DANIEL ZAAS / Lantern photographer
Today is the youngest you will ever be. This is the motto four friends who make up “The Buried Life” have embraced.
The cast of MTV’s “The Buried Life” visited Ohio State’s campus Tuesday. Jonnie Penn and Dave Lingwood, two members of the cast, talked to The Lantern before the show.
Before their show, Penn and Lingwood sat inside a private room in the Ohio Union enjoying Raising Cane’s chicken fingers for the first time.
The other two members of the cast, Duncan Penn and Ben Nemtin were in sound check during the interview.
The four friends grew up in British Columbia, Canada where they started a multimedia company named “The Buried Life.”
The idea for the name originated from a poem of the same name written in 1852 by Matthew Arnold.
Jonnie Penn said the poem was “serendipitously” assigned to him in English class and spoke to the idea of feeling lost or disconnected, detached and buried.
The guys came up with a list titled, “100 Things To Do Before I Die.” They travel across North America in a purple bus they refer to as “Penelope.”
As they try to cross things off their list, they ask strangers, “what do you want to do before you die?” For every item they cross off their list, the guys help a stranger achieve something they dream of doing.
Lingwood said their list is constantly changing.
“We are always taking things off and putting new things on. It’s a list of 100 because that’s easy to tell people, but it’s really about going after what you’re passionate about,” he said.
The guys turned down their first TV deal because they felt it would take the show in a direction they didn’t want to go.
“We don’t allow MTV to give us any help making our goals or crossing them off, but they do pay for our gas and our friends who are cameramen to follow us,” Lingwood said.
Lingwood said allowing MTV to help make things happen would take away from the entire point of the show, which is to show people they can do anything they want.
“The whole point was to let other young people see themselves and us and be like, ‘if I went balls to the wall to play basketball with the president maybe I could do it,'” Jonnie said.
In fact, the cast did try to play basketball with the president.
“Everybody told us it was never going to happen, including them (Obama’s administration). It all fell apart and then for months it was off, but then it happened. … We just keep going until something is crossed off,” Lingwood said.
Lingwood said his favorite thing he has done so far is crash a party at the Playboy Mansion.
The next stop for “The Buried Life” tour is New York City, where they have just signed a book deal, another thing on their bucket list, Lingwood said.
The book is targeted to hit the shelves in spring of 2012.
“We want to grow this bigger than it is and let other people join and tell their stories. We want to find a way of empowering everyone and the best stories that happen we put into the show,” Jonnie said.
Jonnie said running “The Buried Life” project fills his days.
“This is our college now, I’ve learned more in the last five years doing this than in the three years I spent in school,” he said.