Ok, so I didn’t know him personally, and plenty of my favourite actors/singers/heroes die… a little too regularly it seems these days… but Ryan Dunn and the Jackass crew are infused in my DNA, along with many of my friends.
Jackass started in 2000 when I was living with one of my best friends Levi Leppard. Our place was the party place, and among our idiots/friends we could count Mat Carrington, Andrew Durrell, and Ian Reed among others. One day Levi and I were watching TV when we stumbled across a bunch of idiots purposely hurting themselves in the name of… ‘entertainment’. We even recognised some of the cast from an old battered VHS copy of Camp Kill Yourself that we had almost watched to oblivion.
We were hooked, and their influence started to rub off on us. We were nowhere near as wild, but we had a lot of laughs inspired by Jackass; car aerial whips, eating strange shit, pushing Levi off of stairs which fucked his back up and put him in hospital… *ahem*…
We may have all gone our seperate ways over the years, but we all stay in touch, and when news of Ryan Dunn’s death broke suddenly there was a flurry of messages and phonecalls between our old gang. There was a lot of disbelief.
Dunn was a year younger than me when his Porsche 911 GT3 left the road in West Goshen, Pennsylvania, and hit a tree before bursting into flames, killing him and his friend Zach Hartwell.
Ryan Dunn was 34 years old.
I first saw the news when I flicked through my facebook wall and saw my friend Jaymee Blundell had simply posted ‘RIP Ryan Dunn xxxx’.
‘Oh, no,’ I thought before googling him and finding it was true. A quick call to Levi (who was at work and couldn’t answer) and I was sat there with my head in my hands.
Sure, it sounds a little melodramatic, but Dunn, Margera, Knoxville, England, DiCamillo, et al, were mainstays in my life for years. Jesus, I named my youngest son Bam after finding out his mum was pregnant just after we started watching the Viva La Bam dvds.
The years passed and the series became more infrequent and more offshoots, yet still we watched – even/especially the films like Haggard in which Dunn took the lead role in a spin on his own heart-broken love life.
Throw in Bam’s Unholy Unionand the last 11 years of my life have consisted of watching
these young idiots grow, get hurt, get married, and get their hearts broken. Jackass/Viva are also the only programmes/films I’ve ever watched that have made me genuinely cry laughing, so I have a lot of emotional attachment with all those involved.
Jackass 3 was also released recently and I made my daughter watch it with me as she had never seen any of the films or series before. After a few minutes she turned to me and said;
“Dad, I have never heard you laugh so much in all my life.”
I got a bad feeling nothing is ever gonna be as funny again.
Rest in peace, Ryan Dunn.
You are sorely missed.