I am so destroyed by the loss of Ryan that words cannot describe it. He was such a huge part of our family and it is forever changed without him. Over the last few days, I’ve been flooded with amazing and touching thoughts from both people who knew him and those who didn’t but still loved him. Ryan was a dude’s dude. Here are a few stories about him that I'd like to share...
Ryan was not very good at personal hygiene—he was a dirty man. The first thing we ever shot with him was the “Poo Dive” and he didn’t shower after that for the whole week we were there in West Chester.
I think it was during season two of jackass when we were all riding in a van and I made the mistake of falling asleep. Dunn quickly shoved his index finger up his butt and leaned over the seat to give me a very aggressive rusty hook. His dirty fingernails scratched my gums and I can still recall the disgusting odor and it makes me sick. His butt smelled the worst of all the guys.
One of my favorite memories of Ryan comes from the time we were filming jackass the movie (2002). We were almost done shooting and getting set to go to Florida for our last trip. The entire production team was gathered around a conference table and Steve-O had just dropped the bomb on us that he was not going to do the “Butt X-Ray.” Everyone was bummed out and we were scrambling to fill in the schedule. Just then, Ryan Dunn walked into the room and asked what everyone was so sad about. I told him, "Steve-O won't put the car in his butt because he's afraid of what his dad would think." Ryan looked me in the eye and said, “This idea is too stupid not to shoot—someone has to do it.” I stared back at him and said, “You’re right, Ryan, SOMEONE has to do it.” The bit is one of the funniest things we ever shot and it closed the movie. Ryan was always willing to take things to the next level. I really don’t think he loved doing stunts at all ... he just loved to make us laugh.
One terribly stupid bit we shot with Dunn was during jackass number two (2006). We were in Louisiana and we had just blown Wee Man across the lake on a parachute with airboats. After that successful bit, we thought it would be funny to re-enact the scene from Teen Wolf, where he was riding on top of the van, but instead of Michael J. Fox it would be Ryan on water skis. Preston was the driver and he was supposed to floor the van into the boat launch and then slam on the brakes to send Dunn skimming across the water. The problem was, Preston hit the brakes a bit too early and the water was a lot shallower than we thought. Ryan body-slammed into the lake with a big splash (he always had great style when he slammed), and when he finally stood up I asked him if he was okay. He gave me the funniest, most sarcastic look, and just pointed to his feet so I could see that he landed on cement covered by ankle-deep water. Sorry for that one, buddy.
Ryan was always so much fun to film with, and he was never happier than he was during jackass 3D (2010). He was so positive and just glad to be around everybody. One of my favorite quotes of his was from the "Snake River Redemption”, where he nervously checked out his mini-bike and then said under his breath, “N'awesome”—meaning "not awesome". I say that all the time now.
He really was at peace with himself and told me many times how he couldn't believe how lucky he was. Not just because the success of jackass and his work, but that he also had Angie. They had been together for as long as I can remember, and he couldn’t understand why a girl that pretty and awesome would stay with him. They were so much fun to be around together, and he just adored her. God bless you, Angie.
Get ready to laugh, angels, because you’re getting a great one.
I love you, Ryan Dunn.
(All photos by Sean Cliver)