Brett Stanford, Derek Herron and Scott Gaunson – aka How Ridiculous (HR)- met as kids at Lifestreams Christian Church in South Perth, and have been friends ever since. And for the last 12+ years, they have been uploading and sharing epic challenges, experiments and stunts to YouTube. Check out the grainy first video of basketball shots to see where the fun began and the wahoos started!
Here, we chat to Brett about the HR journey on YouTube and how it feels to join the 10 million subscribers club!
Before we dive in, congratulations on joining the 10M subscriber club! It’s an amazing achievement and a testament to the hard work and dedication you’ve put in over the last 12+ years. Is there anything you’d like to say to your incredible subscribers?
Thank you so much for your support over the 12+ years, it means so much. We get to live our dream because of you and we don’t take it for granted. Hopefully our videos brought you joy and wonder, and will continue to for many years. We’re not done!
Now, going back to the very beginning, whose idea was it to put videos on YouTube?
We saw Dude Perfect’s first video doing basketball trick shots and we thought it looked like fun. Not sure how the exact idea came about, but we just started filming basketball shots all over our houses and it went from there. We really enjoyed the process of setting goals and achieving them, then uploading them for others to experience it too.
What is your most popular video?
Our most popular YouTube video is “How Many Giant Balloons Stops An Arrow?”, which we uploaded late in 2021. Up until then our most popular video was “Bowling Ball Vs. Trampoline from 165m Swiss Dam”.
I think people love these videos because they are big scale experiments that make you curious. Once people see the thumbnail and title, they just have to watch and find out what happens.
This is probably true of most of our videos as they are exciting stunts that people have never seen before.
You now also share Shorts - what’s your approach for different types of content?
We’ve really enjoyed making Shorts. They’ve actually been our most popular videos based on views with some getting 200M+ views, which is insane! [See “Exercise Ball Racing is AWESOME” for a taste.]
With shorter form content we try and make it very engaging, fun and competitive. No second can be wasted in Shorts!
With our longer formats we still aim to engage our audience as much as possible (no one wants to have to skip through a video because they are bored right?), however there's a bit more flexibility to tone down the excitement at times so it’s not overly hyped. We keep them very authentic to what it’s like on shoot so we really want viewers to feel like they are just on set with us watching us do our thing.
What do you hope people take away from your videos?
We want people to really enjoy watching our videos and leave them feeling better than before they started watching.
We hope to make people smile, laugh and hopefully be in awe of the footage we create.
Since our earliest videos we’ve also really wanted to encourage a “Live selflessly and Give Generously” mindset so we always hope that shines through as well. This has come from our Christian faith and it's the foundation of all of our content that we make.
When did Rexy first get involved? Did you mean to make him a star?
Rexy was first purchased to possibly be involved in a stream boat race in Switzerland in 2018, but he didn't make the cut, haha!
Then in mid 2019 we had the idea to rope him in to be a test dummy for our tower drops so we knew where to put items that were gonna get smashed. In that video, Scott wonders whether Rexy will last ‘til Christmas 2019, so it amazes us he’s lasted so long.
His stardom has certainly come organically, it’s truly miraculous what he has endured! His resilience and determination has blown us away, so he’s fully deserved his fame!
What is the 44 Club and how did it start?
Much like Rexy, the 44 Club started completely organically and unplanned. In a video in 2016, “How To Bottle Flip”, we were filming an outro and began to wonder if anyone was still watching. Scott asked viewers to comment “44” if they were watching as it’s his favourite number, and I chimed in with “44 Club, get around it”.
At this point in our YouTube career we were lucky to get a few hundred comments, but we got 3000+ comments simply saying “44” or “44 Club”. From then on the 44 Club has become the official How Ridiculous fan club and we still shout out those legends at the end of each video.
How does it feel knowing you’ve created a really fun and engaged community on your channel?
The biggest word I can think of that describes our feelings towards our epic, supportive community on YouTube is “grateful”.
We’re grateful for every like, every nice comment, every minute of watch time, every “subscribe” click, every merch purchase and every encouraging email.
We know everyone is busy, no one has infinite time, so we’re thankful for the investment our viewers have made in watching our journey unfold. We will do our best to keep working hard at making content that is fun and worth watching and we hope this community continues to hang around to watch what happens.
Is there a moment that stands out to you, where you realised or really understood the impact you were having on other people?
I think we are most reminded of the impact we have on people when they come up to us on the street and say “hello” or want a photo. And this is especially true when it happens when we are travelling overseas (something we hope to do again soon).
I have vivid memories of this happening in a train station in Zurich, while waiting in a café at Johannesburg airport, on the footpath in Belgrade, in a Walmart in the middle of Texas and many more. Sometimes we forget that every view is a real person somewhere watching our videos, and it’s very humbling to stop and think about how many people that actually is.
You have your own merch business too. How did that happen?
You’ve gotta wear something right? Haha! The merch journey has been a fun one and we’ve been constantly learning about how to (and how not to) do it well.
In 2020, we decided to start doing it all in house and shipping it out of our warehouse (which at the time was just a small house, not ideal). We’ve enjoyed making it our own and we think people love that we are so involved in the process. We get a big kick out of seeing people represent us by wearing merch or seeing people cuddling up to their very own Rexy, it’s awesome.
We’ve got some great plans in the works for how we’re going to spice up our clothing line this year, we think it’ll take our products to a whole new level which is very exciting. There’s also a possibility of a limited edition 10M subs design…. Stay tuned….
Now you've hit this epic milestone, what else do you hope to achieve in 2022?
One of our most favourite video series was when we filmed a lot of videos dropping stuff off Luzzone Dam in Switzerland in 2018. We’re hoping to go back there this year after our 2020 plans were cancelled, and we’re really excited for the videos we’ve got in the works for that.
Other than that, we want to keep investing in big projects that we’re passionate about so we can make the best content possible. We’ve done a lot now so it’s not easy to keep backing it up year-after-year, but we’ll do our best to get it done.
What inspires you to keep going?
Firstly, I cannot stress how important our faith in Jesus has been over the journey. We all met at church as kids and our mutual faith has been an absolute cornerstone for us since day one. God keeps us grounded, humble and unified and I genuinely don’t think we would’ve accomplished anything without Him. Our goal at How Ridiculous is to glorify Him in all we do, and we believe he’s given us this channel as a gift to be well looked after and nurtured to bless the whole world.
Secondly, we continue doing this because we really love making videos.
It’s very satisfying to dream up a concept, work hard at making it happen then actually pull it off. Whether it’s building a Giant 7m Hydraulic Hammer, making a 200m world record basketball shot off an African waterfall or dropping an airplane onto the world’s strongest trampoline, we love seeing our crazy ideas become a reality in front of our eyes.
What are your go to channels to watch on YouTube?
We’ve always been fans of Dude Perfect, they’re a great bunch of guys and they were the ones who first inspired us to create back in ’09.
We admire MrBeast and the way he goes about creating and dreaming big.
Do you have any tips for anyone starting out on YouTube?
Yes! We started making videos because we enjoyed it, that’s a great place to start. Don’t start doing it because you want to make money or become famous. Do it because you love it.
If it takes off from there and becomes a job that’s great, but enjoyment is a key ingredient throughout the journey no matter where it takes you.
Oh, and also work really hard, like really hard. There’s a LOT that goes in behind the scenes in our videos, probably a lot more than anyone realises. We worked HARD for six years in our spare time before we quit our other jobs to do videos for work. If you want to succeed in YouTube you need to be in it for the long haul.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Doing it together. Through thick and thin, through laughter and frustration, through celebrations and disappointment.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you started your channel?
Have fun, take risks, work hard and stay humble.