Just for Kicks How the kings of funny keep people laughing--and coming back.
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Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen's story starts a little too perfectly; more like a standard issue romantic comedy than an unlikely success story. They would have never written it themselves, that's for sure. That is, unless the punch line involved something much more ironic or slapstick than two college kids crafting a million-dollar business by posting videos of drunken dorm room charades online. They couldn't have known that day in junior high, when they first met and shared a laugh over a Saturday Night Live clip that Van Veen had taped and surreptitiously shared with Abramson, that together they would eventually become the little-known pioneers of a revolutionary industry. It was a more innocent time, before sites like YouTube and Hulu were household names and words like viral video and user-generated content had yet to be uttered.
Now, almost 15 years later, the founders of 1999 startup CollegeHumor, a TV-network-like empire of hilarious web content (including original and user-generated videos), games, blogs, columns, several web series, a production company and a show on MTV, still get their laughs--and money--sharing all things funny. However, as Abramson recalls, the catalyst that got them started was neither that day they met in social studies class nor their childhood passion for comedy, but a basic entrepreneurial instinct.