Funny or Die has slashed 30% of its work force and shut down its office in San Mateo, Calif., the company announced Tuesday.
Thirty-seven employees across various divisions of the comedy brand were pink-slipped, leaving the company with 95 employees, according to a rep, who provided a statement to Variety: “While Funny or Die has grown as a company over the last several years, we’ve remained committed to creating premium comedy. As we move into the future, we’ve decided to double-down and re-focus on making the kind of content that made us a household name in the first place. To accomplish that, we’ve had to reorganize and reduce our staff. This isn’t an easy process for any of us. As necessary as these steps may be, we value every single one of the contributors we’ve had to part ways with. They’ve been integral in making us the company we are today, and we thank them for their dedication and friendship.”
Funny or Die was founded by CAA and Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy; Judd Apatow also is a principal partner. The company’s investors include Time Warner and Sequoia Capital.
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CEO Mike Farah, who moved up to president of Funny or Die in May, will continue to operate the company out of Los Angeles. The brand also maintains offices in New York. In addition to San Mateo, which is where most of Funny or Die’s engineers were based, all three offices saw cuts. No senior execs at the company were affected.
Much of the San Mateo office was focused on app development, an area of the company where they have since retrenched.
While Funny or Die rose to prominence about 10 years ago on the strength of comedic viral videos featuring Ferrell and other Hollywood stars, the company has diversified considerably since then, particularly into branded entertainment and long-form programming. Series currently on the air from the company include truTV’s “Billy on the Street,” Comedy Central’s “@midnight,” Fusion’s “The Chris Gethard Show,” and the upcoming IFC “Brockmire” series.
Sponsored content is the other key growth area, with hundreds of campaigns completed that paired brands and celebrities from TJ Miller and Slim Jim to Jake Johnson and American Eagle.
Digital content can be a tough business particularly operating as an independent. Funny or Die was reportedly exploring a sale opportunity in 2014, and the cuts could conceivably help dress up the company to go on the block again. Comedy publishers have been snapped up by larger companies recently, including the sale of The Onion to Univision in January and Cracked to E.W. Scripps in April.
Longtime CEO Dick Glover exited the company in late 2015 to become the top exec at Mandalay Sports Media.