duct-taped to a billboard at 9:35 a.m. and responded to what the department considers a “behavioral emergency,” said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for LAFD. (A behavioral emergency is a category LAFD uses when someone is doing something atypical of the average person or placing themselves or others in peril.)
The department was not informed of the stunt in advance, nor was it permitted as far as he knew, Humphrey said. Twenty-one personnel responded to the incident and helped take down the comedian and cleared the area a little more than an hour later.
“We were responsible to go if for no other reason [than] to protect the public, to make sure that people were not distracted and no harm came to them,” Humphrey said.
Responders medically evaluated Steve-O — meaning they spoke with him, took his vitals and assessed whether he had any underlying health conditions or malaise while being involved in the behavioral emergency, Humphrey said.
Unfortunately, he added, the call came as firefighters were battling the Lake Fire in the Angeles National Forest and amid pandemic anxiety. “It could not have come at a more awkward or inopportune time.”
A NSFW trailer for Steve-O’s new “comedy special filled with really dumb stuff” showcases him attached to a mobile billboard that takes to the streets as well as bits of stand-up comedy and other nearly nude stunts that involve a lot of genitalia. Guest stars include his former “Jackass” costar Johnny Knoxville and “Jackass 3D” writer Wee Man.
Times photographer Kent Nishimura contributed to this report.
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