Review: Steve-O – Fibbers, York
Although this tour is Steve-O’s first as a stand-up comedian, it arrives here in England after extended runs in America, Canada and Australia. The comedian’s career as an entertainer, he explains, began with the theft of his father’s video camera when he was fifteen, and since the third Jackass film he has appeared on the likes of The Howard Stern Show, Dancing with the Stars and Love Island.
Fibbers, the show’s setting, is far from an ideal comedy venue. After queuing for a full hour to get in – that’s an hour after the 7:30 start time, by the way – I was greeted by an open area with no seating, where I had to wait a further half an hour for the warm-up act to begin. I like my stand-up, though I usually prefer it when the term applies to the performer rather than the audience. It may seem picky – but who feels at their most jovial when they’re uncomfortable? It’s easily solved.
To make matters worse, warm-up act Lewis Costello offered up a poor performance. Costello did a short set – no more than ten minutes – firstly didn’t seem particularly confident. His material did nothing to capture the imagination, and his delivery was almost apologetic; if this young comedian really wants to make a go of it, he’d be wise to put some serious effort into livening up his act. Apart from anything else, by not ramping up energy as a warm-up act should, he’s letting down the headliner he’s had the privilege of supporting.
After the ensuing break I was getting a little annoyed. My legs ached from standing for so long; so far I’d seen nothing to pique my interest and certainly nothing to provoke a laugh. Then, Steve-O took the stage. I’ve never been a huge fan of shock-value humour, which was something that concerned me about seeing a Jackass performer – but despite claiming Dane Cook as a comic influence, Steve-O’s act was surprisingly accessible.
I think it’s his out-and-out charm that opens it up; his boyish grin takes him beyond reproach, so that even the most shocking moments are softened and made more palatable. From the first anecdote, he’s laughing right along with the audience- and the laughter is certainly infectious. The humour is entirely anecdotal, with only one formulaic joke to open up the act; there’s a real sense that Steve-O’s comedy is derived entirely from… being Steve-O.
The act struck an odd balance between stand-up and Jackass-style stunts. I suppose at this point Steve is trying to parlay his experience – and his fanbase – into a new type of performance, so it’s understandable but still a little awkward. It seems as though Glover has a serious interest in a career as a stand-up comic, though separating that career from his previous fame is going to be a near-impossible task. Fine, you might say, what’s the problem with that?
Well, the problem is that your average Jackass fan won’t sit through a story longer than five minutes. They want to see someone covered in faeces. Maybe it won’t be a problem for Glover- but I’ll bet that it will be.
Before Steve-O came on I was convinced that I had wasted an evening, but he completely turned it around for me – and, to be honest, sometimes confounded my expectations. Could I see the signs of a comic genius at work? No. But what I did see was a guy who has had plenty of bizarre experiences, a smart comic with a smart sense of humour to match- a guy who is, above all, fun to listen to.
It’s no wonder he graduated – as he proudly tells us – from clown college; it seems whatever form Steve-O turns his hand to, he’s a born entertainer. I just hope his established fans can learn to appreciate that diversity.