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Anthony Padilla on Why He Left Smosh: ‘I Haven’t Been as Creatively Excited Recently’

The original Smosh duo is breaking up: Anthony Padilla announced Wednesday that he’s leaving the YouTube comedy video operation he started with his best friend, Ian Hecox.

In an interview with Variety, Padilla explained that he’s been contemplating the change for several months, and that he was looking for a fresh start after working on Smosh for more than a decade. One of the key factors, he said, was that with Smosh being part of a larger media company — the brand is managed by Defy Media — all of the team’s creative decisions have to be vetted and approved higher up the chain.

“I realized I haven’t been as creatively excited about things recently,” he told Variety. “When I first started, it was just me being excited about creating things. It wasn’t about numbers.”

As for how he broke the news to Hecox, who have been friends since they were in grade school, Padilla said “it was a really, really tough conversation to have.”

“I think he kind of knew, based on his intuition,” Padilla said. “It was so tough to tell him this thing we made together was going to change now. But he was very supportive. He understood where I was coming from.”

Earlier this year, Defy Media’s chief content officer Barry Blumberg — who had worked with Padilla and Hecox since 2006, a few months after they began posting videos on YouTube — announced his departure from the company. Padilla said the timing was purely coincidental: The same week Blumberg broke the news to the Smosh co-founders he was leaving Defy, Padilla said he’d already decided to leave Smosh as well.

What’s next? Padilla, 29, said he primarily will be focused on creating consistent content on his channel, youtube.com/AnthonyPadilla, which currently has 1.4 million subscribers. His plan is to release a new video every Monday and Friday.

The content on Padilla’s channel is going to be different from Smosh, he said. “People maybe know me for comedy,” he said. “That will be there, but I’m going to do a lot of different things.”

In addition to vlogs and sketches, Padilla said he wants to “open up about some things in my life, and hopefully being able to relate to fans in a way they haven’t seen me do on YouTube before.” Specifically, he said he plans to talk about his struggles with panic attacks and anxiety in future videos. “I hope things I say in my videos will help people who are dealing with that,” he said.

Padilla’s first solo video, set to go up on June 19, will feature interviews with some other big-name YouTube creators, in which he asks them (somewhat tongue in cheek) for advice on what he should do now that he’s left Smosh.

In addition to YouTube, Padilla said he wants to pursue more voice acting roles. His voiceover work has included “The Angry Birds Movie,” for which he was the voice of Hal; Hecox provided the voice of Bubbles in the movie.

Padilla said he also wants to break into the TV business, and said he’s in the beginning stages of writing a few television pilots.

As for the initial reaction from fans, he said, “I’d say overall people have been extremely supportive,” but added that many viewers are unhappy with his decision and they’re urging him to change his mind. “But if I went back,” Padilla said, “it wouldn’t be the same.”

Padilla is repped by UTA and and Scott Hervey at Weintraub Genshlea Chediak Law.

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