Fetching Laughs

Fetching Laughs

By Danae Mercer, BA’09

A weekly show on Creighton’s student-run Internet radio station is helping students learn the art of comedy writing

“Mom, I’m single … not ‘footloose and fancy free.’”  

Dealing with exhausting comments by parents makes good fodder for FECH (Friday Evening Comedy Hour) — an hour-long sketch comedy podcast written, acted, produced and edited by Creighton students. The show runs weekly on BLUJ Radio, Creighton’s student-run Internet radio station.

The idea for the podcast started with a casual conversation between Josh Prenosil, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, and Ryan Cameron, a staff member in Creighton’s Division of Information Technology who serves as program moderator for BLUJ Radio.

“He was telling me about BLUJ Radio, and how awesome it was,” Prenosil recalls. “I told him how I was teaching this humor class and asked if he’d be interested in programming.”

He was, and Prenosil’s class got to work, developing two FECH episodes as a final class project. First, they listened to similar podcasts to better understand the genre. Then they began drafting scripts. Peer reviews and script readings followed. Finally, they learned to use a program to record and produce their skits.  

Now, roughly two years later, what began as a class project is now overseen by three students, who gain academic credit for their work: an executive producer, who keeps the production on schedule; a head writer, who works with a team of four of five student writers; and a media producer, who puts it all together.

In the process of working on FECH, students learn how to create professional-quality audio programming for a contemporary audience, think visually through an oral medium, and interact with each other on what’s actually funny.

“Through my involvement with FECH, I have learned to write scripts, work with a team, work with local talent, manage others effectively, and deal with the University,” says Leslie Majda, an English major and film studies minor who serves as FECH’s executive producer.

“But more than all that, FECH has taught me about myself and who I am as a person. It gave me lifelong friends, and helped me find a place here at Creighton.” Majda is currently applying to graduate programs with an aim of getting her master’s degree in screenwriting.

The show has also been extremely successful. BLUJ Radio “now ranks in the top 10 of all college radio programs on Internet streaming,” says Cameron. “Dr. Prenosil’s excellent leadership turned the program into a virtual ratings powerhouse. Between FECH and BLUJ Radio, there are close to 75 students involved, in some way, with the digital humanities.”

Prenosil will teach his humor writing class again in the fall of 2016, and hopes to introduce a new group of students to FECH and Internet radio.

“What we were doing, at first, might have seemed a bit odd to people who aren’t stand-up comedy fans, but Creighton has an open disposition toward new creative projects, especially when students get excited. It’s such a student-centered environment. It’s been a pleasure directing these students.”