Just when you thought "Jackass" couldn't be topped, a new group of destructive dudes who laugh and play just as hard come along. Coming straight out of Finland, the guys from "The Dudesons" have been admitted to the hospital so often, insurance companies in their country have blacklisted them.
The four lifelong friends who make up the prank-loving Dudesons — Jukka (the showman), Jarppi (the comedian), HP (the quiet one) and Jarno (the mastermind) — have been documenting their wacky stunts since childhood.
"When I was about 10 years old, I tried to build my own homemade bomb after New Year's. ... We had all these fireworks and everything," Jukka recalled. "I built it, and it actually blew up in my face. It burnt my face with all these second-degree burns. ... So, I think, in general, all the Finnish people have a little crazy person in them, and that's where the stunts and all the pranks come from."
Those harebrained stunts eventually landed them their self-titled show. Since making it to air in the early '00s, "The Dudesons" has enjoyed a large, growing fanbase that includes members of the "Jackass" family, who discovered the guys while in Finland attending one of their live shows.
"We've known the guys from 'Jackass' for a few years now," Jukka said. "And we've been in a couple of episodes of 'Viva la Bam' and 'Nitro Circus.' Then we all came together and we were like, 'Damn, we should do a show together about coming here and trying to live the American dream,' " he recalled. "So doing it in Europe for four seasons and coming in here and getting in this new environment with [Johnny] Knoxville opening all the doors for us has been great. It's great for us to be with them and film with them and get inspired by that. It's like one big happy family: the Jackasses and the Dudeson guys."
Since the Finnish foursome live by a "do first, think later" kind of mantra, traveling to the land of opportunity can only mean causing more mayhem here than they did back home.
"We had all these huge, big ideas back in Finland, but we never had the budget," Jukka explained. "Then we got here in the U.S., and MTV is behind us. So we got the chance to do some of the wildest ideas we've ever had."
The guys may be living out some of their zaniest ideas on MTV's dime, but it's not without the constant threat of severe injury. Case in point, since shooting began three months ago, the Dudesons have made five trips to the hospital and, together, have endured broken ribs, a broken back, a busted tailbone and yet another burned face. (And HP arrived in the States with a torn ACL.)
"After one of us ended up in the hospital on the sixth day, we were like, 'We have six days done, and we have 55 days to go. How are we going to pull this off?' " joked Jarppi, who permanently lost a thumb in a wrestling match with a bear.
"We've still got about two more episodes to film, and I don't know," Jukka said "We'll see if we can stay out of American hospitals. So far, they have been taking good care of us. But one thing that surprised us was the insurance companies. In Finland, insurance companies blacklisted us pretty quickly. Here, when we did the stunt where I burnt my face, the ambulance took me to the ER, took care of me, and then the next day there was a limo waiting outside my apartment to take me to the burn center to take care of my wounds. We were like, 'What the heck is going on, guys?' So we get good treatment from insurance companies."
"Honestly, I think the limo is because we've been such good customers," Jarppi said with a laugh.
Despite the physical setbacks, the Dudesons are moving forward full-speed. When MTV News caught up with the stuntmen over the weekend, in downtown Los Angeles, they were preparing to shoot the first season of "The Dudesons in America."
"Right now, we are filming an episode about American action-movie heroes, because we want to become one," Jarppi said. "It's a remake of the legendary James Bond car roll. They said it's never been repeated. I just say that it can't be that hard, and I think in about 72 hours, they are going to start changing all the stars in Hollywood and putting our names on them."
"Basically, we like to blow up stuff, break stuff and crash things," Jukka elaborated. "And one of the biggest moments in movie history is when James Bond is driving one of his cars from a bridge, jumping it and barrel-rolling it onto the other side. It's our way of trying to win the American hearts."
A group of college kids gathered at the shoot as a large crew of policemen, fire and water trucks and an ambulance assembled. With a car painted red, white and blue and HP suited up like James Bond, the guys were ready for cameras to roll.
Was the stunt a success? Fans will have to tune in when the series premieres May 6 on MTV, with a debut that finds members of the Dudesons getting "U.S.A." branded on their backsides. Look out for cameos from "Jackass" regulars Ryan Dunn, Bam Margera, Steve-O and Knoxville.
"We love America," Jukka said. "Now we just need to plan on surviving the rest of the season."
Don't miss "The Dudesons in America" series premiere Thursday, May 6, at 10 p.m. on MTV.