CollegeHumor launched online in 1999, begat an MTV show in 2009, and turning the corner from 2019 into 2020, now finds itself in a financial hole.
IAC, which had bought the site in 2006, announced more than 100 layoffs on Wednesday, after attempts to sell the site seemingly failed to produce a new buyer. Sam Reich, a longtime CH Media employee since 2006 (seen above in happier MTV times), has gotten IAC to agree to give him what’s leftover after the mass firings.
“Sam was the best choice to acquire CH Media and define its next chapter,” IAC said in a statement. “The decision places CH Media with an owner who is beloved by fans, passionate about the business, and sees a future we believe in.”
Reich filled everyone in on the news via Twitter on Wednesday.
“The twist, however, is that IAC has agreed to let me run with the company myself. In words that I’m sure are as surreal to read as they are to type, I will soon become the new majority owner of CH Media. Of course, I can’t keep it going like you’re used to. While we were on the way to becoming profitable, we were nonetheless losing money — and I myself have no money to be able to lose. Long story short, I need your support now more than ever. The #1 way you can support me is to stay subscribed to Dropout. We have six months’ worth of content still to release: Dimension 20, Um, Game Changer, Breaking News, and more. Dropout 2.0 launches at the end of the month, and along with it come two long-desired features: (a) downloads and (b) international Discord access.”
“In these six months, I hope to be able to save Dropout, CollegeHumor, Drawfee, Dorkly, and many of our shows. Some will need to take on bold new creative directions in order to survive. You may not agree with all of them. And this won’t be the last time I ask for your support. I will, however, do my very best to stay true to the talent, shows, fans, and principles that got us where we are today. We dropped out once before; we can do it again. Independent comedy lives on — just now more independent (gulp) than ever before.”
Adam Conover, whose truTV series Adam Ruins Everything began as a CollegeHumor webseries, gave Twitter shout-outs to many CH Media writers and performers.
“For 20 years, CH paid some of the best young comedians, writers, and artists in the country to do nothing but come up with the funniest shit ever. Today, they all lost their jobs. That sucks. Let me tell you why. The slow (and then quick) death of CollegeHumor, Funny or Die, and your other favorite online comedy sites was not an accident. It was the result of Facebook’s deliberate effort to kill the indie video industry, in part by massively falsifying viewer data. And that’s bullshit because @chmurph is right: The CH, @dorkly, @drawfee and @dropout teams were the best they’ve ever been. I was constantly amazed at how funny, tight and beautiful the content they put out daily was, despite their ever-smaller budgets. So while today is a bad day for everyone who lost their jobs, and for anyone who wishes that original, independent comedy still had a place online, it’s a GREAT day for anyone who needs to hire brilliant creative talent.”
As an old person who remembers not only Web 1.0 but life before the Web, I nostalgically go back to the All-Nighters, which featured so many before-they-were-famous comedians each year.
Talent from CH Media who wrote and starred in the 2009 MTV series included Dan Gurewitch (now a writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver), Sarah Schneider and Streeter Seidell (who both went on to Saturday Night Live, and Schneider also co-created Comedy Central’s The Other Two) and Jake and Amir (who launched the HeadGum podcast network).
As for right now right now? You can check out CollegeHumor’s sketches on YouTube still right now…