It seems like it was only a matter of time. Most label them disgusting and ridiculous, few call them genius, but we all know them as the original pranksters: the cast of MTV’s revolutionary shit-show “Jackass.” They consistently pushed the envelope of physical harm. Tragically, the group lost one of their originals this morning in Ryan Dunn at age 34.
Early Monday morning around 3:30 a.m., Dunn and a currently-unidentified passenger were killed in a high-speed car accident, MTV reports. Dunn, who may or may not have been driving his Porsche 911 GT3 that was disintegrated in the accident, posted a picture from his Twitter account a few hours before in which he and two friends are drinking (presumably) alcoholic beverages. He was only 34 years old.
Ryan Dunn first made his comedy/stunt home video debut alongside best friend Bam Margera and the CKY (Camp Kill Yourself) Crew, including “Jackass” regulars Brandon DiCamillo, Chris Raab (Raab Himself) and Rake Yohn. Eventually, “Jackass” director Jeff Tremaine, serving as editor of skateboard magazine Big Brother at the time, caught wind of the CKY antics and decided to include it with his own Big Brother footage for a possible TV pilot episode including soon-to-be superstar Johnny Knoxville; “Jackass” was born.
The success of “Jackass” went far beyond television, spawning three movie sequels (although with “2.5,” “3.5″ and “3D”, the number is closer to five or six) and countless numbers of imitation shows, backyard stunts and teenage hospital visits followed suit. As the sequels went deeper, the level of danger evolved into increasingly treacherous territory, both in physical danger and utter disgust. Dunn himself was perhaps best known for a skit in which he inserted a toy car into his own rectum via lubricated condom, or sending a golf cart end-over-end with Knoxville crumpled in the wreckage.
As much of a fan as I am of both the “Jackass” legacy and Ryan Dunn himself, it’s terrible to see the death of a member at the hands of the very antics we expect of him: danger, stupidity and recklessness. Anyone who’s seen “Jackass” has probably muttered to themselves, “It’s a miracle that none of these guys has died yet,” and it’s absolutely tragic that the presumption has finally come true. While he wasn’t in the middle of a stunt, it seems Dunn was a victim of his own craving for high speed and danger in his own life.