Crikey, we’ve got an Aussie in our midst! Jason Ellis spent two decades riding half pipes as a professional skateboarder, but in 2005, his life took a different course when he was approached with an opportunity to host his own radio show. Now, almost 15 year later, Ellis continues to dominate SiriusXM and interviews big-name talent such as Kevin Smith, Ozzy Osbourne, and Joanna Angel. We sat down with Ellis to learn how he became the host he is today, his favorite interview so far, and what’s the deal with EllisMania?
Prior to hosting a radio show, you moved to the United States at 17 to become a professional skateboarder. What did the skating world teach you about success and failure?
Skateboarding taught me everything about success and failure. I learned that determination, hard work, and the passion to keep it going made for an unstoppable force. You can pretty much get anything you wanted in life, if you’re willing to put in the work and take the pain.
What led you to leave skating and become a radio host?
Radio was an accident. Tony Hawk got offered a show on SiriusXM and asked me to be a co-host. Apparently he knew I’d be good at it before I did. So the first day I started on Tony’s show, I started talking into that microphone and I could tell the SiriusXM people were impressed with what I had to say — so much so that by the end of that show, they were offering me a job to be a DJ there. And at that point, I had so many skateboard injuries that I never properly dealt with, so I could tell my paychecks were about to start shrinking. My girlfriend at the time had just gotten pregnant, so I decided to go for it, move up to LA, and become a professional radio host, just like Howard Stern.
Who are your most memorable interviewees that you’ve had on your show and who’s on your bucket list? The best interview I’ve ever had was with Ozzy Osbourne because he’s the Prince of Darkness. And I’m some shithead skateboarder from Australia, who’s interviewed the Prince of Darkness. But I would love to interview Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What is EllisMania?
EllisMania is comedy boxing with a BDSM kick to it. There’s music and comedy the night before, then Saturday is the funniest version of boxing the world has ever seen. Every event I try and come up with at least a few new fights that have never happened before, but we have staple crowd favorites like The Blindfolded Dog Collar fight, where four people are blindfolded with electric dog collars on randomly shocking them. The Piñata fight has become a staple crowd favorite, where three pro fighters defend a piñata against four very unprofessional, very untrained fighters. The entire event is like nothing else. I always fight at my event, lately it’s more about, ‘Can my opponent not kill me?’ as opposed to me actually beating them. One year, I decided to have ten one-minute fights against mystery opponents, most who turned out to be pro fighters, some of them even from the UFC. EllisMania was created to give regular people a chance to experience being in a real fight, without getting seriously hurt.
What’s the symbolism behind your knuckle tattoos? What was your first tattoo, your favorite tattoo, and your most recent tattoo?
My knuckles say “Fire and Rain,” it’s a song by James Taylor. When I heard the song after my little brother passed away, the lyrics became mine instead of James Taylor’s because I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’d seen sunny days and I’d seen rainy ones because I used to get paid to be a professional skateboarder but now my little brother has died. My first tattoo was ‘Metallica’ on the side of my leg by Hanky-Panky in Amsterdam. He rolled up a magazine and said if I moved he was going to hit me in the side of the head with it. I thought he was very funny. Twenty years later, I took a piss next to him in a bathroom in LAX and he didn’t recognize me. My favorite tattoo is the tattoo that isn’t finished yet. I just want it all to be one piece. My most recent tattoo was by Norm at Love Letters tattoo here in LA, he put “Hail Satan” on my neck.
What’s up next for Jason Ellis and what will you be working on for the rest of 2019?
I have a new Podcast with Mike Catherwood and my wife Katie Ellis called “High and Dry.” I’m working on private EllisManias exclusively for social media and preparing for 2020 at the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas for EllisMania 20. I’ll be doing four EllisManias this year, plus we’re adding fake wrestling to it. I also have a YouTube show coming out with Hoonigan this year.