Chances are if you run in to Richy Sandman and Mark Reynolds on the streets of Adelaide, they’re in the middle of a prank. They made international waves when they filmed and uploaded gags to their YouTube channel, The Royal Stampede. In 2013, their video Ronald McDonald Attacks Grandpa went viral, with 11-million views on YouTube. Buoyed by the response, they continued pulling pranks and now have more than one million subscribers and more than 200 million views worldwide. Their antics (and devoted following) caught the eye of MTV Australia who commissioned them to produce a web series. It went gangbusters.
Not bad for a pair of blokes from the Adelaide Hills. The duo met at Belair Primary School and became firm mates at Blackwood High School. Both loved film and Richy set up their original YouTube channel in 2010. Inspired by the Jackass style of filming, they filled it with skits and gags.
“It started with friends and family watching it then it spread throughout our school and friendship groups, through Adelaide and then to the States where our biggest audience is,” Richy says. “That style of video is very popular over there, especially in California. We plugged away for a few years without huge results then a couple of videos just snowballed into a big audience.”
It was a labour of love. “We stayed quite persistent with our uploads,” Mark says. “In the early days it was a bit of a grind. The subscribers started to grow. There was a time there when we were on about 60,000 subscribers. Six months later we reached half a million. It happened really quickly.”
Their pranks include tricking Geordie Shore reality TV star Scottie T into thinking he
was being pursued by an obsessed fan; a break-dancing grandma; and an elaborate toxic waste gag. “We have very weird, interesting creative minds.”
Managing the responses from unsuspecting victims is a challenge but most people see the funny side, and the duo gets a kick out of bringing laughter into the world.
They currently live in Adelaide but have plans to make a temporary move to Los Angeles early next year.
“Compared to Sydney or Melbourne – Adelaide is actually quite a difficult city to film in. Having said that, we get it completed but it takes a bit more time. When we film overseas or even interstate we can get videos filmed a lot quicker because there’s more people around,” Mark says. “The States is where it all happens. Not only can we film videos there and have really good locations, we can meet and collaborate with a lot of people working in the same industry.”
Are their parents proud?
“Early on they weren’t sure about it. They questioned it at the start but now they’ve seen a bit of success they’re all for it.”