Student starts Internet comedy series ‘Life is F.M.eral,’ draws inspiration from WTUL

Alec Schwartzman, Print Arcade Editor

Junior Jonathan Dale, an English major from Chicago, expected to follow the normal path of a Tulane student.

“I was initially going to have an internship over the summer,” Dale said. “That’s what my parents wanted me to do. I did not end up getting any, so I just picked this thing up as a dumb idea that I ended up sticking with.”

Dale’s “dumb” idea blossomed into the Internet comedy short series “Life is F.M.eral.” The series follows Buttheads, a floundering college radio show on the fictional 91.5 WACK station. The three disc jockeys face issues like low ratings, volatile guests and dwindling budgets. Of course, they also grapple with the inevitable college-station decision between putting on a good radio show or just messing around. Dale draws partly from Tulane’s own WTUL, even using its trademark 91.5 frequency.

“It was all inspired by me visiting my friends during their radio show,” Dale said. “I thought it would be cool to base something loosely on that. I have never actually worked with WTUL, and they didn’t let me film in their studio over the summer, which made me mad for a second.”

Dale still managed to find a spot on campus to film with a self-built set.

“We filmed in Norman Mayer, just like in some random room,” Dale said. “We started filming in Loyola’s radio station, but that was a strange space. It didn’t work out.”

Dale filmed three episodes over the summer, taking advantage of the lack of classes in session. Even so, organizing the entire cast proved to be difficult at times. The main core, all unpaid actors, included Tulane students Annie Russell, Becca Greaves, Khiry Armstead and Jamie Joyce.

“We all had a lot of fun playing around with Jon’s writing, and everyone brought their own unique style to the show,” Greaves said. “There are some impressively talented people at Tulane, and it was awesome to collaborate with them.”

Despite already having a stellar cast, Dale has left the door open for future contributors.

“It’s set in a radio station, so that gives me a lot of opportunities to bring on guests,” Dale said. “It’s a loose format, so it gives me a lot of flexibility in different things. I’m not set in a rigid structure.”

Dale, a member of Tulane’s Etch-a-Sketch comedy group, performs standup comedy, as well, perusing open-mic nights at Carrollton Station, Hi Ho Lounge, and the Tulane Hillel. ‘Life is F.M.eral’ marks Dale’s first foray into film.

“This was good just to get my feet in the water, to see just how hard it is to make something even if it’s six minutes,” Dale said. “It gave me a respect for all the pieces needed to make a video.”

Watch episode one “Spoiled // Budget Meeting” on vimeo.com.