Inside Funny or Die’s Upgraded, Unfinished New Offices

/ Feb 8, 2014

“Billy on the Street” host Billy Eichner presented clips from the upcoming third season, which will premiere on Fuse March 12th. Eichner was recruited by head of production Mike Farah to work with Funny or Die after seeing some of his work on YouTube.

The Television Critics Association’s focus is, unsurprisingly, on television. But recently, a group of critics, assembled for the TCA’s semi-annual tour through network and cable television, visited the offices of online video mainstay Funny or Die, where its upcoming TV properties were showcased. But the site’s commitment to short-form videos for the web and mobile remains strong.

“We do content we love to do, then find the medium for it,” CEO Dick Glover said to the assembled critics. “But at the heart of [FOD] is digital content.”

The highlight of the visit were some clips from the upcoming third season of “Billy on the Street,” featuring home-grown FOD star Billy Eichner, as well as some clips from a new series, “American Muscle,” which FOD is producing in partnership with Discovery.

The presentation was followed by a tour of the facility, covering the building’s two floors and 30,000 square feet, which contain studio space and editing bays. If you happen to visit in the next few months, you’ll find that things may look a little different from these photos. That’s because the team had only been in the offices for a few weeks; some walls were unfinished, and in the middle of the floor, someone was even assembling a cabinet.

While the unfinished walls seemed to be a (joking) point of contention between Glover and head of production Mike Farah, Glover said it was by design. “It’s not about slickness — we’re not doing things the way everyone else does,” he said. “We wanted it to look like a creative workspace.” Given that FOD is currently producing approximately two dozen short-form videos a month, that environment is essential.

During the visit, the offices were in full operation, right down to writers brainstorming ideas in a conference room nearby and comedian Bryan Safi shooting a series of Academy Awards-related sketches against green screen.

The newest Los Angeles offices of Funny or Die house about 60 employees (the company currently employs about 100 workers in total); this is the third time they’ve moved in the last three years, beginning with a Hollywood bungalow that could barely house 25 people.

That said, there’s still room for growth. “We still only have one bathroom,” said Farah.

“Billy on the Street” host Billy Eichner presented clips from the upcoming third season, which will premiere on Fuse March 12th. Eichner was recruited by head of production Mike Farah to work with Funny or Die after seeing some of his work on YouTube.

“Billy on the Street” host Billy Eichner presented clips from the upcoming third season, which will premiere on Fuse March 12th. Eichner was recruited by head of production Mike Farah to work with Funny or Die after seeing some of his work on YouTube.

Comedian Bryan Safi was in the middle of filming a series of sketches about Academy Award snubs. We were encouraged to laugh as we witnessed a take being filmed.

Comedian Bryan Safi was in the middle of filming a series of sketches about Academy Award snubs. We were encouraged to laugh as we witnessed a take being filmed.

There was no sign of FOD co-founder Will Ferrell, but his presence was undeniable.

There was no sign of FOD co-founder Will Ferrell, but his presence was undeniable.

While many of the critics assembled weren’t super-familiar with Funny or Die’s approach to creating content, CEO Dick Glover was happy to answer questions.

While many of the critics assembled weren’t super-familiar with Funny or Die’s approach to creating content, CEO Dick Glover was happy to answer questions.

There was plenty of extra seating available; Glover mentioned that on top of the 60 full-time employees FOD employs, they frequently bring in freelancers.

There was plenty of extra seating available; Glover mentioned that on top of the 60 full-time employees FOD employs, they frequently bring in freelancers.

The critics watch a sizzle reel featuring FOD’s digital and television properties, including the Chris Hardwick-hosted “@midnight.”

The critics watch a sizzle reel featuring FOD’s digital and television properties, including the Chris Hardwick-hosted [email protected]

A close-up on the office’s exposed lighting and walls, which Glover claimed was a sign that Funny or Die was “not about slickness.”

A close-up on the office’s exposed lighting and walls, which Glover claimed was a sign that Funny or Die was “not about slickness.”

The writing staff of Funny or Die was, during our visit, brainstorming ideas for this year’s April Fools stunt, which is typically a massive celebrity takeover of the site.

The writing staff of Funny or Die was, during our visit, brainstorming ideas for this year’s April Fools stunt, which is typically a massive celebrity takeover of the site.

Head of production Mike Farah told a story about being spray-tanned by Lindsay Lohan during a 2009 shoot -- a video capturing it is the only FOD video Farah has appeared in.

Head of production Mike Farah told a story about being spray-tanned by Lindsay Lohan during a 2009 shoot — a video capturing it is the only FOD video Farah has appeared in.

All the cool offices these days have photo booths, but not all the cool offices have photo booths promoting the company’s tie-in board game.

All the cool offices these days have photo booths, but not all the cool offices have photo booths promoting the company’s tie-in board game.

The staircase leading up from the first floor to the second floor (where the bulk of FOD’s office space is located).

The staircase leading up from the first floor to the second floor (where the bulk of FOD’s office space is located).

Preserved under glass: The mock black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers worn by Justin Long in the Steve Jobs shot-in-three-days biopic parody “iSteve.”

Preserved under glass: The mock black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers worn by Justin Long in the Steve Jobs shot-in-three-days biopic parody “iSteve.”

PHOTOS BY STACEY WINGET

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