Entertainment

Who is CouRage? How an esports fanatic became a streaming legend

by Jacob Hale

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You may know Jack ‘CouRage’ Dunlop as one of your favourite Fortnite streamers, but since discovering competitve gaming with Halo 3, he has played a part in both the growth of esports and livestreaming.

CouRage cites Halo 3 as the game that was responsible for “truly changing his life” in 2007. It was the first game he fell in love with, and the title with which he discovered the glory of competitive gaming, attending his first MLG event in Meadowlands in 2009.

Never one to stick with one game though, CouRage moved onto playing Call of Duty, but it was the release of Fortnite in September 2017 that helped him become the phenomenon he is today. His stream following grew by millions and he became recognized as both an entertainer and a supremely skilled player. 


Interning at MLG

MLG/YouTube
MLG/YouTube
CouRage got his start in esports broadcasting on MLG's Esports Report

While he had enjoyed playing Halo back in the day, it wasn't until 2014 that Jack made his first real step into turning a beloved hobby into a potential career when he was invited to be a summer intern at Major League Gaming.

His first foray into entertainment was with MLG’s daily Esports Report, filling in for a sick Chris Puckett. He did such a good job that he was invited to be a co-host on the show for the next six weeks, before returning to college as an electronic media and film major at Towson University, Maryland.

Such was the impression that CouRage had left on the audience and his fellow MLG staff, however, that he was invited to join the broadcast talent team at MLG’s first event of the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare season, MLG Columbus.

Believing that he was capable of commentating, CouRage threw himself into the deep end and, as would become obvious in the next few years, he came out on top.


Casting

MLG
MLG
CouRage has been the voice behind some of the biggest moments in esports history.

CouRage quickly rose through the ranks at MLG, and by the time Black Ops 3 rolled around, he was a main event commentator, the one that fans wanted to watch. His work, commonly alongside Clint ‘Maven’ Evans, became an essential part of the Call of Duty esports show.

A natural-born entertainer, he broke the expectations of esports commentary, providing a much-needed element of juvenile fun with his over-the-top enthusiasm and questionable catchphrases and sayings.

Jack started streaming when he wasn’t commentating, playing wager matches with pro players and leading personalities in the CoD esports scene – it seemed a natural fit for him from the off.

For two years CouRage was on and off streaming whilst working with MLG before he took the biggest and bravest step of his career.

Joining OpTic Gaming

HECZ/YouTube
HECZ/YouTube
CouRage formed a frendship with current NRG co-CEO Hector "H3CZ" Rodriguez in his time with OpTic.

On March 2, 2018, CouRage officially announced that he was going to be leaving MLG and esports commentary, before revealing on March 12 that he was to join OpTic Gaming as a full-time streamer. 

His streaming efforts had grown since the release of Fortnite Battle Royale in September 2017, and joining OpTic was a landmark moment, representing the incredible efforts Jack had made in recent years to grow his personal brand and become an entertainer in his own right.

This was the start of something truly incredible for CouRage – he hadn’t taken the traditional route, but he was now a full-time content creator for OpTic Gaming and his stream immediately became even more popular than it already was. 

He had been gifted with the OpTic juice and he took his opportunity and amplified it to 11, becoming one of the fastest-growing streamers on Twitch and immediately integrating himself into a solid community with some of the biggest names on the platform.

One of the turning points in CouRage’s career came very early in his OpTic Gaming tenure – at the end of March 2018, he was hosted by Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins for over 130,000 viewers whilst playing Fortnite. At the time – and even now – a Ninja raid is just about all a streamer could ask for to see success, and CouRage took advantage of the opportunity perfectly.

In November 2018, only eight months after joining, it was announced that CouRage was leaving OpTic to fly solo, and so began the most fruitful period of CouRage’s life and career so far.

Going solo

CouRageJD/Twitch
CouRageJD/Twitch
CouRage was fast-becoming one of Twitch's most popular faces.

There was no doubt that CouRage had all the makings of a premier-level Twitch streamer, and within a few short months of joining OpTic, it became clear that he didn't need the backing of an organization.

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On March 12, 2018, CouRage had 142,000 followers on Twitch. By the time he officially left the organization on November 16, 2018, he had surpassed one million followers, with that figure more than doubling in the 11 months since.

With the emergence of Fortnite esports, CouRage has had the opportunity to return to the casting desk and bring his fun, energetic style of commentary to an international audience that may have only previously watched his streams. He would call the action as $100m was shared between some of the world’s best Fortnite players.

He became a force much like he was in Call of Duty. As well as being one of the most popular streamers of the game that had taken over the world, he was the face that viewers expected to see on the desk when watching a Fortnite tournament. 

Joining 100 Thieves

CouRage joined 100 Thieves, one of the fastest-growing organizations in esports.

Not long after CouRage left OpTic, rumors surfaced that he was going to be joining 100 Thieves, the organization ran by OpTic’s former star Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag. It was a slow burner, but they officially announced that CouRage would be joining on May 28, 2019, in a truly next-level esports content matchup.

In the months since, CouRage has become more than just a streamer or a commentator – he’s become a mainstream star. This is no more evident than in his (perhaps not real) relationship with pop sensation Ariana Grande, who he has always had an affection for.

On August 7, 2019, CouRage released a parody video of her new single Boyfriend, featuring Ariana herself. It was a clash between two worlds that seemed destined to never cross, but on a deeper look, it reflects everything Jack embodies. He pokes fun at himself, he has a mind for content unlike any other, and he puts himself in positions that he knows will help him grow, much like all those years ago when he first interned at MLG.

Now, CouRage is one of the most followed personalities on Twitch and is a name that has become synonymous with streaming and gaming. He’s a character that transcends the industries in which he belongs and will continue to break barriers in gaming and esports.

Taking over

CouRage's life motto is a simple one: "Don't take part, take over." It's something that he has repeated time and time again throughout his short streaming career, a saying that he reiterates every time he hits a major milestone. He's even been teasing a merchandise line called "Take Over", proof of his commitment to the phrase.

Taking over is something he has done almost naturally, and his success is a direct result of his innate abilities as a gamer, a broadcaster and a person.

CouRage's unrelenting energy, with the pterodactyl screeching and natural juvenile excitement, is a trait he has brought to every walk of life – in streaming, casting, and the real world. His understanding of every platform he utilizes is second to none. Neither is his ability to plug his channels at every available moment, be it with his gifts to his friends or in 100 Thieves founder Nadeshot's vlogs.

MLG
MLG
CouRage has been working in the industry since 2014.

He has surrounded himself with the right people from the get-go – from teaching professional Halo players StarCraft II in his younger years, to befriending streamers such as Ninja and Timthetatman, and hiring Swpah as an editor to bring his YouTube content up a level. These are all well-calculated moves that have seen Jack go from Halo fan to Call of Duty caster, and superstar streamer in the space of 10 years.

His self-deprecating humor makes him instantly likable, and the storylines he builds through his content make it near-impossible to get bored of. His ability to poke fun at his weight or his inability to get a girlfriend is endearing, but also completely relatable for the average viewer – no matter how successful he becomes, he feels like a regular person, just like anybody else tuning in.

You can simply look at his relationship with Connor, a young Fortnite player who accidentally fell into Jack's hands and the hearts of his thousands of viewers, to see that the man knows what makes people tick. Their ongoing friendship, which most closely resembles a relationship between two brothers, is symbolic of the kind of person CouRage is.

And that's exactly what makes him the legend he is today.