Hindsight is 20/20, even for a guy who used to make his living as human shark bait.
"We were genuinely worth vilifying because back then they didn't have YouTube or video on the Internet and we were legitimately a bad influence," he said on the Hotboxin with Mike Tyson podcast. "When Jackass came out, little kids were showing up in hospitals all over the country and maybe the world because they saw us doing this crazy s--t and they wanted to do it themselves."
Jackass, which ran for three seasons from 2000 to 2001 before spawning an entire cinematic universe, featured Steve-O and his band of misfit friends performing outrageous stunts. The show—which also starred Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and Chris Pontius—was groundbreaking in its eccentric stupidity, though Steve-O now argues there's more than enough blame to go around.
"At that time, you could really point to us as being a bad influence," he said. "But I think over the years, because now that there's so much YouTube, [MTV's], so much, it's not our f--king fault anymore."
Jackass: The Movie was released in theaters after the initial run of the MTV series. The movie, which featured Steve-O snorting wasabi amongst other things, made $64 million at the domestic box office and spurned additional movies including 2006's Jackass: Number Two, 2013's Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and 2022's Jackass Forever.
Following the success of the latest film in the canon, plans were announced for a new Jackass series on Paramount+.
However, it's unclear if Steve-O will be around for the latest round of hijinks. In May 2021, the 48-year-old performer told GQ that the stunts have started to take a toll on his body.
"Filming Jackass at this age is much the same as it ever was, with two big differences," he said. "Our bones break significantly easier. And it takes less to knock us completely unconscious. Plus longer to wake up."
Whatever the case, at least the Internet is around to minimize those hospital visits for potential viewers.
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