Dude Perfect began in a backyard. On a friendly lunch tab wager. And an epic trick shot. It continues now with a YouTube channel boasting over six million subscribers and prospects where even the sky isn’t the limit.
They’ve done trick shots with the likes of Tim McGraw, traveled the world to the Olympics and the World Cup to do more of the same, asked Super Bowl coaches and players what their favorite gas station snack is, and even had a shark fishing battle.
You wouldn’t know it if you bumped into them on the street, but the five friends (and a panda) that make up the epic (and hilarious) trick shots and comedy troupe known as Dude Perfect aren’t just another entry in the average adult-male-friends-who-all-still-wear-gym-shorts category. I mean, they are that, but they are also so much more.
Whether it’s making crazy trick shots, shots of world record proportions, or lampooning some of humanity’s many hilarious quirks in their “Stereotypes” videos, it’s clear that the dudes of Dude Perfect have a lot of fun together. It’s translated to a lot of success in a medium that isn’t always very easy to figure out. They’ve done so well, in fact, that not only are they the second largest sports channel on YouTube, but they were also recently chosen by YouTube to be a part of its latest talent and ad national campaign celebrating its 10th anniversary.
And here’s the even bigger kicker: As much fun as they have doing what they do, the members of Dude Perfect care most about glorifying Jesus as they do it. Their videos aren’t preachy in the least, but these guys aren’t shy about pointing everyone back to Jesus, and they’ve even had the opportunity to speak about their faith at length with the likes of the Huffington Post.
I recently had the chance to chat with Dude Perfect member/co-founder Tyler Toney (aka “The Bearded Guy”) about their faith and success, his desert island survival strategy, and even a little bit of history and leg wrestling.
Jake Roberson: You guys were just on Good Morning America today, and I know that means waking up way too early. Are you a morning person?
Tyler Toney: No. I’m actually still not awake.
Jake: What is your ideal morning?
Tyler: My ideal morning? I love to roll into office around 10 a.m., shoot some practice shots, hit a few chips on the green, get some time on the pogo stick, answer a couple emails, and then cruise to lunch around noon. But that doesn’t happen very often.
Jake: Tell us a little about how you guys were chosen for a large advertising campaign by YouTube.
Tyler: We’re still not 100% sure ourselves. It all feels pretty surreal. What we do know is that they picked several brands to highlight as they celebrate their 10th anniversary, and that we were one of those selected. They say it’s because we have such great engagement from fans (THANKS, EVERYONE!) on the videos and because our videos average (approximately) an 80% watch rate even though they are on the long side. (THANKS AGAIN, EVERYONE!) We think it’s because we have a panda.
Jake: What kind of engagement, exactly, do you guys have with your fans and the YouTube community?
Tyler: We love a lot of the feedback we get on our videos, especially because it comes so quickly. It helps us know what people are enjoying and gives us ideas for what we can do as we go. The YouTube comment section, in general, gets a lot of flak for the immaturity seen from user comments. But, in spite of that, we get great engagement, comments, encouragement, and suggestions from our fans. [But] most of our interaction with fans actually comes outside of YouTube on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat. Codes [Cody Jones] likes doing that stuff the most, so he mostly runs our brand accounts, but we all hop on there from time to time to connect with folks. It’s awesome to have so many cool ways to meet people and make them laugh.
Jake: Where do you see areas of growth in the future of digital video? What’s next for Dude Perfect?
Tyler: We see nearly endless opportunity for what we can do moving forward. That will continue to include epic trick shots and stereotype videos, but we also look forward to being able to experiment with some new concepts that we are really excited about. I can’t share specifics about those just yet, but we will continue to be creative in our approach and everyone can look forward to us playing around with different long-form and short-form ideas, as well as focusing a little more on personality-driven content.
Jake: One thing I really appreciate is how clean your videos are and how natural they feel. As a parent, it’s nice to be able to laugh along and enjoy them with my kids. They are big fans, by the way. I am a Packers fan, but my two oldest kids are now huge Russell Wilson/Seattle Seahawks fans because of the video you did with him.
Tyler: We’re really glad that people feel like we are a safe, encouraging place to watch videos on YouTube. We often get asked about how clean we are and how/why we do our content that way, but it’s not anything we specifically plan out because it’s just a part of who we are—a part of our character and what we believe. So it doesn’t take any special effort or planning on our part because it’s natural. We think it’s important to have fun when you share your faith because joy is magnetic. People can tell when you are authentically joyful … and when you’re not. Our faith is important to us, as is sharing it with others. We are really blessed to have the opportunity to do so while having fun, and it’s opened a lot of doors.
Jake: Speaking of having fun, I love when you interview your guest stars because you always keep things loose by asking the Classic Desert Island Question. Do you get asked the same question a lot?
Tyler: Actually, since I’m usually conducting the interviews, I don’t very often have people ask me what I would take along.
Jake: So … if you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you have with you?
Tyler: Well, I’m an outdoors guy, so I’d have a bow and arrow so I could kill food for myself. Then, and this is kinda cheating the game, but I would have a boat of some kind so I could get off the island one day when I’m ready. And then I’d have a communication device of some sort—with unlimited battery power—so that I could get in touch with people and see how our latest video was performing.
Jake: That is totally cheating. Also, some might argue that a bow and arrow are separate items … but I won’t quibble. All right, one more for you: Which historical figure would you be most intimidated to leg wrestle?
Tyler: Samson. Hands down. Strongest dude in history.
Jake: I know he wasn’t the strongest ever, but what about Goliath?
Tyler: Sure, Goliath was a seriously big dude, but I think he was also cocky and overconfident, so I feel like I could take him. Plus he didn’t have God on his side like Samson did. Maybe I’d bring some scissors to the match with Samson so I could even the playing field a bit.