Back in the summer of 2007 I found myself out on the Warped Tour with Mike V and his band, Revolution Mother. It was a pretty wild summer. Lots of fun but definitely a grind too. Somewhere along the tour I caught word that two filmers were going to hook up with us for the final 5 shows of the tour to begin filming for an episode of Firsthand which airs on Fuel TV.
Greg Olliver and Jeremy Mack met up with us in Sacramento, CA, and began rolling tape and filmed every move of Mike and the band. Previously, I have always been behind the scenes when it came to working with Mike but some how or another I ended up being in front of the camera and having a semi-integral role in this episode of Firsthand. This was new to me.
When the Warped Tour ended, the cameras kept rolling. Greg and Jeremy kept filming for another five days or so. Skating, home life, hockey practice, building a launch ramp and more were all filmed for the show. One more segment for the show was Mike giving a tour of his warehouse where he had a mini ramp and stored a lot of his personal effects. “The Warehouse” as we called it was also where I was living and working out of at the time.
While the cameras were rolling, among other comedic verbiage, I mentioned “I’m kinda like the CEO!” of Mike V Inc and Mike immediately corrected me and informed me, “Larry, you are definitely NOT the CEO.” It was comedy gold and Greg knew he was on to something.
Mike’s Firsthand episode aired a few months later in the early months of 2008 on Fuel TV. All the while, Greg was shopping around the idea of making what he had captured, into a full-blown television series. He met with a few networks and a few months later, MTV decided they would give us a chance and shoot a pilot.
Later that summer, we had a week of production booked and it was time to get ready to film. I spent a week cleaning and prepping the warehouse, getting things organized; because the warehouse was going to be a type of “club house” for the show. The big day came; the first day of filming I got up pretty early, unlocked all the doors and two 15-passenger vans filled with camera crew, lighting technicians, audio technicians, production assistants and more came bouncing out and immediately got to work. There were also stunt coordinators, paramedics and a “safety advisor” of types, to immediately shut us down if he deemed anything to be too unsafe or dangerous for anyone there. The guys who were running the show from what I could tell were Greg Olliver who filmed the Firsthand episode as well as Joe DeVito (Viva La Bam) and Shane Nickerson (Rob & Big, Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory).
The first thing that was filmed was Mike giving some kind of “spoken word” intro to the show that ended up on the cutting room floor. After that, we got ready for the opening scene of the show that was going to involve me being on a very high ladder as well as jumping off the balcony inside the warehouse. I practiced my falls and jumps off an a-frame ladder into a big gymnast type mattress. After that, it was time to film the opening scene which was going to be of me, changing a very high light bulb on a rickety, old ladder, completed with Mike coming in, startling me and me dropping a long tube of fluorescent lighting on Mike’s back, shattering it all over the place. We then have a short conversation where I discover Mike has a fear of heights – then somehow the scene transitions into Mike going upstairs into my bedroom (at the warehouse), tears up my room, shreds my mattress, tosses it off the balcony and it hits me down below. And then he somehow makes me jump off the balcony onto my bedroom mattress below. Luckily, Mike was down below as he kept me from smashing my skull on the concrete as it whipped backwards during my landing.
For day two I was informed I was to go “dark.” What the hell does that mean? After some investigation I found out that meant I didn’t have any scenes or have to work that day so I went to Disneyland. While I was riding Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion and all the classics, Mike was at Rick Seaman’s Stunt Driving School at the Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, CA brushing up on some driving techniques he would need for the finale of the show.
Day three began with filming a scene with Mike meeting with stunt coordinator, Chris O’Hara, at Jersey Mike’s in Huntington Beach. Mike had met Chris from working on the movie, Paul Blart: Mall Cop a few months earlier. Mike was meeting with Chris to set up a stunt to help Mike get over his fear of heights and they scheme up a stunt where Mike would jump off a huge building and wham… fear of heights gone. I was asked to go away at some point during their convo so I wouldn’t hear part of their conversation so I knew I was going to be getting into some kind of surprise situation soon.
We bailed out of Jersey Mike’s and drove out to the docks in San Pedro where Mike would be jumping off a building. As I was pulling up to the location I noticed a few of the stunt coordinators pointing me out and having a laugh from afar. I was like “What the f#ck?” This was another clue that a surprise was coming.
Before long Mike was jumping out of this abandoned building, jumping from a few of the lower floors and then jumping from, if I’m remembering correctly, the 5th floor. Or was it the 7th floor? I can’t remember. After a few of Mike’s jumps he approached me with a box and said he knew I was probably feeling left out of the action. He gave me the box and told me to go inside and put on what was in the box. I went inside, opened the box to discover some type of spandex superhero costume. No way was I going to put this thing on. I poked my head out of the door, called Mike a dick and went back inside. I didn’t know what to do. I quickly decided I better play along and put on the costume before Mike kicked my ass. I went back outside, hammed it up a bit and everyone has a good laugh. “Super Larry” was born. Some people on the set even thought the large cup I was wearing was my actually junk which was pretty funny.
I was then told I was going to be jumping through a pane of “movie” glass for my big stunt of the day. Awesome. This was going to be fun. I knew it would be easy to jump through so I figured I’d make myself eat shit on the other side of the glass to try to make some funny TV. I ran full force at the glass and jumped up to smash though. Immediately upon impact I realized that this was not “movie” glass at all. It was six inch thick, unbreakable plexi glass. I bounced off the the glass, fell to the floor and felt like an asshole but went back for a couple more attempts at jumping through the glass for the cameras and the future home audience and for a good laugh. This was the secret surprise… everyone knew about the set up except me. Dicks!
I think later that day some of the family stuff was filmed out at Mike’s house but I can’t remember. Oh, I think we also filmed Mike wrecking my camping shower at the warehouse that day as well as Emily’s driving lesson.
Day four found us up and at ‘em at the break of dawn at an old Airforce base in Irvine, CA for the shows finally scenes involving lots of car stunts. The production crew was twice as big today and lots of the MTV head honchos were on the scene as well as some family and friends. The first stuff filmed that day was a simulated car chase which had me riding shotgun and Mike put his new stunt driving skills to work as we were chased by fake cops. This was a lot of fun to do but my role was to act scared so it probably looks painfully forced as I try to act scared. If you watch the video below Mike smashes through a dumpster and some other debris and it smashed the sideview mirror off the car and cracked out the windshield. Some of the glass flew into my open window and sliced up my arm.
The big finale was Mike was going to perform a car driving crash stunt called a “Sidewinder.” This involved Mike dressing in a full flame retardant suit, helmet and being totally strapped into the car as he drove 70 miles per hour off a ramp and crashed into a pile of cars. Pretty intense stuff. After a few drive up tests it was time to make the crash. It was over in a flash but it was very violent to watch and the noise of the cars crashing was super loud. There was a couple of intense moments as the safety crew ran up to check on Mike and while we waited to see if Mike was ok. A “thumbs up” emerged from the car and we knew he was fine. Mike is crazy!
Day 5 was some more filming at the house and a few other pick up shots and then that was it. We played the waiting game. I saw a few rough edits of the show and I heard they even test screened it for an audience at the University Of Colorado. From what I understand the show was slotted for a Fall release but it was up against the premieres of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and Nitro Circus. After months and months of waiting we were told the show wasn’t going to be picked up. Oh well, it was a lot of fun to shoot and be involved with making a pilot episode.
Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, for the first time seen anywhere… the sole episode of MIKE V VS THE WORLD…
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