funny or die

Inside Funny Or Die’s Celeb-Filled Video Production House

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Funny Or Die has spent the last six years making some of the funniest content on the web, and unlike a lot of the new media companies that have popped up lately, it’s done so without leaning on YouTube for distribution. Instead, Funny Or Die has relied on hilarious, celeb-filled videos to drive content to its own website.

The concept behind Funny Or Die was spawned kind of from Hot Or Not, according to CEO Dick Glover. At the time it was formed, there weren’t all the social media outlets that we have today, and there was no real place on the web to find all the best comedy content. So they set out to build it.

The Funny Or Die headquarters is surprisingly small, but within a constrained space, the writing and production team are able to churn out upwards of 20 to 25 videos a month. That’s because the team has kept scrappy and small, with a kind of startup mentality you might not expect from a media company that has celebrities dropping in all the time.

“The nice thing about Funny Or Die is that everything is produced in-house, so all of the writers, directors, producers, and editors — they’re all under one roof literally,” Mike Farah, the company’s head of production, told me.

So how does Funny Or Die get so many stars to participate? Glover says it’s able to do so by giving them the freedom to create content that they can’t do anywhere else. That sort of creative freedom is appealing to celebs who might want to work on something different than what they usually are known for.

“The incentive for them is they can do whatever they want and that’s a powerful incentive,” Glover said. “This is a community where by and large, that’s not the case with them. Yes, they can pick and choose their projects, but once you’re into a project you’re getting notes from six different people and you have demands from other people.”

That’s attracting big-name talent to work with Funny Or Die, which in turn is attracting viewers and outside investment. Last year, it got some strategic funding from Turner.

Check out the video above, which is the last in our series on the new digital media companies in Los Angeles. And be sure to watch all the others that we’ve published previously to learn more about how a whole new video ecosystem is forming in the city: