Funny or Die

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Funny Or Die
Industry Film, TV, internet
Genre Comedy
Founded April 2007; 8 years ago (2007-04)
Founders Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Chris Henchy
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Funny Or Die is an Emmy-winning comedy video website and film/TV production company founded by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy. The website 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 Steve Carell, Charlie Sheen, Ryan Gosling, Patrick Stewart, Daniel Radcliffe, Sophia Bush, Mila Kunis, Hilary Duff, Adam West, James Van Der Beek, Jim Carrey, and Selena Gomez). 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".

Funny Or Die launched on January 24, 2007. The site's first video, "The Landlord", has received over 80 million views and features Ferrell confronted by a swearing, beer-drinking two-year-old landlord.[1] In June 2007, they received venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital,[2] and in June 2008, they announced a partnership with HBO.[3]

Online Presence[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Television & Movie Productions[edit]

Funny Or Die expanded to include a television and film production company in 2011.



  • What's Going On? with Mike Mitchell (2011, FX)
  • The Gorburger Show (2015, HBO)


  • Between Two Ferns: A Fairytale of New York (2012, Comedy Central)
  • Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles (2013, HBO)
  • Jerrod Carmichael: Love at the Store (2014, HBO)
  • Ferrell Takes the Field (2015, HBO)
  • Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted (2015, HBO)


Funny Or Die Presents[edit]

Main article: 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."[4]

In August 2008, Funny Or Die 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.[5]

Live Events[edit]

Funny Or Die Comedy Tour[edit]

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. The tour began on February 4th 2008 and ended on February 24th 2008.[6]

Funny Or Die Oddball Comedy Festival[edit]


In June 2013 Funny Or Die announced the Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival comedy tour partnered with Live Nation[7]The tour was headlined by Dave Chappelle and Flight of the Conchords. The lineup also included Al Madrigal, Kristen Schaal, Brody Stevens, Demetri Martin, John Mulaney, Jim Jefferies, and Hannibal Buress. The tour began on August 23rd, 2013 and ended on September 22nd, 2013.


In 2014, Funny Or Die continued the Oddball Festival, touring 20 cities across the U.S. from August 8th-September 21st. The tour featured comedians Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Aziz Ansari, Chris Hardwick, Amy Schumer, and Jim Gaffigan. [8]


The 2015 lineup included Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari, Anthony Jeselnik, Ashley Barnhill, Bridget Everett, Dave Attell, Donnell Rawlings, Jak Knight, Jay Pharaoh, Jeff Ross, Jim Norton, John Mulaney, Katherine Ryan, Mark Normand, Michael Che, Nick Kroll, Nick Thune, Nikki Glaser, Rachel Feinstein, Rory Scovel, Sebastian Maniscalco, Steve Rannazzisi, TJ Miller, Tim Minchin, Todd Barry, and Tony Hinchcliffe. The tour started on August 28th and ended on October 18th 2015. [9]

Treasure Island Music Festival: Blah Blah Blah Comedy Tent[edit]

Funny Or Die curated a comedy lineup for the 2015 Treasue Island music festival in San Francisco, CA. The Funny Or Die Blah Blah Blah tent featured comedy acts from Tim Heidecker, Jerrod Carmichael, Jonah Ray, Chris Gethard, Jon Dore, Lauren Lapkus, Brian Safi & Erin Gibson, Kate Berlant & John Early, Guy Branum, Michelle Wolf, Max Silvestri, Barry Rothbart, and Jermaine Fowler. [10]

Political Activism[edit]

Although ostensibly independent of organized politics, site creators Ferrell and McKay are supporters of the Democratic Party and have personal politics that "tend to lean a little left."[11] In addition to their well known March 2014 foray in support of the Affordable Care Act, the previous year Funny Or Die launched a campaign for the legal defense of Shezanne Cassim, a Minnesota resident who was jailed in Abu Dhabi for allegedly endangering national security by posting a parody video to YouTube.[11] Comedians Patton Oswalt and Tony Hale were subsequently made part of Funny Or Die's effort to raise funds and awareness to "Free Shez."[11] Originally sentenced to a year in prison, in the face of growing public pressure Cassim was released in January 2014 after serving 9 months of his sentence.[11]

Funny Or Die has also been responsible for creation of parody videos lampooning California's 2008 traditional marriage initiative, Proposition 8, and taking a pot shot at the National Rifle Association with a video featuring comedian Jim Carrey.[11] The site also worked with television star Alyssa Milano to "leak" a purported sex tape of the actress which was in fact an awareness-raising video on the bloody Syrian Civil War.[11]

Obama interview[edit]

On March 11, 2014, Zach Galifianakis interviewed Barack Obama on his show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis on the website. During the interview, they asked people to sign up for healthcare on the site as part of the Affordable Care Act. By the next day, 11 million viewers had watched the video, and more than 890,000 people viewed the website during just that morning.[12]

Hoaxes & Controversies[edit]

On March 2, 2014, two promotional videos were released on a YouTube channel supposedly controlled by HUVr Tech, a company claiming to have invented a hoverboard much like those in the Back to the Future film trilogy.[13] The videos included demonstrations of the board by celebrities such as Tony Hawk and Moby. Two days later the project was revealed to be a hoax perpetrated by Funny Or Die, after the video's costume designer posted the experience on her online resume.[14]


Aside from occasional celebrity contributors, Funny Or Die has a regular staff of in-house writers, producers, and directors. Past staff writers include Jack Allison (Jimmy Kimmel Live!), Dave Ferguson (The Birthday Boys), Jake Fogelnest (Wet Hot American Summer), Scott Gairdner (Conan), Chris Kelly (Saturday Night Live), Dan Klein (Comedy Bang! Bang!), Seth Morris (Kroll Show), Ryan Perez (Saturday Night Live), and Nick Wiger (Comedy Bang! Bang!).


Webby Awards[edit]

Year Association Category Recipient
2011 Webby Special Achievement: Film & Video Person of the Year Funny Or Die
2011 Webby Web: Humor Funny Or Die
2011 Webby Best Web Personality / Host Between Two Ferns w Zach Galifianakis
2011 Webby Individual Short Or Episode Between Two Ferns w Zach Galifianakis: Steve Carell
2011 Webby Online Film & Video: Variety Between Two Ferns
2011 Webby Online Film & Video: Variety (People's Voice) Between Two Ferns
2011 Webby Best Individual Performance (People's Voice) Jim Carey in Funny Or Die's Presidential Reunion
2011 Webby Comedy: Individual Short or Episode (People's Voice) Justin Bieber Takes Over Funny Or Die
2011 Webby Comedy: Long Form Or Series (People Voice) Funny Or Die's Presidential Reunion
2012 Webby Online Film & Video: Best Individual Performance President Bush Reacts to Osama Bin Laden's Death with Will Ferrell
2012 Webby Online Film & Video: Comedy: Long Form Or Series Drunk History Christmas
2013 Webby Online Film & Video: Best Individual Performance Charlize Theron Gets Hacked
2013 Webby Online Film & Video: Comedy: Individual Short or Episode Wire: The Musical
2014 Webby Online Film & Video: Comedy: Best Longform Or Series Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Justin Bieber
2014 Webby Online Film & Video: Comedy: Best Longform Or Series (People's Voice) Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Justin Bieber
2014 Webby Web: Humor Funny Or Die
2015 Webby Web: Humor Funny Or Die

Primetime Emmy Awards[edit]

Year Association Category Recipient
2014 Primetime Emmy Outstanding short format Live-Action Entertainment Program Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama
2015 Primetime Emmy Outstanding short format Live-Action Entertainment Program Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Brad Pitt


  1. ^ "The Landlord video page". Funny Or Die. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  2. ^ "Sequoia Capital funds Funny Or Die". 
  3. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2008-06-10). "HBO Joining Forces with FunnyorDie". Variety. 
  4. ^ "HBO invests in Will Ferrell's". 
  5. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2008-08-05). "Funny Or Die made of Steele". Variety. 
  6. ^ "Will Ferrell's Funny Or Die Comedy Tour Presented By Semi-Pro Sells Out All Dates". PRNEWSWIRE. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Spangler, Todd (17 June 2013). "Dave Chappelle, Conchords Hit Road with Funny or Die ‘Oddball’ Tour". Variety. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "The World’s Biggest Comedy Tour Returns: Funny Or Die Presents The Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival 2014". Live Nation Entertainment. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Spangler, Todd. "Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer Return For Funny Or Die 2015 Summer Comedy Tour". Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "SF’s Treasure Island Music Festival to Have Comedy Tent Presented by Funny or Die". The Comedy Bureau. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Asawin Suebsaeng, "National Lampoon: From Fake Sex Tapes to Obamacare Agitprop: Funny Or Die's Viral Activism," Mother Jones, vol. 39, no. 3 (May–June 2014), pg. 62.
  12. ^ Lee, Jolie (12 March 2014). " gets traffic boost after Obama's 'Funny Or Die' video". USA Today. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "HUVrTech YouTube channel". 
  14. ^ "Funny Or Die Is Behind the Tony Hawk Hoverboard Hoax". 

External links[edit]