Funny Or Die is ten years old this week. The comedy site's launch a decade ago almost didn't happen. Wired has compiled a definitive oral history of the site, right up through its most recent reset as Trump ascended to the Presidency.
Several comedy sites like Icebox came and went after chewing through VC in the dot-com bubble, so most creators were gun-shy until Channel 101 and sketch groups like The Lonely Island tried stripped-down productions mainly just for kicks.
ADAM McKAY (cofounder)
We were just like, “Whatever.” We remembered the first dotcom crash from the early 2000s, and we were superdubious.
WILL FERRELL (cofounder)
We’d seen a number of comedy websites that had failed, and we really weren’t convinced that the internet could be a destination for short-form comedy.
MICHAEL YANOVER [CAA agent]
It was stalled out until one seminal meeting when Will and Adam were barricaded in a room, writing the script for Step Brothers.
MARK KVAMME [Sequoia Capital]
When the writers are writing a movie, they go off and hole themselves up in some crazy place for weeks on end, so they can finish the script. And they were in the middle of writing, so we all piled into their room in this old, junky hotel.
Eventually, the financiers needed an answer, and we ultimately felt like we had nothing to lose. In hindsight, I guess we didn’t give ourselves enough credit for being able to create interesting and lasting material.
I did kind of miss doing sketches the way we used to do at SNL. Our manager Jimmy Miller was the guy who pushed us: “If you treat it as pure fun, this could be really cool for you guys.” And we liked the idea that anyone could put sketches up, that it was just an open door. If there’s a funny sketch, we’ll put it on the front page.
Bonus video: The Landlord: Criterion Edition
• Funny Or Die at 10: An oral history (Wired)
"I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most […]
The nonprofit organization to which I belong recently put the personal data of around 410,000 people on the internet, connected to interactive street maps of where they lived. The data includes their full names, date and place of birth, known residential address, and often includes their professions and arrest records, sometimes even information about mental […]
[Update 1-19-19: a Research Buzz commented that the site has malware. Caution is advised.] Here’s an incredible collection of digitized historical LPs you can listen to online. A lot of them remind me of podcast episodes, like this record about “big-lie-technique” master Senator Joseph R.McCarthy. This is a browser’s treat.
These days, there isn’t much our iPhone camera can’t do – except feel like an actual phone. Despite years of steadily increasing resolution and image sensing technology, we’re still taking shots awkwardly with two hands, fumbling for the shutter button. Leave it to an avid photographer to design Shuttercase, a versatile iPhone case that solves […]
Still determined to keep those New Year’s health resolutions? If you’re going to stick with the exercise plan, it’s enough of a challenge to budget your time. No need for your financial budget to take a hit, too. Here’s a more convenient – and cheaper – alternative to a gym membership or Peloton bike: Two […]
Want a career in web design? It’s true that these days, most anyone can throw up a page or two. But for true workhorse web design, you’ll sometimes need to match the platform to the project. Enter the Complete Front-End Developer Bundle, an educational grand tour around the best tools for the web. For beginners, […]