America’s favorite dudebro is back with a hit show and a shout
out to the iconic MTV Sports.
TruTV bills itself not as reality TV, but as “Actuality.”
True that. Its new hit series, Guinness World Records®
Gone Wild, scored a whopping 1.4 million viewers in its debut
episode, featuring daring and fearless recordholder hopefuls
attempting to make witness and secure their place in history.
The host of this series knows his fill about actuality
mixed with wild. As host of MTV Sports back in the Nineties,
Dan Cortese helped forge a new kind of X-treme television. Here, he
keeps that legacy alive as he introduces us (again) to some truly
outrageous and jaw-dropping stunts. Examples: most panes of glass
run though in one minute. Highest dive into twelve inches of water.
Most kicks to the head in one minute.
The show is indeed a real kick in the head.
“It’s big, it’s loud, it’s fun, it’s really cool to
watch,” Cortese tells me. “[The contestants are] ordinary people who
are intrigued by this and want to be the best in the world. They get
a Guinness World Record certificate and they’re proud of it. They
take these records extremely seriously. They’re not just out there
jumping around and wanting to be on TV. They are unique, real people
who actually want to be a world record holder.”
holds his own record as well. The son of a Sicilian immigrant (who
became a suburban Pittsburgh school principal), Dan shot to stardom
with the groundbreaking MTV Sports in 1992.
He recalls, “I went from being a production assistant on
MTV on a Tuesday, and on Friday I shot the pilot for MTV Sports.
It was not an overnight success. It was more like 72-hour success.
There is nothing that can prepare you for it. And that show was
He means “visible” in more ways than one. The series took
MTV’s famous visual imagery to new heights, as the camera fused
music video into the world of sports and athleticism. Add in a
soundtrack of alternative music, and you’re attracting Gen X in a
big way. Cortese rode the flame of fame much like the gonzo athletes
soaring in the series. The show, like the camera filming it, took on
a life of its own.
For the past few years, Cortese has made a name for
himself as an actor, appearing in such TV ventures as Veronica’s
Closet and Rock Me, Baby. Only now can he look back at
the show that made him a star and see clearly now.
“I can finally look at that show and say it was
groundbreaking,” he says. “That really was the first show to give
those types of extreme sports the spotlight. And just like
Guinness, those [MTV Sports athletes] were doing it
because they loved to do it. They were getting no money. It gave
that whole generation of extreme sports athletes a voice.”
That generation also took away a TV persona that Cortese
created practically on his own.
“The in-your-face host,” he recalls. “I think it’s been
taken a little too far now. But that’s what attracted me to this new
show. I have free range to just go out there and enjoy myself.”
How can he not, while watching, along with us, the most
arrows caught while blindfolded or the most live cockroaches held in
“This is not your mother’s Guinness World Records,” he says.
“This is Guinness World Records Gone Wild. It’s not just
somebody with the longest fingernails. It’s taken this concept to
the whole next level.”
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