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Steve-O: SeaWorld stunt latest in line of 'Jackass' moves

Steve-O: SeaWorld stunt latest in line of 'Jackass' moves
Steve-O was arrested over the weekend after he climbed atop a crane in Hollywood, inflatable Shamu in hand, to protest SeaWorld’s treatment of orcas. (Chris Pizzello / AP)

The arrest of Steve-O this weekend over a anti-SeaWorld stunt is hardly the only time the "Jackass" veteran has found himself, er, swimming in hot water.

The performer who prefers a dash and a vowel to a given name (Glover, if you're curious) was arrested over the weekend after he climbed atop a crane in Hollywood, inflatable Shamu in hand, to protest SeaWorld's treatment of orcas. (He was released Monday on $5,000 bail, with a court date set for the end of the month. The video will live on long after that.)

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In fact, Steve-O has gotten political on behalf of the orca cause last year,  when he climbed atop a stretch of the 5 Freeway and appended a "sucks" to a directional sign denoting the upcoming presence of SeaWorld.

But not all of Steve-O's previous gambits have been so political--highlighting that when it comes to the gonzo master, attention-grabbing stunts can be indistinguishable from the stunts that just grab attention, or other body parts.

And it underscores how "Jackass," a show that aired just for a few years on MTV in the early 2000's, retains a cultural influence far beyond its initial ratings. In addition to several movies, the show launched the careers of Steve-O, Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera, both anticipating and helping to create a worldwide YouTube culture of extreme hijinks.

Few have kept at it with the zeal of Steve-O, though.

To wit, back in 2002 Steve-O stapled his scrotum to his leg at a performance in Louisiana. (He got out with some probation and a ban on playing in that part of the state.)

The following year he swallowed a condom containing cannabis while in Sweden. Stomach-turning as that sounds, that item might have nonetheless been more edible than the potato chips he peed on later that year at a Lollapalooza stop in the U.S. (He was thrown off Lollapalooza, but then, did you really want him to play that Nirvana tribute anyway?)

Last year he also highlighted his inner Aly Raisman by performing a backflip off a bridge into the San Antonio River. (Deadly misconduct was the charge for that, but he remains free to perform on the uneven bars.)

Sometimes Steve-O also channels his inner gourmet, as when he made an abrupt departure after barely 24 hours on the British nonscripted series "Love Island" because his request for beer and chocolate went unfulfilled. (In fairness, the show was being shot in Fiji.)

Meanwhile, it looks like this latest maneuver will generate some legal action, especially after 80 firefighters and dozens of LAPD officers headed out to the site, not sure at first if this was a stunt or a suicide attempt.

Of course, the point of "Steve-O" is provocation. Legal challenges won't stop him; YouTube only helps him. SeaWorld changing its policy might slow him down. But there are always more cranes, and causes, and body parts.

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