Smosh is a YouTube channel led by Ian Hecox. It originally consisted of the comedic duo which included Ian and his childhood friend, Anthony Padilla. On June 14, 2017, Anthony, in a video with Ian, announced he had left Smosh after admitting that he no longer enjoyed working on it, while Ian stated that he would continue to work on the brand. With over 8 billion views and over 24 million subscribers, Smosh is the eighty-sixth most viewed and the twenty-eighth most subscribed channel on YouTube.
On November 6, 2018, Smosh and all other Smosh related channels halted production after their parent company, Defy Media, abruptly closed without warning. However, on November 12th, 2018, Smosh made an independent video called Smosh is Homeless, revealing that Ian still had access to the channels and that he would continue to upload both pre-filmed and independent content as long as his access continued.
On February 19, 2019, Smosh officially announced its acquisition by Mythical Entertainment, a production company owned by Rhett and Link of Good Mythical Morning. Regular videos relaunched within a week of the announcement, with the three main Smosh channels undergoing a partial rebrand to signal their change in management. Under the management of Mythical Entertainment, Smosh has become a near-independent brand; the content released is decided entirely by the cast and crew, with minimal intervention from Rhett and Link themselves.
Ian and Anthony are best friends who had regularly made videos together ever since high school, which they uploaded on YouTube and the website Smosh.com. At first, Smosh only consisted of half the pair. Anthony used to make flash games and movies on Newgrounds.com under the name "Smosh." The name Smosh originated when one of Anthony's friends was talking about a mosh pit he had joined, and Anthony misheard him as saying "Smosh Pit" instead. This became an inside joke between Ian, Anthony, and their friends.
Their rise to fame started in the fall of 2005 during YouTube's early days. The videos they made then were extremely different to their videos now. Smosh's earliest videos were music videos of theme songs from video games or television shows recorded in Anthony's bedroom. One of Smosh's earliest videos uploaded on November 28, 2005, was the Pokemon Theme Song. It was an extremely big hit for the early channel as from March 12 to May 19, 2006, it was the most viewed video on YouTube from being at 4,300,000 views by the time it surpassed eggtea's "Myspace- The Movie" sketch comedy video as the most viewed video to 10,600,000 views before being surpassed by Judson Laipply's "Evolution of Dance" video. It remained on YouTube for at least 6 months with over 24,000,000 views before it was taken off due to copyright issues. Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd. forced YouTube to remove the video for copyright infringement. All of this publicity made Smosh become the most subscribed channel on YouTube with nearly 3,000 subscribers however they were shortly surpassed by Judison Liapply.
The duo soon stopped making music videos as often and moved onto comical 'episodes' which would become what they are most famous for. These started off with short videos such as Dolls and Stranded. But later on, they turned to full 3-5 minute long skits and shows. The plots of these episodes would be about anything, from Ian's birthday to Disney movies.
Due to this, the comedy channel would become the most subscribed twice more, throughout 2007 to 2013.
During that time, in July 2011, Smosh was bought by Alloy Digital (now Defy Media).
In 2015 five new regular cast members were added to the Smosh family these being Keith Leak II, Noah Grossman, Olivia Sui, Courtney Miller and Shayne Topp. This gave Smosh the chance to have even more elaborate and detailed skits. They were also able to launch other side series such as Every Blank Ever and The Big What If but many of these videos did not feature Ian or Anthony.
After the addition of the five regular cast members, previous Smosh actors such as Lee Eisenhower, Travis Zeiler, Melissa Melancon and Brittni Barger were phased out. Many iconic characters from the earlier Smosh days such as Boxman, That Damn Neighbor and Teleporting Fat Guy also vanishing from videos.
On June 14, 2017, Anthony officially left Smosh, leaving Ian now as the leader of Smosh. This has made Ian participate in more videos again along with their videos usually being longer skits, with more detailed plots and an older audience aim now. Recently, Smosh issued their first game show on the channel where it features other YouTubers.
Over their twelve years on YouTube, Smosh has expanded from a single channel of two teenagers making short sketches into a brand with a full cast, five official channels, multiple awards and nominations, various video games and merchandise, a fully scripted series, one YouTube Premium film and one theatrical film.
These are their most recent video series:
Most of their videos are inappropriate, but are rated green in the age and content holder. A few of them have been flagged, such as "How to Hide a Boner in Public!" and "I'm Naked!". Both of those videos can be viewed at Smosh.com. Smosh sometimes makes episodic videos like "I Lost My Hair!" and "Homeless Millionaire!" and the Life as Ghosts series in 2008. Since 2017, Smosh has released a game show on their channel titled "You Posted That?" Also in 2017, select Smosh videos and thumbnails, some of which had been in place for over a decade, were changed, most likely to coincide with the advertisers' wishes of nothing in YouTube videos of a sexual, violent, or otherwise crass nature. This trend still continues along with Smosh's content starting to feature less cursing and offensive jokes.
Smosh videos have been upgrading in content and quality since their debut in 2005. Usually, it will take about 2 weeks to make a complex 3-5 minute long Smosh video, with the filming, editing, and producing.
In an interview, Anthony said that it didn't take much work to come up with a video idea. The first thing they do is think of 4 or 5 different ideas, and discuss them. After the video idea is decided, they think about who will do what and when. In the same interview, Ian said that he's the one who comes up with most of the ideas, and Anthony extends them.
As part of the process, Ian said he would edit for a few hours before confronting Anthony to discuss it. When they found a video idea they both decided on, they would start working on a script to go with it.
Anthony said when it came time to shoot the video, they would collect some friends and producers that would make sure to get the properties and location for it.
When they're writing, they try not to make the ideas too complex because it's a lot of work to find certain locations, and they have to shoot every week.
Ian said that the process of producing a single video is never start-to-finish, but gradual. While Ian is writing, Anthony is editing a video that was filmed 2 weeks ago.
Anthony was usually the one who chooses the clips to be added on to the video with the help of their Professional Editor that guides him. 70% of the final video is chosen by their editor and 30% of it is either thrown or just another idea added in for fun. Then Ian would go in and edit the bloopers and extra components on his own.
It takes about 12 hours, on average, to complete the entire editing process.
Since then, Smosh has built a production crew that helps them out with their video ideas from plot, script, scenery and props, and about everything that comes out of the video. Ian and Anthony said in an interview that they usually put out ideas that they find funny and hope that their audience finds them funny too. Then the Smosh squad or Smosh crew expands them, sometimes even makes them. Due to the abundance of people these days, it takes much less time to think of an idea, make the video and edit it. These are reasons that influenced Anthony's decision to leave Smosh because the presence of a production crew and being owned by a company made his creative ideas have to "go through a filter".
Frequent comments, especially after the departure of Anthony, state they dislike the direction Smosh is going in and find Smosh's older style videos more creative and entertaining.
Anthony Leaves Smosh
On June 14, 2017, Anthony left Smosh to become an independent creator on his own channel AnthonyPadilla. He explains in a video on his channel that he felt like since Smosh was now a brand owned by a company all his creative decisions had to go "through a filter". In a reaction video uploaded by Lasercorn a few hours later, he explained that he expected Ian to see what all he could get out of the Smosh Squad and that Smosh will continue on just fine comparing it to how Saturday Night Live (SNL) is. A year after his departure, Smosh dropped from the eighth to the twenty-third most subscribed YouTube channel.
Shutdown of Defy Media and Independence
On November 7, 2018, various members of Smosh, past and present, confirmed that Defy Media, Smosh's parent company, was shutting down with no prior warning. According to Anthony and Jovenshire, more than eighty people lost their jobs, including the entirety of the Smosh Productions team. Lasercorn uploaded videos on the subject the day before and just afterwards, and Joven uploaded an unedited vlog hours after the announcement, in which he revealed that the channels would not be deleted and all content would still be available to rewatch, but that all of them would be "going dark" - meaning that all video production would cease indefinitely.
There were mixed messages regarding the future of Smosh. Joven referred to his time in Smosh in the past tense, while confirming that he wanted to continue making videos with the other Smosh members and assuring his viewers that they would always be "a family". The idea that Smosh was closing down permanently was initially somewhat reinforced by Anthony, Mari, Damien, Matt Raub and Kristina Nikolic. However, Ian, arguably the lead authority at the time, stated clearly that he was going to try and keep Smosh together and that he was working on finding a new company to buy the brand. Wes backed this up, encouraging fans to "keep their fingers crossed", and others such as Ryan Todd, Lasercorn, Boze, Josh Mattingly and the entirety of the Smosh Squad (Shayne, Courtney, Noah, Olivia and Keith) declared in various ways that they hoped they'd be working together as a company again soon. Additionally, Flitz finally broke a long-term silence on his status with Smosh, revealing that he also hoped they would continue - and that he could become a full-time member again.
Many Smosh members, in both the cast and crew, took the shutdown as an opportunity to declare how much they loved each other and how much they'd enjoyed being a part of Smosh. Anthony, Lasercorn and Flitz all contributed to this, despite no longer being official members. Almost everyone confirmed that they think of each other as family, and that whatever happens they would always care about each other and try to make new content together.
Response From Fans And Others
In addition to the company-wide response to the shutdown, fans of Smosh became extremely vocal about Defy Media and the effect it had had on Smosh. Widespread and obvious support for the channels began spreading out over various platforms, and despite the ongoing perception that Smosh had lost its appeal, long-time, recent and former viewers all paid open respect to Smosh and expressed their sadness at the shutdown, responding well to Ian's insistence that Smosh would soon find a new home. Many fans claimed that they would willingly donate money to keep the channels going, and stated that YouTube "would not be the same" without Smosh and that they hoped everything would come together soon. Many also saw the break with Defy Media, acknowledged to be a controlling, money-orientated corporation, as a positive development: there was widespread hope that cancelled shows such as Lunchtime With Smosh and Smosh is Bored would return, that Smosh itself would have more say on what and when it uploaded, and even some who hoped that Anthony would return.
Furthermore, some other YouTubers also voiced their opinions regarding the matter. Lisa Schwartz, who goes by her YouTube name Lisbug, commented that "I had to find out they were closing via a Tubefilter article. Not even a call or a heads up. Blinded and without pay. Insanity". Shane Dawson, another YouTuber and the boyfriend of Ryland Adams (formerly from Clevver, another Defy-based company), tweeted multiple statements of his negative opinion of Defy Media, including that the incident had been "literally the most unprofessional shit I’ve ever seen from any youtube network or internet company in the last 12 years that I’ve been working online."
Future of Smosh
On November 12, 2018, a video entitled Smosh is Homeless was suddenly uploaded to the Smosh main channel (though Jovenshire had mentioned it in an Instagram live stream the day before). The video featured Ian, Boze, Damien and the Smosh Squad, and Ian revealed that he had unexpectedly been given access to all the Smosh channels, and that despite the fact that Smosh was now functioning without either a parent company or a production team, they would actively try to continue uploading pre-filmed videos themselves. He also stated that as long as they had access to the channels, they would be trying to create new independent videos for them; Ian kept this promise, as he and the Squad came together to film new content for both Smosh and Smosh Pit, using Ian's house as a set for the videos.
In Smosh is Homeless (and in a comment made via the Smosh channel), Ian made it clear how grateful he was for the ongoing support shown by the fanbase. Along with the other present Smosh cast members, he insisted multiple times that Smosh had been doing well recently, and that they were not planning on going away any time soon - and that one of his priorities was making sure that all the Smosh team (both cast and crew) got their jobs back.
Concern About Smosh Games
As soon as the news about Defy Media was announced, Jovenshire, Lasercorn and many viewers expressed concern that Smosh Games would not be a priority if a transition to another company was made. While Smosh and Smosh Pit had consistent viewing numbers, Smosh Games had been falling behind for some time, and Joven in particular implied that another company may not see Smosh Games as a profitable investment. This idea was very negatively received by fans, and was fed by a statement from Ian that he would try and ensure that finished videos from Smosh and Smosh Pit would be uploaded, with no mention of Smosh Games. While the channel did not receive as many views as the two other main Smosh channels, the idea that Smosh Games might actually be coming to an end was not well received, affirming that the channel had a consistent fanbase and reiterating that the channel had recently been gaining popularity again, and fans began awaiting news that Smosh Games would continue alongside the rest of the company.
Worries about Smosh Games seemed to be put to rest with the release of Smosh is Homeless, which confirmed that Smosh Games would receive equal attention to Smosh and Smosh Pit in the near future, with videos continuing to be planned and edited for the channel. However, despite this initial claim, attention given to Smosh Games seems to have eventually been sidelined; while Smosh and Smosh Pit kept a fairly regular upload schedule since production was halted, Smosh Games began to lag behind, seemingly due to having less available pre-filmed content than Smosh and Smosh Pit, and as of Christmas 2018 all Smosh Games episodes filmed prior to the shutdown had been uploaded.
In addition to an absence of new content, the Smosh Games crew itself seemed to be fractured from the main cast; after the shutdown, the Smosh Squad continued to make regular appearances as a group, often appearing on each others' social media accounts and personal YouTube channels, and even came together to create new videos for the main Smosh channel with the help of the remaining crew; and while many of the various Smosh Games cast members created content together after their channel went dark, they did not remain together in the same sense as the Squad - meaning that unlike the other two Smosh channels, Smosh Games did in fact "go dark". Out of the five Smosh Games members working on the channel before the shutdown, Mari, Wes and Joven came together to create new content (including Lasercorn and Sohinki in much of it), but Boze and Damien never formally united with the rest of Smosh Games after vacating the Smosh office, though Damien appeared in new content for the Smosh main channel and appeared on Lasercorn and Joven's personal channels. While Ian confirmed that he had run out of pre-filmed Smosh Games videos to upload, it seemed that the cast was not planning on coming together for the sake of the channel while they were not officially Smosh employees, and sure enough, no genuinely new content was released on Smosh Games while Smosh had no parent company.
Despite this, in the summary for the last Smosh Games episode to be uploaded after the shutdown, Ian directly confirmed that he was trying to find a new home for Smosh Games alongside Smosh and Smosh Pit, and that he hoped the Smosh Games crew would be coming together to create new content for the channel before too long. On January 12, 2019, Boze confirmed on Twitter that she would be leaving her YouTube career to become a marketing director, confirming that she would not be returning to Smosh Games if Smosh did find a new home.
On April 3, 2019, the release of The Return of Smosh Games confirmed that Smosh Games would officially become active again on April 10, with Mari, Lasercorn and Damien all returning as regular cast members (though it was confirmed that the divides between the cast would become more blurred, with the Smosh Squad and Smosh Games coming together to create content in a more liberal manner than before). Following numerous queries from viewers about their status with Smosh, Joven confirmed in a video on his personal channel that neither he, Sohinki nor Wes would be rejoining the channel on a regular basis, though the option of them still appearing, albeit less than before, was left open.
Acquisition by Mythical Entertainment
On February 19, 2019, Ian uploaded a video to the Smosh main channel called "Something's Coming...", which featured himself holding various notecards teasing something that was to be announced that upcoming Friday. On February 22, 2019, another video called "The rumors are true..." was uploaded, which featured Ian, the Smosh Squad, Damien and Matt Raub. In this video, Ian officially announced that Smosh had been bought by Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning and would now be functioning under the protection of their company, Mythical Entertainment - something that had been speculated by the Smosh fanbase, prompting the title of the announcement video. Ian confirmed that Smosh would essentially be starting all over again - they would have far more creative freedom within the new company, and they were going to be trying various new things within the Smosh brand and taking a larger amount of responsibility for it than they had in the past. Damien in turn confirmed that all the regular Smosh channels, including Smosh, Smosh Games, Smosh Pit and ElSmosh, would be active again - and a new channel, SmoshCast, was also announced, focused around a new Smosh podcast. Noah directly referenced the effect of the Smosh fanbase on the brand's existence in the video, saying that Smosh could not have continued without the ongoing support of the fans - harkening back to Ian's statements of the same nature in previous update videos.
The upload of "The rumors are true..." also coincided with a change to the Smosh logo - the background changed from pink to black, presumably as a sign of Smosh starting afresh with a new parent company. The channel banners and icons of Smosh, Smosh Games and Smosh Pit were similarly altered, featuring the name of each channel on a black background.
In the first episode of SmoshCast, Ian, Shayne and Courtney talked about how much happier they were at Mythical than they had been at Defy Media, referencing everything from the refreshments available to the state of the bathrooms - but they mostly highlighted how their management had changed for the better. Ian claimed that joining Mythical was the closest thing they could have done to functioning as an independent company - he was now officially "in charge" of Smosh, as opposed to answering to corporate officials, and Rhett and Link were giving him and the rest of the Smosh cast genuine creative freedom, letting them do, in Ian's words, "whatever we want". It was revealed in this podcast episode that Defy Media rarely took notice of the ideas put forward by the Smosh cast, choosing instead to gravitate to the video concepts they thought would get the most views, which ironically often didn't in comparison to those conceived by the cast themselves - and that unlike Defy, Mythical was rarely interfering with what Ian and the cast wanted to do barring occasional guidance and suggestions, letting the cast for the most part forge a path for Smosh based on their own wishes for the brand. Ian, Shayne and Courtney referenced numerous videos that they had already begun filming, and emphasised that they had been reluctant to join any other production company if they thought they would be stuck with another incarnation of Defy Media, and Mythical Entertainment was a company they believed was unlikely to go in the same direction as Defy.
- Smosh Games
- Smosh Pit (previously Smosh 2nd Channel)
- Smosh France
- Shut Up! Cartoons
- According to an interview with TIME Magazine, the name "Smosh" is derived from the phrase "mosh pit" (this would ironically later be the inspiration for the renaming of Smosh 2nd Channel to "Smosh Pit").
- In an interview, Ian and Anthony said that the longest amount of time they took to edit a video without sleep was thirty-six hours, which they spent editing their Food Battle 2009 video. They swore they would never do it again.
- Smosh was featured in the official YouTube tribute "Rewind YouTube Style 2012" (they first appear at 1:24). In the video, they are apparently members of the Propulsion Laboratory, but when their space probe explodes, they start crying and Anthony calls Felicia Day.
- Other than PSY, the singer of the main soundtrack, Anthony was the only person in the video to speak with his real voice (the others lip synced to the music).
- They also appeared in the YouTube 2013 rewind video (YouTube Rewind: What Does 2013 Say?), in this video they were in an RV wearing green aprons, lab goggles and tighty-whiteys, a clear reference to AMC's Breaking Bad.
- Ian and Anthony appeared together in every YouTube Rewind from 2012 to 2015. Anthony took part in 2017's YouTube Rewind, but was not associated or affiliated with the rest of the Smosh cast, who were featured only briefly at the beginning.
- Smosh created their own magazine, and consistently retweeted people's picture of them with the Smosh Magazine. Only two issues of the magazine were produced.