Anthony Padilla, one of YouTube’s OG creators, rose to internet fame with Smosh — performing goofy, comedic sketches with his longtime friend Ian Hecox.
In the three years since exiting Smosh, Padilla has been a solo act on his YouTube channel, which just hit 5 million subscribers. While he still uses humor, Padilla has increasingly turned to more serious documentary-style content with interview series “I Spent a Day With…”
Now Padilla has unveiled his own production company, Pressalike Productions, to develop and create a slate of unscripted content focusing on “misunderstood topics.” He’s hoping the company can potentially sell its bigger-budget projects to streaming platforms or TV networks.
In the past, “I’ve leaned on comedy because it’s easier — you can say, ‘If you don’t like it, hah, you didn’t get the joke,'” Padilla said. “Now I’m taking more risks.”
Pressalike’s debut documentary, “I Maid a Mistake,” is set to premiere Friday, Dec. 18, on Padila’s YouTube channel. The one-hour documentary follows Padilla as he prepares for his first live show and transforms into a member of L.A.-based Kiss Pink Maid Cafe — patterned on the Japanese cosplay subculture of anime maid cafés, in which scantily clad servers dote on their patrons.
Padilla and his team shot footage for the documentary over a year ago. Through the experience, “I realized I wanted this to be something I fully immersed myself in, and increase the production value of my normal YouTube videos,” he said.
Padilla’s key hires for Pressalike Productions are Aléssandra Catanese, former Anonymous Content manager who serves as head of business development and producer, and Mike Criscimagna, previously a producer on Rhett & Link’s “Good Mythical Morning” who is head of post-production.
The “I Maid a Mistake” documentary film grew out of an episode of “I Spent A Day With…” featuring the anime maid café workers. Padilla told his audience that if the video received over 100,000 likes he would join the maids for a day (which, needless to say, it did). Padilla serves as the film’s creator, star and executive producer, alongside Catanese as executive producer and director Zach Zeidman.
Pressalike will continue production on interview series “I Spent A Day With…” which to date has over 100 million total views. Episodes have centered on dissociative identity disorder, kidnapping survivors and, most recently, school shooting survivors.
“What I really enjoy doing is being curious, and learning about these topics that fascinate me,” he said. At first, “I Spent the Day With…” started as a comedy show about people who have bizarre beliefs. But now he’s taking a different approach, premised on the notion that “we don’t have any reason to be judgmental about people, even if it’s out of our comfort zone.”
Added Padilla, “I think if we as a society ask more questions, there would be less prejudice, less judgment, less of the me-versus-them mentality.”
Padilla left Smosh in 2017 to strike out on his own. Smosh remains alive and well under the ownership of Mythical Entertainment, the media company formed by Rhett and Link of YouTube series “Good Mythical Morning” that bought Smosh last year (after previous owner Defy Media shut down).
Pressalike Productions is based in L.A.’s Highland Park neighborhood. The company has six employees and Padilla expects to make more hires in the coming year. For now, Pressalike has no outside investors but Padilla hopes to line some up. The company has generated most of its revenue through sponsorships with partners including SimpliSafe, HBO, Surfshark, IGTV and Warner Bros.
Catanese said while Pressalike will explore deals with traditional media companies, “we want to maintain Anthony’s ability to explore creativity” and to retain ownership of its intellectual property.
“I always loved what Anthony did in the way he approached things, with his sincerity and curiosity,” she said. “I always believed in his vision, and now we’re going to take on longer-form and more exploratory subjects.”
Padilla is repped by A3 Artists Agency; Brecheen, Feldman, Breimer, Silver & Thompson; and Metro PR.
Among his projects, Padilla partnered with Comedy Central for its “Under the Influencer” program, which comprises a weeklong takeover of the cabler’s social media platforms. Padilla also lent his voice to Columbia Pictures’ animated films “The Angry Birds Movie 2” and “The Angry Birds Movie.” As part of Smosh, he appeared in two feature films from Lionsgate and YouTube (“Smosh: The Movie” and “Ghostmates”) and worked on over 10 short-form scripted shows.