Don’t Fear the Reaper: An L&A interview with UM dropout and “Jackass” staple Steve-O

Few shows telecasted in the vast wasteland of the boob tube have had the impact and success of Jackass. Exhausted laments from politicians and television critics, which abhor it as a counterpoint to human evolution, have been drowned out by a youth sick of expensive, unfunny sitcoms, relentless corporate marketing and the medium’s general phoniness.

Jackass’ clan of skateboarding and partying misfits do whatever it takes to entertain the viewer – even when it surpasses network standards and health codes. Make-up, gloss and superstar egos are scarce, while sanity, guts and limits are elasticized and tied into a humorous half-hour knot of stunts and pranks.

The R-rated nationwide release of Jackass: The Movie on Oct. 25, is expected to, at the very least, make back its budget, allowing Johnny Knoxville and posse to up their ante and bank accounts and build perpetually healing, global careers. UM non-alum and nefarious Jackass staple, Steve-O, is well on his way, with the briskly selling DVD, Don’t Try This at Home, and an infamous nightclub circuit act/tour. However, the latter has landed him charges of obscenity and principal to second-degree battery arising from a much publicized tour date in Louisiana on July 11. If convicted, he faces a combined maximum sentence of eight years in prison.

Steve-O, whose birth name is Stephen Gilchrist Glover, is uncharacteristically hesitant about discussing the specifics of his case, now set for December, over the telephone with Life & Art.

“As far as the movie, how in the hell am I supposed to be happy, when it could all be down hill from here, you know? I can’t even jerk off. It is what it is. I just want to make the world a sillier place, and that’s simply not illegal,” he says.

Fortunately for readers, Glover, now 28, is more than “down” to fess up about his UM exploits spanning two brief academic stints on campus (in 1993 and 1999) and his seemingly numerous informal visits. If you’re not a fan of his television/video antics, (skating on thin ice, swallowing and throwing up live goldfish) chances are that you’re not going to digest the quotes/advice/criticism in this article without severe gas and heartburn. You have been forewarned.

“I’d say I did a lot of tripping on acid when I was at UM. Acid smacid, drinking underage at the Rat was always pretty cool. Happy Hour at the Rat was always the best. From those days at the University of Miami, nothing’s different. It’s all about promiscuous, unprotected sex, dude,” he explains. “I swear to god, the football players are criminals and UM is based on football, and I love that dude. Walking through the locker room is like walking through f***ing South Central, L.A. I’m not badmouthing UM, I have a chip on my shoulder because I’m not into the school thing, and I think there’s way too many rich kids than kids with a plan. But the respectability of the school has risen so much, they don’t even call it ‘Suntan U’ anymore.”

Glover implies that he had a consistently poor attendance record at UM. When he wasn’t sleeping on couches and in an Apartment Area storage room, he divvied up the majority of his time practicing stunts with “heavy tight” friends on the university’s diving team, throwing illegal roof parties at Hecht Residential College, selling drugs, and chasing girls to no avail.

“I f***ing smashed out the window on the 13th floor of Hecht and jumped through it, so I was letting people onto the roof f***ing throwing parties and climbing up to the radio tower. The cops came, and I got thrown the f*** out. Then I got kicked out of Eaton within two weeks of classes starting my first year.”

“The girls I got at the University of Miami were uglier than the girls I nailed in high school. I was a football player running into the wrong in-zone. I was literally just trying to get laid and I didn’t care how fat and ugly they were. I cum really fast, so the fatter and uglier they are, the better lover I am. I was just trying to download viruses on the trampoline in the backyard every chance I got,” he says laughing.

UM’s campus is also where Steve-O suffered his worst and scariest injury resulting from a stunt -admittedly harsher than the time he “burned off his face” (as seen in the DVD). Attempting to do a “fall” from the second story balcony of the Apartment Area (something he did almost habitually), he landed wrong and smashed his face on the concrete below, breaking his cheekbone, wrist, seven teeth and splitting his chin ten stitches wide. During the healing process, he drank lots of beer and tried a “gnarly” shake blended from tuna and mayonnaise.

In adjunction with the knowledge he inhaled from UM and “skateboarding and heavy metal,” Glover graduated with pride from the surprisingly competitive Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and got a job as you guessed it.

“I can absolutely provide first-hand testimony of flagrant animal abuse in the circus. The dogs and the cats, I was down with them, but the elephants and the tigers, dude please, if I’m reincarnated don’t let me be them. The people who work there are more afraid of the animals than the crowds who watch them. And all that shit is going down at the Swap Shop in Fort Lauderdale,” he says, holding back a sinister amount of laughter.

Steve-O’s exposure (literally and figuratively) went up a notch when he made appearances showcasing his stunts in the deviant skateboarding publication known as Big Brother Magazine. These led to a part in the magazine’s video Boob, and then to the phenomena that is Jackass. Whether the future holds a thriving spotlight or oncoming headlights is unforeseen.

“I don’t want to die, I just expect to soon. Since I was a little kid, I’ve always predicted death to be sooner than later. But if you can tell me some secret info about me living for a long time, then my art is out the window,” he acknowledges.

Like any true partying elder, Steve-O wanted to leave the guys and girls at UM with a little slice of advice/admiration.

UM Guys: “If you can avoid the temptations of Coconut Grove, South Beach and the sun, and still get good grades, then goddamn it dude, that says more than your GPA. If you can get out of there without bumps on your wiener, then you’re set.”

UM Girls: “Make up your minds UM girls. You’re either there to find a successful future husband, and if that’s the case, stop being such sluts. If that’s not the case, then stop cheating by buying your exams off the Internet and from the teachers’ assistants.”

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Hunter Stephenson can be reached at