Popular YouTube comedy sketch improv group Smosh was initially founded in 2002 by Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox. Padilla first built the independent smosh.com, which he named after he mistook a friend’s explanation of a mosh pit for a “smosh pit.” Hecox later joined in on the venture, and the pair made the migration to YouTube in 2005, producing and hosting various segments of humorous skits.
By 2011, the company was acquired by Defy Media, and Padilla made the choice to leave in 2017. Padilla cited a “lack of creative freedom” as his primary reason for his departure. Hecox remained with the company until 2018 when Defy abruptly shut down. Following the shutdown, Padilla came forward and clarified that the true reason he left the company was due to alleged poor management from the parent company. The digital creator also alleged that they prevented him from joining the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and attempted to overtake his personal social media accounts.
The pair later sold to Alloy Digital with the intention of selling stock shares of the company, but the company never went public, giving Smosh stock no value. The following year in 2019, Smosh was finally acquired by Mythical Entertainment, which was founded by comedic duo Rhett and Link. The duo have long dubbed themselves “The Internetainers.” The group took production to Los Angeles, and invited several new cast members. After years of tumultuous business moves, Padilla and Hecox have finally joined forces to buy back Smosh. Fans of the original channel are excited to see what the digital creators will bring to the table now that they are back in business with Smosh.
Social Media Reactions
Padilla and Hecox announced their acquisition of Smosh via a now viral video on social media. The pair thanked the loyal viewers of the channel, given its more than a decade long run. The channel’s content will return to its timely sketch comedy style that first brought in thousands of loyal viewers.
The video ended with a Smosh tradition–Hecox’s mother jokingly barging in and kicking them out of the house. Commenters love the nostalgic early-internet comedy the duo are bringing back to the forefront. Additionally, fellow digital creator turned author John Green commented “So proud of y’all and all that you’ve accomplished together.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, fans are sharing some of their favorite Smosh memories and casting predictions for what the rebrand could look like. Some felt emotional seeing the arduous journey it took the pair to get their own company back after a series of failed business moves.
I remember meeting Smosh about four years ago, for my Make A Wish. I have a picture with a lot of the crew from that time… looks like I’ll need to get one with Anthony too now ☺️☺️ #smosh pic.twitter.com/S2le8NwCff
— Sabrina ????‼️ (@sabrinathewxtch) June 20, 2023
im gonna bawl and its all smosh's fault pic.twitter.com/SOfhgRm2w8
— ⋆˙⟡????✦????⟡˙⋆ (@HORRORGENRES) June 20, 2023
As some of the first digital creators of their kind, many were excited to see them regain ownership of the content that they first pioneered.
WOW! Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox just bought back Smosh. Feels like a piece of the Internet is healing. pic.twitter.com/Hdseax4kNB
— Philip DeFranco ???????? (@PhillyD) June 20, 2023
Elsewhere, some offered constructive criticism on what they feel is best for the comedy channel.
Brooooo, they should go back to OG Smosh. No hate on the new cast but I feel like I'm watching Disney Channel or something like that.
— Jules O (@JulesO2312) June 20, 2023
Smosh’s original hosts will return next week, and the company is officially independent.