Launched by longtime pals Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, Funny or Die has grown exponentially over the years, with new original videos out every day starring the production powerhouse’s in-house talent alongside huge celebrity guests, who — as Mark Wahlberg tells Variety in this profile of the producers — absolutely love working with the two seasoned comics:
“I’d wanted to do comedy for a long time; there were comedic elements to things I had done, but never a full-blown comedy,” Wahlberg says. “I met with a lot of people and was actually thinking, ‘I’m not sure I want to do this because it doesn’t seem like much fun.’ Then I met with Adam and Will and five minutes into our dinner, I said I was in. They hadn’t even told me the gig. I said, ‘You can tell me if you want, but it doesn’t matter.’”
Wahlberg says both made him feel welcome in the genre. “I had as much fun as I’ve ever had in my entire life. They encouraged me to be free and wild — they never told me to stop, no matter how crazy I got.”
To celebrate the success of their homegrown network, co-founders Ferrell and McKay have put together an 11-part web series that’s more or less an oral history of the network, peppered with fun behind-the-scenes stories. The first installment of the Funny or Die story is above, and it starts from the very beginning: “The Landlord” (which starred McKay’s own daughter, Pearl — who’s now 12 years old, and was recently profiled by Vice). They’ll release a new clip every week, for the next ten weeks.
Ferrell and McKay were both hired onto Saturday Night Live in 1995 — Ferrell (of course) as a cast member, and McKay behind the scenes, eventually serving three season as head writer. They co-founded Gary Sanchez Productions around the same time they launched Funny or Die, and their partnership has produced films like Elf, Anchorman, and Stepbrothers. Outside of Funny or Die, Ferrell and McKay are currently hard at work on a new HBO series, Succession, a political drama that’s a sharp departure from the shows they’ve produced over the past ten years.