Smosh Embarks on a New Era with Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox

Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla teamed up for their first YouTube video together in seven years, summoning a demon to get Taylor Swift tickets. The sketch was delightfully absurd, packed with pop culture references, and, above all, incredibly silly – all hallmarks of classic Smosh comedy. In an interview with TechCrunch at VidCon, Padilla described the video as reminiscent of Smosh’s early days, filled with excitement and a desire to make each other laugh. Padilla spoke with admiration for Smosh’s early videos, appreciating their unabashed playfulness and the joy they brought to viewers. This sketch marks a new era for Smosh, one of the oldest brands on YouTube. Hecox and Padilla recently acquired Smosh, more than a decade after they sold it for the first time, and are now setting an example for creators to truly own and define their content’s legacy. Although Mythical Entertainment, the former parent company, will still hold a minority stake in the brand, Smosh will regain its independence for the first time in years. This is a rare victory for creators in the ever-changing landscape of social media. Hecox expressed gratitude for having control over Smosh, highlighting the importance of owning one’s art and image. Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, childhood friends who started posting videos together in 2005, played a significant role in shaping YouTube’s early days with comedy sketches and vlogs. Smosh, along with its spin-off channels, became incredibly popular, and the duo continued to produce content after selling the brand to Defy Media in 2011. Smosh held the title of the most-subscribed channel on YouTube three times between 2005 and 2013, making it a content powerhouse. However, the constant output became unsustainable, and the pressure to launch apps, sitcoms, and countless sketches took a toll on Hecox and Padilla’s friendship – the core of Smosh’s brand. Living and working together left no escape from the stresses of their business partnership. They operated out of fear, avoiding conflict and letting their friendship deteriorate. Padilla admitted that they grew apart and rarely discussed anything besides Smosh and the company. Eventually, their friendship reached a point where there wasn’t much left. Padilla had been discontent for years leading up to his departure from Smosh in 2017. The split not only affected Smosh fans but also shook viewers who associated the brand with the close bond between Hecox and Padilla. The brand continued producing content without Padilla, but a year later, when Defy Media collapsed, Smosh was left without a home. Hecox found it unsettling that many bidders were only interested in Smosh’s content library. Finally, YouTubers Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal acquired Smosh early last year. Hecox trusted them because they built Mythical Entertainment as friends creating content together. He believes that if any other company had acquired Smosh, it would now be reduced to just a content library. This acquisition by fellow creators allowed Smosh to thrive once again. McLaughlin and Neal didn’t interfere too much, letting the brand redefine its identity and avoiding the pressure to churn out content endlessly. In the years since leaving Smosh, Padilla reinvented himself as a modern talk show host. His interview series “I spent a day with” tackled taboo topics with directness, empathy, and grace. Viewers praised his style, which discussed sensitive subjects without voyeurism. While Padilla found fulfillment in the serious side of his work, he missed the creative joy that comedy writing brought him. A year ago, he stumbled upon old Smosh videos gaining popularity on TikTok, rewatched them, and felt the magic of those early years. Padilla and Hecox reconnected through mutual friends and spent time together without creating content, something they hadn’t done since their teenage years. Their friendship was rekindled thanks to personal growth and therapy. Padilla let go of the resentment that had built up before his departure, and it wasn’t long before he began dreaming of reclaiming Smosh with Hecox. He quietly devised business plans, never imagining it could become a reality. While Smosh’s other channels continued to thrive under Mythical Entertainment, Hecox felt that the main channel was struggling to find its voice. Without Padilla, the videos felt broad and disconnected from the audience. Hecox envisioned bringing the channel back to its roots with sketch comedy, but he knew it would only be possible with Padilla by his side. He shared his thoughts with Padilla in December, and they decided to test their chemistry to see if it was still there. Hecox admitted to being skeptical, but to his surprise, they fell right back into it, laughing and pitching crazy ideas. Both creators have honed their writing skills during their time apart, and their collaboration proved that they can play off each other’s strengths better than ever before. Their reunion feels like a return to form, and they are excited about the future of Smosh.

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