youtube stars

Anthony Padilla Just Left YouTube Comedy Duo Smosh to Go Solo

Smosh (Padilla on the right.) Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images

One of the internet’s original YouTube stars, Anthony Padilla, just threw his 40-million-plus fandom a curveball: He’s leaving YouTube comedy duo Smosh after 12 years and nearly as many billion YouTube views to go solo. Padilla founded the channel with his best friend Ian Hecox in 2005 when the two were teenagers and YouTube wasn’t a lucrative economy, with famous faces topping Forbes lists. In 2011, Defy Media bought Smosh and turned it into a multimillion-dollar brand that now spans seven different channels, Smosh included, and launched Smosh’s film career. (The duo have starred in two successful movies, both in theaters and for YouTube Red.) Padilla announced his departure, of course, on YouTube, spoofing the dramatic “Why I Left BuzzFeed” videos that have popped up recently. (Padilla aptly titled his “Why I Left Smosh.”) In it he explains that he left Smosh to regain creative control and make content without corporate pressure, the way he and Hecox used to when both their channel and YouTube in general were in their infancy:

“It’s been so difficult for me to admit that things change. I’ve been holding onto these memories and hoping that someday Smosh would be like how it was when we first started before Smosh was a brand owned by a company. I had to come to terms with the fact that Smosh being part of a company has put all of my creative decisions through a filter of what’s appropriate for the Smosh brand as deemed by the company. I need to feel that happiness again.”

Padilla now says he’ll be focusing on a solo career, beginning with the creation of his own solo channel where he posted his farewell video, but that he’ll still remain close friends with Hecox as they only live two miles apart. In a statement, Defy Media and Hecox said they’ve been preparing for Padilla’s departure for months and that Smosh will continue as a comedy group led by Hecox, who says he fully supports Padilla’s solo career. (The two also made a separate video on Smosh’s channel to quash any rumors that a rift between the two might’ve caused Padilla to leave.) Padilla notes in his video that he looks forward to watching what Smosh does next, but that he’s also “excited about creating things again that won’t have to pass through a filter.”

Anthony Padilla Leaves YouTube Comedy Duo Smosh to Go Solo