Katrina “Chappie” Chaput
Anthony Padilla is back in the smosh. He and Smosh co-founder Ian Hecox have teamed up to buy back the YouTube comedy brand they launched 18 years ago.
The two reunited as onscreen comedy partners and offscreen business associates to acquire majority ownership of Smosh from Mythical Entertainment, the production company of YouTube talk show stars Rhett & Link. Padilla and Hecox have not appeared together in a video or in public since Padilla left Smosh in 2017, citing a lack of creative inspiration and going independent. Hecox remained at Smosh, leading the business through the bankruptcy of then-parent Defy Media, its subsequent acquisition of Smosh in 2019, and Rhett & Link’s turnaround under Mythical.
“By the time Anthony left Smosh, our friendship wasn’t all that great,” Hecox said. A year ago, the two met again and “and really hit it off,” he said. Hecox added: We had to end our friendship in order to be together again. “
Padilla said of their relationship’s rift, “I felt like my communication style had stalled since I was 17… when we met again, both of us had grown a lot.” said.
One day, on a whim, Hecox said to Padilla, “What if I buy you a smosh?”
They’re thrilled to be together again and are now back to writing, directing and starring in comedy sketches on their main Smosh channel. Their first collaboration in over six years will appear on Smosh’s main channel on June 30, and they’ll be releasing a new comedy video every two weeks. “I really want to get back to our roots, and as part of that, owning the company allows us to truly guide Smosh in all creative directions,” Padilla said.
Terms of Padilla and Hecox’s acquisition of Smosh from Mythical were not disclosed. Mythical Entertainment said it plans to “realize a significant multiple of its initial investment capital” on Smosh and retain a minority stake in the comedy industry. Padilla and Hecox Use Creator Capital Providers Breeze Financial to finance an acquisition;
The Smosh co-founders first became friends in sixth grade living outside Sacramento and began posting videos in 2005 under the Smosh label. “He created Smosh as just a way for us to make each other laugh,” he says. “It’s become a business we didn’t plan for.” To date, Smosh and its affiliated channels have earned him more than 75 million followers across the platform.
Like the members of Smosh, Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal are childhood best friends (from North Carolina) and OG YouTubers who launched their first YouTube channel in 2006.
“The ethos of buying smosh mirrors the ethos of selling smosh in a way,” McLaughlin says. “None of these opportunities were something we were actively pursuing.” We have a strong spot in the duo,” he added.
Neil said, “I feel like my four years with Smosh have literally been preparing for this under my roof… Their fans have always wanted to see them get together again. But I As owners of Smosh, we had no intention of promoting it.”
Rhett & Link will continue to be involved with Smosh in an advisory capacity as a minority shareholder. “Just seeing them talking to each other….we’re excited to be working together and we hope to stay involved,” McLaughlin said. “The fact that their fans get this excited… I don’t know if that would have been the case if it weren’t for the creators on both sides of this. I can see them starting to level up.”
Hecox said proposing the Smosh acquisition to Rhett & Link was “a scary moment for me”, but in the end “they were very receptive to the idea.” The deal giving Hecox and Padilla control of Smosh was “important to show that we really believe in this and that we are all on board. Simply Anthony returns for some videos.” It’s not like I’ve been there.”
After leaving Smosh, Padilla found success with his YouTube interview series “I Spent a Day With…” produced by his company Presalike Productions, which recently won a Webby Award for Best Social Interview Show. Pressalike’s COO and executive her producer Alessandra Catanese will become CEO of her Smosh (Pressalike will continue to operate independently with her current team).
With the new ownership, Smosh CEO Daniel Tibbets and EVP Joel Rubin are stepping down. “The creator economy is the individuals who have the power to build enduring brands where creative and business acumen come from the creators themselves,” Tibbets said in a statement. I am thrilled to see him regain control of the brand he founded in .”
Smosh’s core onscreen talent team of Shayne Topp, Courtney Miller and Damien Haas will remain. The company will continue to operate out of the 17,000-square-foot Burbank studio space built during Mythical’s ownership.
Padilla and Hecox are rebooting Smosh’s main channel with their own sketches, while maintaining the same content format and release cycle for Smosh Games and Smosh Pit (featuring Challenge and Reaction series) . The duo will launch a subscription-based membership on their main YouTube channel offering exclusive bonus content, live-streaming watch parties, and other perks.
Mythical Entertainment was represented in the transaction by The Laing Group of Stubbs-Alderton & Markiles, Greg Axeld and Kelly Siobhan Laffey. HJTH’s Adam Culler and Ryan Pastrek. Matthew Gilbert Aranoff and Meg Palmer of Fulton Management. Mr. Padilla and Mr. Presarique were advised by Mr. David Seavers and represented by Mr. Michael Lowhead and Mr. Ellie Heisler of Nixon Peabody. Hecox was represented by Scott Harvey of Weintraub Tobin.
Hecox and Padilla worked behind the scenes of the Smosh deal, keeping the news as private as possible. “We shot [Smosh reunion] We made a secret announcement with Anthony’s crew the week after Memorial Day,” Hecox said. “I’ve been incredibly nervous about what I’ve been keeping a secret over the past few months.”
Check out Padilla and Hecox’s announcement video for the Smosh purchase (cameo by Ian’s mother):
Pictured above (left to right): Rhett McLaughlin, Link Neal, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla