National Lampoon initiates 'Frat Chance'

Purchases comedy spec by Sam Elhag and Rex Perez

That raucous comedy fraternity has taken on a new pledge.

National Lampoon has purchased "Frat Chance," a spec comedy script written by Sam Elhag and Rex Perez. The laugh brand plans to produce and distribute the feature itself, taking solid aim at its core college-age demographic.

Playing in the same undergraduate sandbox as Lampoon's "Animal House" and "Van Wilder," "Frat Chance" follows the adventures of a nerd whose full-boat scholarship hinges on his joining a fraternity.

Elhag had a pre-existing relationship with National Lampoon. He created, a comedy site that Lampoon acquired in March 2007 and spun into the Drunk University Network, a collection of college-focused sites, a few months later. The student shenanigans detailed on Elhag's site inspired much of the script's material.

By acquiring, Lampoon harnessed the grassroots nature of the Web and re-embraced its comedy roots by nurturing homegrown talent bred on its decades-old brand. National Lampoon Press subsequently published Elhag's brainchild "Pimp It Yourself!" with plans to morph the book into a television series. Other cross-bred projects are in the works that take advantage of the company's XM radio channel, book publishing, TV and film production and video networks.

"Finding and incubating talent and providing them with the opportunities and projects to allow them to grow within National Lampoon was a founding tenet of this brand," CEO Daniel Laikin said.

National Lampoon plans to release as many as a dozen movies a year, including four originals. Lampoon's first in-house production, "National Lampoon's Bag Boy," bows on DVD in mid-June.