Liberal comedy website and production company Funny or Die has closed its offices in San Mateo, California and laid off 37 employees, or about 30 percent of its workforce.
According to Variety, the Will Ferrell-Adam McKay-founded comedy outfit — which often serves as a functioning outreach vehicle to promote Democratic Party policies — made the move as part of a company re-organization.
The company released the following statement to Variety:
“While Funny Or Die has grown as a company over the last several years, we’ve remained committed to creating premium comedy. As we move into the future, we’ve decided to double-down and re-focus on making the kind of content that made us a household name in the first place. To accomplish that, we’ve had to reorganize and reduce our staff. This isn’t an easy process for any of us. As necessary as these steps may be, we value every single one of the contributors we’ve had to part ways with. They’ve been integral in making us the company we are today, and we thank them for their dedication and friendship.”
The cuts reportedly leave Funny or Die with 95 employees, operating out of offices in Los Angeles and New York City.
Ferrell and McKay launched Funny or Die in 2007 with pal Chris Henchy. The site produced viral comedy videos featuring Ferrell and other celebrities, but soon after veered into partisan political terrain.
President Obama famously appeared on one of the company’s best-known short programs in 2014, “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis,” in which he promoted signups for the then-new Affordable Care Act.
The company opened a Washington, D.C. office in 2015 and hired Brad Jenkins, former associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, to manage it.
In recent months, the site has released countless videos attacking conservative policies and Republican politicians, most notably Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. In February, the company released The Art of the Deal, a 50-minute “lost TV movie” in which Johnny Depp donned a fat suit and makeup to play Trump. Last month, comedian Tom Green dressed as Trump for a rap video that linked Trump supporters to Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members.
The site has also released conservative-targeting videos like “Prop 8: The Musical” and “North Carolina Anti-Gay Tourism Commercial.”
Earlier this month, the company partnered with the Democratic National Convention to debut some of its videos on live television.
In addition to its web presence, the company produces several television shows currently on the air, including Comedy Central’s @Midnight and truTV’s Billy on the Street.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum