Q&A with Dave and Jonnie of ‘The Buried Life’

Savannah Sawyer
Staff writer

Photo courtesy of Alex Green

Before The Buried Life event Tuesday night at the Curris Center, I was lucky enough to sit down with Dave Lingwood and Jonnie Penn and ask them about their experiences with the show and what their plans for the future are.

Read the full story here.

SS: How did you come up with the idea for the show?

JP: We were in our first years of college and were not satisfied with our lives and we wanted something more and what something more meant, we didn’t know so we just wrote out our wildest dreams then we decided to go after each and every one of them. Over the years we managed to get a lot of them done.

SS: What was your favorite thing you did on the show from your bucket list?

DL: Probably streak a stadium and then spending a night in jail for streaking a stadium. I was really proud of that. My parents were especially.

JP: Playing basketball with the President was pretty cool. That would be my favorite thus far.

SS: What was your favorite thing you did to help someone accomplish something off of their bucket list?

JP: My favorite thing was probably helping a boy named Lucas just outside of Washington, D.C. get a home for his Dad who had fallen into life on the streets after a tough divorce. Both of them were really nice guys and we were happy to help them.

DL: In the first season we helped a girl named Queen go to her moms grave, which she had never seen and never knew if she was really dead and didn’t really have closure on it so we were able to fly her to her moms grave.

SS: What is something you did that you wish would have made it on the show that didn’t?

JP: Well the funny thing about this project is, there is a TV show of it but it’s been our lived for almost 6 years now. We’ve done a whole bunch of things that don’t necessarily go on the TV show.

DL: I would say, I hate to go back to the streak but I’ll tell you, it gets me going. When we were in jail Duncan tried to start a gang with a group of drug dealers with were inside of our cell with us and I just thought that was priceless.

SS: What gave you the idea to do the college campus tour?

JP: When we started this, and we were first, second, third, and fourth year college students, the four of us at all different kind of parts of college, we felt like there was no venue to talk about doing a non-college experiment without people kind of being like ‘oh yeah, sure.’ So we wanted to use this opportunity to validate people’s whims. You know, if you’ve got something in the back of your mind that you want to do that seems crazy we want to go in person and tell you you’re not crazy, you should do it. ‘Cause a college education alone won’t necessarily get you a job, you got to be a little be crazy and a little bit daring to get what you want in the world today. School is an awesome, awesome way to set you up but you just need, I think, on top of that a little bit of nuts.

SS: What made you decide to come to Murray State University along with the other campuses you choose to visit?

DL: We got an invite.

JP: We were invited, that was a big one. But we also want to film a horror movie and we got here very late last night and drove in. On the drive we found some good inspiration for the horror movie we wanted to make.

DL: I was driving so fast, I was so scared.

SS: How did you feel when the show was canceled?

JP: They funny thing is, everyone was like “Oh my God,” but we’ve known for months and we have been working with MTV for months for the new show. I actually felt relieved because we got to a point by at the second season where it started to feel like to outdo ourselves after Obama and Playboy and all these kind of successes we’ve had in such a short amount of time it was like we were worried that we would have to fall into faking stuff. As you’ll hear about in our talk we do not want to fake stuff, we want to try to keep it as real as possible but now with this new format, it’s more about the real, behind the scenes, sort of.

DL: It’s kind of like the show we’ve always wanted to create. It’s more us instead of a format, if that makes sense.

SS: It has recently been brought to my attention that you signed a deal with MTVs cross-platform, MTVX to work on new shows and online projects. Can you make any comments about that?

JP: Basically “The Buried Life” is different from a lot of shows on television because we get to do things like this. You don’t just make a show you make a show and you want to support and meet the audience everywhere. MTV noticed that and have helped us develop our whole project to reach people on facebook, on Twitter, on television and at these live events. Try to make it something you can see and experience and feel as opposed to just watch on TV. Another good example is we’re doing a book this spring.

SS: Is there anything on your list that you have yet to complete?

JP: No. 100 go to space, No. 15 grow a mustache. The funny thing is, this isn’t even about the list for us it’s about the question what do you want to do before you die and we think as long as you’re asking yourself that question and you’re doing what you genuinely want to do, that’s a good place to be. We’ve completed way more than 100 things off of our list but as we grow up and learn more and evolve and the things that we want to do evolve. Just like playing basketball with the President, we added to the list, you know, a couple years in.

DL: The list is always evolving.

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