'SNL' writer named creative director of site

Funny or Die has tapped “Saturday Night Live” scribe Andrew Steele to serve as the creative director of the comedy website founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

Steele will oversee development and production of a range of programming that Funny or Die is developing through its recent partnership with HBO (Daily Variety, June 11). Steele will also be tasked with keeping the original vid pipeline stocked for FunnyOrDie.com.

Funny or Die has been looking for a seasoned comedy writer to oversee its operations ever since it struck the deal with HBO, which calls for the company to develop 10 half-hours of programming for the pay cabler. Steele is a 12-year “SNL” vet who was one of three head writers on the show in recent years. He worked with Ferrell and McKay during their respective tenures on the NBC latenight mainstay.

“When we were talking about who we wanted to hire, we kept saying, ‘We need someone like an Andrew Steele,’ ” McKay said. “Finally, Will just called him. We’re overjoyed that he said yes.”

Ferrell quipped: “He’s one of the funniest people on the planet, not counting South America and parts of Russia.”

Steele will coordinate the unconventional HBO development deal, which calls for Funny or Die to field traditional half-hour comedy formats to five-minute bits. It’s an eclectic assignment that is a good fit with Steele’s varied experience on “SNL.”

“His job will be to find interesting ways to divvy up the money (HBO has given them) to get the maximum creative bang for it,” McKay said.

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