The sudden, tragic passing of “Jackass” costar Ryan Dunn leaves an unfillable void in the show’s foolhardy band of foolish fools. He wasn’t just someone who willingly risked his own personal safety and well-being for a hefty paycheck. He willingly did it long before he started pulling down the kind of coin that could make less braver (or some might say smarter) men seek other forms of gainful employment. Even before the “CKY” video days with Bam Margera, he was always the first person to step up to the task and fly head on into some “haggard backwoods crap” on a girl bicycle or jump a sewage runoff river on a bike with solid plastic tires.
As his friends, family and fans try to make sense of the accident that took the “Random Hero’s” life, they can take solace in the legacy of laughs he left behind. Here are five of his greatest moments from the show that made him a star.
1. The Poo Dive
Ryan joined the “Jackass” team with the help of his close personal friend Bam Margera because of his unique talent for volunteering to do the stunts that no one else would step up to do. He cemented his place with the crew in the show’s first season when he stepped up to jump in a wastewater treatment plant’s collection vat wearing nothing more than a snorkel, swimming goggles and underwear wrapped in duct tape. And as it turned out, that wasn’t the most shocking reason he selflessly risked his well-being and body odor for our amusement.
2. The Snake River Redemption
One of Dunn’s earliest sketches in the show’s iconic run was the “Snake River Jump,” an impressive feat involving a crappy child’s bike, 30 feet of plywood fashioned into a ramp and a sewage runoff river. He may have failed to complete the jump, but the stunt was impressive because he tried it THREE TIMES until the local cops put a stop to it. He tried it again for the third “Jackass” movie, this time with a modified pocket bike that failed to include adequate shock absorbers, brakes or any modicum of common sense.
3. Ass Kicked By A Girl
Dunn regularly stepped into a ring with professionally trained boxers, fighters and general ass-kickers to see just how much his brains, brawn and bodily structure could withstand before getting the better of him. The first “Jackass” movie pitted him against the world’s female lightweight kickboxing champion to see just how long it would take him before he threw in the towel. The fight actually lasted a few rounds until a quick punch to the nose and jaw pushed him and his bloody mouthpiece to the canvas.
4. Butt X-Ray
Convincing one of your friends to stick something in their person for the world’s amusement takes a lot of finessing and haggling. We don’t know what Ryan Dunn got monetarily or even emotionally out of doing the climatic stunt for the first “Jackass” movie, but it became one of the defining and funniest bits in the “Jackass” franchise’s history.
5. The Toro Totter
He may not have been the star of this bit from the second film, but he easily gets some of the biggest laughs. Ryan was the first person to bail, but his encounter with a raging ton of angry bull gets him head-butting a wall as he tries to escape its wrath–only to end up face-to-face with the mean thing before he has to be carried out of the ring. Then to add insult to very serious injury, he gets spooked by a couple of balloons in his classic underdog style that not only made him funny, but that much more endearing to the audience. If anything, it easily made him the most likable jackass of the bunch.