It was hysterical short videos like “The Landlord” that made the Funny Or Die brand an overnight household name when it began 11 years ago. But its business has since evolved tremendously, explains CEO Mike Farah, as evidenced by the 20 TV series the company currently has in various stages of production or development, including Hulu’s “I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman” and Netflix’s “American Vandal.”
On the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business,” Farah details how the focus on long-form TV production is balanced out by a digital strategy that has broadened out to everything from custom campaigns with brand partners to digital-marketing services for both the company’s own shows and those from other producers.
“There’s a ton of content out there, you need to be able to peg it to something,” said Farah, a 10-year company veteran who rose to the CEO post in 2016. “And because we have this audience, and this relationship and credibility with them, a show like ‘American Vandal’ has really benefited from that.”
Funny Or Die’s famous co-principals — Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Judd Apatow, to name a few — are still very active in their company. “They are always so willing to help out,” said Farah, who noted he was on the way to lunch with Ferrell after the podcast to discuss the possibility of bringing his Cord Hosenbeck character back for faux Rose Bowl parade coverage (which Funny Or Die produced for Amazon earlier this year) in 2019.
“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring comedian/actor/producer Kevin Hart, ICM Partners agent Esther Newberg, and HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.