Picture this: you are a tattoo artist and you are heading for a walk-in tattoo day. Your first customer walks up and he’s a tough biker, so you’re like, âPhew, that’s gonna be a piece of cake. This guy is going to sit like a rock. You set up your station, put on the stencil and draw your first line. Then all hell breaks loose. Your client flips a switch and starts screaming like a banshee as you calmly and professionally try to get the job done. As he struggles and moans like you’re ramming a machete through his skin, you wonder, “Is this guy real?” Am I the victim of a prank? ”
Yeah. You’ve been tricked by the one and only Jesse Sebastiani, known on social media as MTV Jesse. âOne of my favorite pranks was the tattoo parlor,â Sebastiani says. “I had a Care Bear tattooed on my ass and I just screamed at the top of my lungs every time [the artist] touched me the needle. It’s one of those things you just have to watch, but I think it’s really funny and I want to do it again.
Sebastiani started playing pranks as a teenager, and while still in high school he set himself a goal of reaching Steve-O’s achievement levels. âMy two best friends and I ended up producing and filming our own show,â Sebastiani says. âThe show was called ‘Careless Teens’ and it aired on MTV in Canada. Imagine a low budget “Jackass”, but not as good. Just a bunch of kids running around and stinging nuts on wooden planks in the forest. We did a lot of bullshit.
Although Sebastiani’s show only lasted one season, it opened the door to a future on camera. After âCareless Teens,â Sebastiani went on to film a Facebook documentary, âSaved By the Status,â which followed him for 100 days on the road, traveling all provinces in Canada using Facebook statuses to find housing, food to eat and modes of transportation. Along the way, Sebastiani teamed up with fellow creator Kyle Forgeard, who had just started forming his YouTube channel, NELK.
âA fan of my show and his channel brought us together,â Sebastiani says. âI watched his channel and decided to come up with some ideas. I wrote down some things that I knew I could do and said, ‘Hey, I can get on fire. Letâs blame some people who smoke cigarettes. We shot this, it was funny, and a few weeks later we moved to LA together.
Sebastiani and Forgeard may have started their time in Los Angeles as little fish in a big pond, but the pond they chose was quickly a game-changer. âWe saved all our money and stayed at a place called 1010 Wilshire,â Sebastiani explains. . âI had this cheap mentality where I was like, ‘We shouldn’t stay here, we can’t afford to.’ But, putting ourselves in the thick of the action when we were little and hungry was the smartest thing we could have done. Ghostface Killah was our neighbor and we were going to rooftop happy hours with the producers, so staying in that building really did wonders for us.
Sebastiani and his team started running and in their first three weeks they hit the content jackpot. As a creator, regardless of your level of experience, it can be hard to predict which videos are going to explode and this prank had all the right ingredients. âOur Coke prank to date is our biggest video,â Sebastiani says. âIt got us in the news and the video got, like, 140 million views on Facebook. We borrowed my friend’s car, filled the back with cans of Coke, drove down to Venice Beach and asked the people if they wanted âCoke.â We set up our cameras, the cops surrounded our car and we played pranks on the cops. We ended up being detained, but it really put us on the map and we got it. used video to leverage collaborations and move the chain back up. â
Sebastiani continued to aim for the pinnacle of Coke’s video success, a choice that took him to some pretty wild places. Things don’t always go as planned and he has had to come to terms with the consequences as they arise. âEverything happens for a reason, it was really bad to be arrested for the prank I did in Ohio,â Sebastiani said. âAt the last minute, we had a coveralls, fake blood and a shovel. Then I walked into a Barnes and Noble and asked for the section on âHow to Cleanse a Body for Dummiesâ. Someone took me seriously and sent a SWAT team. Helicopters surrounded us and I went to jail. I was only there for a day and a half, but I waited eight months for the trial.
Making time, even just 36 hours, would throw in the towel for many pranksters, but the thrill of his brief time in prison only fueled Sebastiani’s fire. He is fully determined to take his career to the next level. âI worked on a new show for FULL SEND called ‘SHITHOLE’,â explains Sebastini. âPeople see us as those drunk, partying dudes playing pranks, but they don’t really see the business side of what we do and how much of a production it is. This show follows the behind the scenes of the brand, designs, productions and business of everything I do. I hope to continue and make it a seasonal format. Then just start working on multiple shows, I think there might be dozens of shows in the works.
Thanks to NELK and FULL SEND, Jesse Sebastiani has become one of the most recognizable faces in YouTube’s burgeoning joke community. He’s come a long way, both in terms of exposure and mileage, with what he’s cooked, and that’s just the start. Sebastiani makes us ruminate on what he’s going to do next, whether it’s prank the next sexy rapper or get a tattoo in a helicopter. Whatever he does, you know we’ll be watching.