MADELEINE BRAND, host:
The drug bust, the stint in rehab. It's practically a rite of passage for the modern celebrity. But a troubled wild man known to millions of young fans as Steve-O is doing the celebrity meltdown his own way. He's creating online videos and blogging to document his own bouts with addiction and mental illness. Critic Andrew Wallenstein finds it all pretty disturbing.
ANDREW WALLENSTEIN: Steve-O is not afraid to do something dangerous. He became famous in movies and TV as a member of Jackass, a troupe of comic stuntmen. This episode of Jackass he dons a space helmet, only the helmet will be filled from a bucket of crickets.
Unidentified Man: Today, we're going to be putting crickets into Steve-O's helmet.
Mr. STEVE-O: How many crickets are in here?
Unidentified Man: There's 10,000 in there right now.
Mr. STEVE-O: Do they carry any communicable diseases?
Unidentified Man: No, they do not.
Mr. STEVE-O: Steve-O does. I am Steve-O and this is the cricket helmet.
WALLENSTEIN: But Steve-O has also been engaged in a side project of sorts that is extreme even by Jackass standards. And I don't find it at all funny, though many others might disagree. In recent weeks, he has posted creepy videos online of himself at home in various states of delirium, either fighting with neighbors or just spouting off to the camera. I don't know whether it's because he's under the influence of drugs or mentally ill. Either is possible, because he was just involuntarily placed in a psychiatric ward shortly after being arrested for cocaine possession. The following video was one of the most popular on YouTube last week, reaching over one million views.
Mr. STEVE-O: I just got out of jail. You would think that all that time in prison would have taught me something.
(Soundbite of laughing)
Mr. STEVE-O: Now I'm going to tell you, I'm dead sober, you see and I (unintelligible) with you honestly.
WALLENSTEIN: Amazingly, getting committed hasn't stopped Steve-O. He somehow manages to blog about being treated for bipolar disorder at Steve-O.com. The website's tagline - Where Self-Destruction Is Funny. Well hardy har har. You know, the plight of Steve-O isn't that different from Brittany Spears, except she has the press to exploit her personal problems. The Internet allows Steve-O to become his own paparazzo. And while some might be afraid to hang this kind of dirty laundry, consider the golden rule of Jackass, no form of humiliation is too low to yield laughs. Well, I don't get the joke. Were he just another minor celebrity, Steve-O would barely merit a headline, but at the rate he's going, he could be headed for an obituary.
BRAND: Andrew Wallenstein is deputy editor of the Hollywood Reporter and a regular contributor to our show.
Day to day is a production of NPR news with contribution from Slate.com. I'm Madeline Brand.
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
And I'm Alex Chadwick.
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