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'The MB Tuna Melt' Gleefully Skewers Manhattan Beach

Nov 08, 2021 12:20PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
There's a new Manhattan Beach "news" source in town, and it's less factual (but arguably much funnier) than DigMB.

Enter The MB Tuna Melt, a news parody feed on Instagram that gleefully skewers all things Manhattan Beach with the tagline "Manhattan Beach News You Can't Trust."

Much like Ian Freshman's The Bubble or the anonymously published Bubble Mama, the MB Tuna Melt knows its subjects.

In its short life on Instagram, the MB Tuna Melt has already taken on the West Manhattan Beach/East Manhattan Beach divide; parents in supercharged SUVs and Teslas; weekend warrior athletes; and the ultimate Manhattan Beach dads' rite of passage: the Adventure Guides weekend in Yucaipa (if you know, you know). 

To learn more about the latest entry on to the Manhattan Beach "news" scene, DigMB spoke with MB Tuna Melt creator (and Manhattan Beach resident) Zane Stoddard. 

DigMB: So, are you a Manhattan Beach resident? What's your "day job"?

Zane Stoddard: I've been a Manhattan Beach resident for a decade, and in the South Bay for two decades. I am a sports and entertainment executive, formerly at the NBA, NIKE and NASCAR. I love writing and I love humor. Hence, the Tuna Melt.

DigMB: How did you get inspired to start MB Tuna Melt?

ZS: First off, I absolutely love Manhattan Beach. I think it's one of the most special places in the world, and I feel entirely blessed to live here. In some weird way, the jokes celebrate how much I love this place. 

I have this ongoing cycle of ridiculous (to me) observations rattling around my head. A lot of people take themselves very serious around here. Half of this town understands how ridiculous it is here, while the other half doesn't really. I thought it would be fun to throw some caution to the wind and make fun of ourselves. Let's be honest, we are blessed beyond understanding here. There's going to be some indulgence that's worth making fun of. Most of my friends don't think my observations are funny, so I thought I'd throw a few ideas out there, at the very least express myself and have some fun, and maybe find a few kindred spirits. 

DigMB: How long have you been producing it, and is it in some form other than Instagram?

ZS: I've had unbaked observations like these in my head for years. The Tuna Melt has been a thing for all of a month. You get older and you don't care as much about what other people think. So it was time to throw a ridiculous name on it and start posting. 

It's on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but the focus is on Instagram. The form feels best on there. 

DigMB: Where do you get your inspiration for your stories from?

ZS: The inspiration is all around. All the nooks and crannies with the people, the culture, the activities. There's a lot of easy targets if we turn around and look at ourselves. This is a very unique place.

The jokes are of course caricatures, but most often with a seed of truth. That's what makes them fun - to me. I'm the material for half the jokes. 

DigMB: Do you get feedback from friends/fans/followers - and do they submit ideas to you?

ZS: More and more, people are sending ideas. So far, I haven't gotten to use any yet. But I absolutely want to. The site is so new and small, but it'd be really fun if it got to a place where people are tossing in ideas, and everyone feels a part of it. That'd be the best.

DigMB: It seems like East Manhattan is an ongoing target of MB Tuna Melt jokes - do you live in East Manhattan?

ZS: I live in tony West Manhattan. Someone asked me if I thought it was too mean to make fun of East Manhattan. I honestly told them I've never even heard of anyone refer to "East" or "West" Manhattan. We live on properties the size of Triscuits over here, while they have yards and pools. And you can walk from one side of town to the other. I just thought it'd be fun to riff on the "other side of the tracks" trope...and to pick a fight where one doesn't exist.

DigMB: Do you have any plans to take MB Tuna Melt bigger - maybe merchandise, etc?

ZS: When I started, I told a friend it doesn't matter if anyone likes it or not (probably 37% true). I really just wanted an outlet to make some jokes that I like, and if it resonated with others, that would be fun. But there's been zero master plan. 

I've thought about a little merch for fun. I have no idea if anyone would care to buy it, but it would be fun to spot one or two hats around town, kind of a wink and a nod to our snarky little cabal.

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