Daniel Issac is a jack of all trades. A renaissance man. He’s a man of large stature and even larger personality. He brings fun and energy to the room and he can rewire just about anything. His background in stunts and pranks leaves you constantly wondering what is going to happen next when you’re with him.
Daniel has worked incredibly hard, smart and has made friends in all the right places. Wearing a sweater that only he could pull off, he stopped in to tell us about his wild journey and what he sees for the future.
If you could learn the answer to one question about your future, what would that question be?
Danny:Will I still be alive? I feel like people die young. I just want to know how long I’m going to live. Always wanted to know that.
Would you make different decisions about your life if you knew when you were going to die?
Danny: It just depends on when I was going to die. If I was going to die tomorrow, I’m going to spend all my money. If I was going to die in 10 years from now, I’m going to start being healthy so maybe I can extend life.
I remember bumping into a friend of mine at the Hard Rock Seminole Casino. I grew up with him, his name was Paul. I hadn’t seen him in a few years and he took off his hat and he was bald and he said, “I’m going to die this week.” I was like, “What?” He was such a character and always so funny. A week later I found he died. Since then it just made me think about death all the time. I know it happens but you never know when.
If you could call anyone in the world and have an hour-long conversation with them, who would it be?
Danny: If I was to be able to talk to anybody in the whole world, dead or alive, I would actually talk to my dad. I would like to talk to my dad or living, maybe Steve O from Jackass.
What would say to your dad?
Danny: I would ask him “is it passed down from generation to generation?” I always wanted to know whether his father was a pimp, or if we just can’t fall in love. That’s the one question I always had because he was always cheated on my mom. I feel like I don’t want to be a cheater, but I want to know if it’s hereditary.
What’s the furthest you’ve been from home?
Danny: If I take one more step, I’d probably be the furthest I’ve been from home right now. [laughter] Okay, all right, redo. The furthest I’ve ever been from home would definitely be Israel. I guess that is being home because I’m Jewish but Yeah, that’s the furthest I’ve ever been from home.
What would your best friends say are your three best qualities?
Danny: I hope they would say that I can fix anything. I never lie about a story. When I tell stories they always say, “If he says it, it’s true.” And I think they would say I am a good friend.
Where did you go on your first date?
Danny: I actually took out two girls. I’m not kidding. I had saved change for months. I only wanted to take one girl and I wound up taking out two. They were the most beautiful women. I couldn’t have gone on a better date. Didn’t score with either of them, didn’t kiss them or anything but that was my first date. I was in seventh grade and they were both in eighth grade.
What is your favorite t-shirt?
Danny: I have so many vintage t-shirts but I really like my Barbara Streisand t-shirt. Women tend to really love that t-shirt. And my mom loved Barbara Streisand, so it’s my favorite shirt.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Danny: It’s a good question because I’m constantly sleeping. I love sleeping. If you took that away from me, I’d probably be building or trying to work out or maybe mingling and meeting new people.
How many hours a day do you sleep?
Danny: A lot. I sleep as long as I possibly can until something comes up that I have to do.
If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Danny: I would choose something with pot in it because at least it’ll be fun food. I would say some chocolate edibles, some kind of seafood and then maybe Thai food.
If I gave you a million dollars to do something charitable, what would you do with it?
Danny: I would take the money, go to downtown LA, find somebody on skid row that’s extremely intelligent and shouldn’t be there and help them get their life started. I’d buy them a house and I’d tell them, “Listen, you get to pick three friends to live with you,” and just see how that works out.
If you could prank anybody in the world, who would you love to prank?
Danny: I would prank all world leaders. Do something terrible and make them think they’ve just ended the world or something and see their reactions.
How did you originally get into stunts and pranks and things like that?
Danny: My best friend Shaun Vickers moved from Miami to LA to work with his father, Jim Vickers who is a very high end stunt coordinator. He’s one of the best in the business. Shaun was working with him for about 10 years and I kept saying, “Dude, I want to move out there, I want to move out there.” He would say, “If you really want to do it, you can do it.” Then one day, everything went to hell in Florida. I hated where I was at the time. I love Florida, that’s my favorite place in the world, but just the timing was so perfect and he moved me out. I got into stunts. The first show I ever worked on was CSI Miami. I was really fortunate.
Then the prank stuff happened when I was approached by a very well-known company that does viral videos. I was approached to come up with ideas. The day I got to the office, I met with this guy who was one of the leads on their show and they were like, “Hey, we would like you to start filming and doing our pranks.” The first prank video I ever did for the company hit seven million views in two weeks. It was the biggest video that they had ever produced.
What’s your favorite stunt that you’ve performed?
Interviewer: There’s a few of them but, one of my favorites was the second stunt I ever did. It was on a show called Workaholics. I got in and there’s this tall gentleman standing there waiting for me. I was walking with my stunt coordinator. I walk in and I look at him and he’s like, “Hi I’m Daniel,” I’m like, “Hi I’m Daniel.” At the same time we stuck our hands out there, and I realized it was Daniel Stern from Home Alone and all these movies from when I was growing up. I was like, “Holy shit, this is real.” You never know who you’re going to work with but for me, it was something awesome.
We had a scene where he grabbed a fake gun out of my hand, flipped me over and threw me through a glass display case. It was my second stunt and I was really nervous. He’s such a seasoned actor and he knows what he’s doing and he made everything so easy on me. He had to kick me in a certain place so that I would fly through. He kicked the fucking shit out of me, and I went right through the glass display case. That would be my favorite stunt.
Who’s your inspiration in the stunt world?
Danny: I have two people that I’m inspired by in stunts. Obviously, the first one is Jim Vickers. He was Jim Carrey’s stunt double on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He’s now directing a bunch of stuff. He’s my number one. Then there’s a guy Phil Culotta that I really like. He was in all the movies I loved when I was kid, especially Monster Squad.
Do you enjoy acting or do you prefer stunts?
Danny: I feel like stunts is always going to be fun for me. As far as acting goes, I feel like it’s a lot easier than most people let on. I went to acting classes and I was like, “This is fucking easy.” I’ve been watching movies my whole life. I really like them both a lot, but I would say I like stunts a lot more.
Is there a stunt that you have not performed that you would like to do?
Danny: Yes. I would really like to be lit on fire. I know that sounds crazy to a lot of people but the technology is so incredible you can stay on fire for at least six, seven minutes and not feel a thing. I just think that would be really cool if I could get set on fire.
How did you get into toy collecting?
Danny: I was at a flea market called Melrose Flea Market and I saw a Teddy Ruxpin. I was like, “Holy shit, it’s Teddy Ruxpin.” I went to the lady and I’m like, “How much is he?” and she’s like, “$5.” I was like, “Well, you know what, I don’t need a teddy bear sitting in my room that’s kind of weird,” I walk away. I couldn’t help it but it was just calling me. I needed this. I ran back 10 minutes later and I’m like, “Let me get this Teddy Ruxpin. I had it when I was a kid.” It was in the most perfect condition, absolutely perfect.
The movie Ted had just come out, so I was curious about how much these things were worth. Online they were selling for around $150 to $300. I went to electronic school so I redid everything. I cleaned it, made sure it was working perfectly and put a guarantee on it. I said, “If this doesn’t work, I’ll refurbish it and I’ll fix for you.” I put that on eBay and the bids went up to $360. I paid $5 for it.
The next day I went on Craigslist and I bought every single Teddy Ruxpin, broken or not on Craigslist and I started flipping them. I started finding vintage toys and realizing these are really serious collectables. I would come across lots of Transformers and Ninja Turtles. I would flip and never really hold on to anything. Then I noticed the prices were skyrocketing every year. I started holding on to some stuff as a little investment and I’ve been adding ever since.
The house is on fire and you only have time to grab three toys, which ones do you get?
Danny: I’m grabbing my dog first of all, which is Tyson. I grab some family jewelry. As far as toys go, I probably grab the one toy I’ve had in my collection the whole time which is the least expensive, but it’s a slammer from pogs that I begged my mom to get me. Now that I think about it, she spent like $40 on this in 1993. It was just a piece of metal with a sticker on it but it’s the only toy I still own since I was a kid.
Who else inspires you?
My best friend Gashi, last year this guy didn’t know what to do with his life. He was really confused. Probably one of the sweetest people I have ever met my whole life. That’s why he is my best friend. He followed his dream for eight years, had so many downs and so many ups. His album is out now and called Stairs. He had to pretty much always take the stairs, never was given the elevator. I admire this guy so much because he went from eight years of hard work, not making it the way he wanted to, to now being signed under Roc Nation’s management and RCA and just killing it. His music is my favorite thing. I have a skit on the album that’s coming out, Stairs 2. I just want to go on record and say, check out his music and remember that if he can do it, and I’m successful, and I’m working my ass off, anybody can do anything.
Anything else you want to go on record about?
Danny: I moved to LA after choosing a bad career in Miami that made me a lot of money but wasn’t legal. I learned a lesson. I came out here and I just did everything I wanted to do. I’ve always hustled and I changed my life through moving. I had never been to California but this is the best move I ever made. I’ve now been on televisions shows. I am working with all types of people. I’ve made a lot of great friends. A lot of people appreciate my friendship.
It’s Hollywood so I’ve been finally getting out of the whole like, “This is going to happen. That’s going to happen,” and being promised so many things. I finally got to a point to where I just started doing stuff on my own. Recently I created a show with three kids that are pretty much just a beautiful family. I’m producing and directing. It’s a reality show about three kids just traveling the world and being a family together. They’re just absolutely incredible. They’re coming out in March and we’re going to start filming absolutely everything. They have places all over the world but the show isn’t just another show about people with money because that’s not really what it’s about. They go all around the world and are so different. It’s really cool. I think that people are really going to enjoy it. So keep an eye out for that.
To keep up with Daniel Issac and his collection follow him @ohidanny