Stunts are not something you do at home. I mean, they literally say not to try it at home every time you watch Jackass, Ridiculousness, Tosh, or your favorite fails video dealer. But, what people don’t know is the story of the people who did try it at home. The crazy people who decided to risk it all for a stunt which was bound to fail from the beginning.
DO NOT TRY ANYTHING SHOWN IN THIS ARTICLE!
Big Brother Magazine
Big Brother Magazine were the earliest people to blend things other than skate into their skate videos. While the video featured mostly skating, it also featured a lot of the same people who ended up working for Jackass. Most notably, a pre-fame Johnny Knoxville would do some extremely painful things to himself for the sake of getting footage. Even though he got hit by a car, dropped in on a vert ramp, and pepper-sprayed to oblivion, the wildest stunt is him testing if a bulletproof vest works by shooting himself in the chest with a handgun.
Skate videos were popular in the early days, but the first solo person to blend stunts into their videos was Bam Margera with his popular series CKY. CKY is an extremely NSWF DVD series of Bam and his buddies doing all sorts of bad things (the tree jump at 1:40 makes my stomach turn every time I see it). The difference between Big Brother and CKY is that CKY was independent in all of their productions. The videos went on to become a high-seller despite the raunchy sketches and dangerous stunts and were part of what would spawn Jackass. My personal favorite CKY stunt is the balcony jump, I would tell you not to try it at home, but you would need to get a crowd of people first.
The Internet Begins
So after the underground success of Big Brother and CKY and the mainstream success of Jackass, more and more people began using the internet. With that, many people saw the chance to make their own videos and sell them. You should understand that YouTube was not around until 2005, so in the early days, the only way to get your personality out there was to try and sell stunt DVDs, which many people did try and do. One of the best at it though was Steve-O.
Steve-O needs no introduction. Even though Steve-O had been doing stunts for a while, when he was just starting out he was creating DVDs of his home footage and selling them online. His first video, Don’t Try This At Home, is still considered to be one of the best stunt videos ever made, and is actually one of the things that got him onto Jackass in the first place.
There were plenty of people who took the opportunity to let their stunts live online forever. Different, small-time stunt groups were popping up all over the internet promoting their videos. Groups of random obscure teams would upload tons of clips and promos online, and post them to forums for other stunters to watch, like this. The only people who consumed these amateur stunts at this point were other stunters, so much of these videos have been lost to time. Still, you can find a few of these older videos online, but most will likely never be seen again.
The Spawn Of YouTube
Once YouTube was created in 2005, it gave a whole new home for stunters to upload their videos and be seen by more people than ever before. Many people found stunt success on YouTube (examples here, here, & here). While this would be a great beginning for many small creators, this would really be the beginning of the end of the stunt community altogether. At one time, the supplier of stunts was a small community, but now every person could upload any of their videos with ease, which oversaturated the market and made the stunt community basically obsolete.
Homegrown Stunts Today
Nowadays, most people who do stunt videos reside on YouTube or Instagram. Some stunt groups still exist in 2020, but it is mostly just one-man bands recording and uploading their own stunts. Still, groups like BlockheaDs & P.O.R. Bringing that old school stunt style into 2020. Besides that, the homegrown stunt community is really only remembered by those who partook, and the countless hours of missing stunt movies and videos are impossible to estimate.
My Personal Favorite Clips
I wanted to take a moment and share some of my favorite stunt clips. The first clip is a three-story jump into 8 boxes from a personal friend of mine, Nathan Childers. The jump left him with broken bones in his back, but honestly, he got off really lucky with how he landed. My favorite stunt film is LSD Riders, a BMX video that mixes in some stunts that would feed your blood lust and other naughty things that would make your parents mad. Lastly, this nutshot is one of the best videos ever. I say that because I am the person in the video.
With the announcement of Jackass 4, I predict there will be somewhat of a stunt resurgence. Not to mention the days of Instagram clout are upon us, so people may decide to try it for themselves at home. I am worried about the well-being of them though. A lot of these newer stunt channels have a bad habit of just trying to see how badly they can hurt themselves and they call it a stunt. Self-mutilation and attempting to kill yourself is not a stunt, and it never should have been considered one in the first place.
People doing dumb stunts have been around for a long time, but the long backstory and the amount of groups that have come and gone is one of the best-untold stories on the internet. 1,000 words are nowhere near how long we would need to cover everything. What is your favorite dumb internet stunt you ever saw? Let me know in the comments down below!
Senior at Central State University. Major in Broadcast Media!