Getting sober after years of drug and alcohol abuse is no easy feat, but Steve-O had some helping hands … eight paws, to be exact. The "Jackass" star credits his two rescue dogs, Walter and Bernie, with giving him a new sense of purpose after he decided to go straight edge four years, eight months, and four days ago (as of the time of our interview) — and yes, he's still counting. "It's so good for a guy like me to have a priority that's not myself and have a regimen and discipline and responsibility that's all very healthy," Steve-O, the host of TruTV's "Killer Karaoke," tells omg!.
After first getting sober in 2008, Steve-O (real name: Stephen Gilchrist Glover) adopted Walter, a black Chihuahua-Dachshund mix, in May 2009, followed by a white mixed breed named Bernie in October 2010 — and he can barely remember life before becoming a dog owner. "You know, the way I feel about it, and it might sound a little weird as far as comparisons go, but getting a dog reminds me of getting a cell phone because there's that overwhelming feeling when I first got a cell phone of 'How did I ever live without this and what would I ever do if I lost it?'" explains Steve-O. "It's very much the same way with my dogs. I just think back to before I had my dogs and my life must have been just so empty. I shouldn't say so empty, but I can't believe how much those little sons of bitches have enriched my life."
Just like their owner, Walter and Bernie have their flaws, but Steve-O, 38, loves them just the way they are. "They're terribly complicated little guys," he says. "They're very dog aggressive. Walter is super food aggressive. Bernie is a rampant urinator, he just has to mark everything — but they're my babies and I love them so much."
Steve-O's love of animals has changed his life in more ways than just simply owning a dog. About a month before he got sober, he began cutting meat out of his diet, and as time progressed, the feeling was so rewarding, he says, he decided to "ramp it up and become a full-on vegan," meaning he no longer eats animal products like dairy and eggs, "and I love it. I think it's benefited every area of my life."
His benevolence when it comes to animals has even inspired a stunt that appears on his new show, "Killer Karaoke," which tests contestants' knowledge of songs while they complete crazy challenges — like being shocked by a dog collar. Although the stunt gets laughs on the TruTV program, which premieres November 23, Steve-O hope it also makes people think. "It's horribly painful," he notes. "To me, that's really something good that we're doing in the world … to see how much that hurts people I think is a very noble service because it exposes dog shock collars as inhumane devices. You have to be pretty cruel to put that on a dog. I have high hopes that this show will deter people from using those cruel dog shock collars on animals."
"Killer Karaoke" may be Steve-O's first foray into hosting a show, but its subject matter is certainly something near and dear to the stuntman's heart. "I'm not sure how my name came up [to host], but … I think my 'Jackass' experience was helpful to lend credibility to the chaos going on on this show. My experience as a comedian makes me a perfect fit for host."
But don't worry, "Jackass" fans, there will be more of Steve-O, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, and company … hopefully. "There's a movie in the works, but it's not a 'Jackass' movie, it's more of a spin-off," dishes Steve-O. "It's too early. I know the intention is to get the whole cast involved in it, but they're not quite there yet … On an official level, the project doesn't exist, so … I can't do much with an offer before I receive it. What they'll do is wait until the last possible minute and say, 'We need this signed by the morning …'" he jokes.
Until that happens and Steve-O returns to being a guy who willingly volunteers to have a snapping turtle bite his bare butt or take a ride in a Porta Potty slingshot, he's going to stay within the much safer confines of "Killer Karaoke." "It's all very exciting for me," he smiles, "to be gainfully employed as more than a guy who just hurts himself."
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