Funny or Die
|Founded||California (April 2007)|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Key people||Adam McKay
Funny or Die is a comedy video website founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's production company, Gary Sanchez Productions with original and user-generated content. Funny or Die contains exclusive material from a number of famous contributors (e.g. Judd Apatow, James Franco) and also has its own Funny or Die Team, which creates original material for the site. Many clips on the site feature well-known actors (examples include Charlie Sheen, Ryan Gosling, Patrick Stewart, Daniel Radcliffe, Mila Kunis, Hilary Duff, Adam West, Jim Carrey and Jerry Seinfeld). Michael Kvamme, an aspiring young comedian, came up with a concept for a new kind of comedy site and the site was developed by Randy Adams. Videos are voted on by users of the site; those that are deemed funny stay, but those that are not "die" and are relegated to the site's "crypt". The title is a reference to the well known political cartoon, Join, or Die.
The site's first video, "The Landlord", has received over 70 million views and features Ferrell confronted by a swearing, beer-drinking two-year-old landlord. In June 2007, they received venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital, and in June 2008, they announced a partnership with HBO.
Unlike other viral video sites, members of Funny or Die are encouraged to vote on videos which they view, with the options of "Funny" or "Die". The video then gets a score of the total percent of people who voted the video "Funny". If the video receives an 80% or greater "Funny" rating after 100,000 views, it gets an "Immortal" ranking. If the video receives a 20% or less "Funny" rating after 1,000 views, it is relegated to the Crypt section of the site.
The Funny or Die staff can also select a rating of "Chosen One", which hides the score from the public, merely saying "Chosen One" instead.
Aside from celebrity contributors such as Thomas Lennon, Demetri Martin and more, Funny or Die has a permanent stable of writers including Dan Abramson, Look what I found, Cory Matthews, Dashiell Driscoll, You're doing it right, Lauren and A General Nonchalance. Popular user contributors include Mikepattonfan (Sean Warhurst), Michael Kaddour, Joe Burton, Mpiddy, Michael Lake and more.
Funny or Die Comedy Tour
In February 2008, Funny or Die launched "Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die Comedy Tour Presented by ‘Semi-Pro’", in conjunction with the promotion of the movie Semi Pro. The tour featured Ferrell, members of the FOD Team and comedians Zach Galifianakis, Demetri Martin, Nick Swardson and Andrea Savage. Adam McKay and Will Arnett served as tour announcers. The eight-city tour hit college campuses in Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, North Carolina and New York.
Funny or Die Presents
In June 2008, HBO and Funny or Die announced that HBO had purchased a stake of less than 10% in Funny Or Die. With this, Funny or Die will be responsible for developing at least 10 half-hour episodes for HBO, and the companies may organize future comedy tours together. Regarding the agreement, Will Ferrell said, "I don't want to overstate the importance of this deal, but this is the missing link moment where TV and Internet finally merge. It will change the way we as human beings perceive and interact with reality. Okay, I overstated it. But it is an exciting deal."
In August 2008, FunnyorDie hired Andrew Steele, a twelve-year veteran of Saturday Night Live, and one of three head writers in recent years, to oversee content production and development for the site and for the HBO partnership.
Or Die Networks
Following the success of FunnyorDie, parent organization Or Die Networks has spun out five additional verticals, based on FunnyorDie’s binary voting system.
Funny or Die UK
Funny or Die UK, launched on September 23, 2008, was a UK specific version of Funny or Die. The patrons of the site were Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams, in place of Will Ferrell. The site worked in much the same way as the U.S. site, but featured a number of UK comedians, including Peter Serafinowicz, Kevin Eldon, Brendon Burns, Matt Berry and Dom Joly. Or Die Networks and UK partners Hatrick Productions chose to close the dedicated UK website due to financial struggles. The UK contents were consolidated in the main site and today the funnyordie.co.uk domain redirects to funnyordie.com.
Shredordie.com, launched October 23, 2007, is an action-sports website OrDie Networks created in partnership with Tony Hawk. Users rate videos of members performing (or failing to perform) stunts by clicking either "Shred" or "Die." Shredordie.com was prominently featured in Tony Hawk’s Boom Boom Huckjam Tour.
Pwnordie.com, launched July 1, 2008, is a site devoted to all things video game, where users can post and enjoy videos about walkthroughs, cheats, reviews, or parodies of popular games. Users vote content either "Pwn" or "Die."
Morraderir.com.br, launched July 28, 2008, and brings to Brazil the same home for comedy as FunnyorDie.com in the US. Users can view professional and user-generated content unique to Brazil and also from FunnyorDie.com, and upload their own videos as well. The site features celebrity content from Ivete Sangalo, Sabrina Sato, Diogo Portugal, Fernando Caruso, Luis Miranda and others.
Eatdrinkordie.com, launched August 20, 2008, is a culinary site where users vote videos on preparing and enjoying food as either "delicious" or "die." Tom Colicchio is one of EatDrinkorDie’s primary content partners, and the site has also featured content by Art Smith, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Chiarello, Jon Shook and Vinney Dotolo, and Sophie Uliano. EatDrinkOrDie.com no longer exists, and the website now links to FunnyOrDie.com.
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- "Sequoia Capital funds Funny or Die".
- Littleton, Cynthia (2008-06-10). "HBO Joining Forces with FunnyorDie". Variety.
- Cusumano, Joel. "Pictures & Words". Funny or Die. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "HBO invests in Will Ferrell's Funnyordie.com".
- Littleton, Cynthia (2008-08-05). "Funny or Die made of Steele". Variety.
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- Gibson, Owen (2008-09-23). "US comedy website Funny or Die gets Little Britain backing". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
- Andrews, Robert (May 18, 2010). "Funny Or Die Shutting UK Site". Paidcontent.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- "Tony Hawk’s Shredordie.com Launches". 901am.com. 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
- "Or Die Networks Got Game" (Press release). Or Die Networks. July 1, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2013 – via Press Related.
- "Funnyordie sites expand into Cooking". New Zealand: 3News. August 21, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2013.