Steve-O’s never one to shy away from pain. But in his new truTV show, the former Jackass is the one administering the punishment.
In Killer Karaoke, debuting at 9 p.m. Friday, contestants will go to any lengths to be heard — and win $10,000, with the help of audience votes and survival-of-the-fittest tendencies. It’s being promoted as American Idol meets Fear Factor with good reason.
In one clip, a woman named Emily Wassler sings Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats Now while dipping her hand into a box of slithering snakes — her terrified screams and bleeped-out curses are incorporated into the performance. Another victim gets his hair ripped off his chest a la The 40 Year Old Virgin. Need we go on?
We talked to host Steve-O (born Stephen Gilchrist), who has some local connections: He attended the University of Miami and worked as a clown at the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop; his folks still live in Palm Beach County, where he’ll head for Christmas. Let’s wish him an uneventful trip.
How would you describe “Killer Karaoke” ?
It’s a show where people sing while horrible things happen to them. Basically, it’s an exercise in exploiting people’s willingness to sacrifice their dignity and wellbeing to get on television, a willingness that I am all too familiar with.
How did you get involved?
I’d love to say I created it myself, but it began overseas in England as Sing If You Can. Then the truTV network bought the rights to it and started looking for a funny, crazy guy to be their host.
What is it like on set?
It’s a blast, especially because I get to do just about anything I want. I tell funny stories to the studio audience, ride my skateboard all over the place, and do lots of goofy circus tricks in between shots.
What is your favorite karaoke song?
None. I hate singing karaoke, so I leave that entirely to the contestants.
This looks dangerous. What kind of releases do people have to sign?
I’m not sure, but I’m guessing they pretty much sign their lives away.