Hiya Reddit! I'm Sam Reich (born and raised in Cambridge, MA), longtime employee of CollegeHumor, and as of less than a year ago, owner and CEO of it too. See, right before the pandemic hit, CollegeHumor was dumped by our corporate overlords at IAC, who laid off pretty much everyone but agreed to sell me the assets. At that point, I'd been running its video department for almost 15 years, so figured why not pour everything I had into this company as a last-ditch effort to save it?

Over the past 6 months, me and an incredibly lean team have managed to keep CollegeHumor and DROPOUT running despite losing 95% of our employees (hire them, btw, they are the best - https://hireacollegehumorer.com/), COVID-19, a fascist president, California wildfires, and a bout of diverticulitis. But as my hero Samuel Beckett would say, there's nothing funnier than unhappiness!

The long and short of it is this: we're still making YouTube sketches (I've written a couple of animated "If Google Was a Guy" episodes focused on quarantine) and still shows for Dropout (a new season fo our D&D acutalplay show Dimension 20 begins tomorrow; Um Actually and Erotic Clubhouse are consistently releasing new episodes; and we have a couple of other surprises in the works). A new season of my show Game Changer - a game show in which the game changes every episode - premieres this Friday on http://dropout.tv. For safety reasons, we're shooting all of our shows remotely, but I'm genuinely so excited about this season. It includes some of favorite episodes ever, and without giving too much away, some very special guests.

And now I'm here to answer your questions, share some stories, and commiserate with you good people as our world hurdles towards an uncertain future. AMA!

Proof: https://i.redd.it/hnvzw9pbb6m51.jpg

EDIT (4:30pm): That's it for now! Thanks for all of your fabulous questions and for all of your support. I can't wait for you to see what we do next.

Comments: 351 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

duckfuckingaduck178 karma

Hey Sam, let me ask you a question: where’d you grow up?

samreich142 karma

I swear to God, this is going to end up on my tombstone.

duckfuckingaduck54 karma

But what was the name of your childhood movie theatre?

In all seriousness tho, you say you’re planning to look at the 10-year horizon rather than the 1-year horizon. I’m a fan of CH, got a Dropout account, drop by the Discord now and then, but what makes you think that there is a 10-year horizon? CH isn’t looking too strong after the double punch, and as much as I’d love to see new content in 10+ years, what makes you, as the CEO, think that that’s a more reasonable possibility than only having a couple years left?

samreich131 karma

Two reasons:

- We're making enough money to support a small full-time staff, our most popular shows, and some experimentation.

- We're having a blast doing it.

So long as those remain true, there's every reason we should be able to grow again.

Tape_2340 karma

You seem like a smart guy, probably grew up around Cambridge Massachusetts. Hanging out at the crumbley square theater?

samreich70 karma

The worst part of this is it doesn't exist. It was a panic answer.

MrCappie120 karma

How tall is Grant?

samreich201 karma

6̶̱̈́͝.̵̛̠̎̉̅̑$̷̢̧̛̤̞̇̓̕ͅ%̷̢̘̙͍̓&̴̭́̀̋z̶̆ͅ

ryker888103 karma

How do you feel about seeing the Drawfee crew go independent after their separation from CH with seemingly huge success? Nathan and Co. are knocking it out of the park right now.

samreich191 karma

Gleeful.

One of my first orders of business taking over the company was to try to set up Drawfee for independence. Drawfee is a brand that lives and dies with them; it made no sense for them to be its "employees." I think they yearned for independence for a while, so this may have been the best outcome for them, and I'm thrilled to see the inspiration and success that's come along with it.

I'm a Patreon supporter!

Traxathon90 karma

How much of the current CH staff is actual paid staff and how much are just friends coming together to keep something alive?

samreich230 karma

Everyone is paid for their time. Even so, the ex-cast has been very gracious about continuing to play with us on a contract basis, even after getting laid off by IAC. It's a testament to what this place has meant to us over the years.

The question then is, obviously, will we ever bring cast back on full-time, to which I'll answer...

- One day if money allows.
- Don't assume all of them would want to. Many of them are using this as an opportunity to jumpstart their TV careers.
- One way or the other, I plan to work with them for the rest of my life.

luikan89 karma

Being the CEO, would you allow your employees to refer to you as chief? Or do you lean more towards Mr Reich? Or a super informal Sam?

samreich281 karma

I'm most comfortable with "Sam" and least comfortable with "daddy."

JeiceSpade70 karma

Where did you grow up?

samreich86 karma

Unbelievable.

AKluthe62 karma

If becoming CEO was like putting on the Infinity Gauntlet, what would the six College Humor infinity gems be?

Also just wanted to say thanks for keeping CH alive in some form. I spent 8 years freelancing between Dorkly, CH, and Dropout. There's a big hole left on the internet -- and in my heart -- for CH comics.

samreich75 karma

Soul, Space, Power, Time, Reality, and Mind still, but when you snap it, half of all of the internet comedy brands come back to life.

Also ANDY KLUTHE I love your work!!! I don't think CH comics can or should die. We'll figure this out.

americangame52 karma

CH got the one-two punch of losing funding from IAC followed by COVID. Considering that, are still things in work for new Dropout shows outside of the staples of D20, Um Actually, and such?

samreich87 karma

In losing IAC, it was clear we needed to at first focus on our most popular shows -- "Dimension 20," "Game Changer," and "Um Actually" -- and see if that business was sustainable before doing more.

The good news is, it is. So we're experimenting with other stuff slowly but surely: Rekha and Jess's hilarious "Erotic Clubhouse," as well as some other yet-to-be announced stuff. We want to grow slowly and responsibly, with our eyes on the 10-year horizon rather than the 1-year horizon.

GenericKen45 karma

Hi Sam!

As CH pivots back from testing ground to scrappy upstart, focusing on more economical content like game shows, podcasts, and D&D playthroughs, can we expect to see more spinoffs? I like Game Changer and all, but it always struck me as being most valuable as a lab for other game show concepts. (Whose sound effect is it anyway, Race to the bottom)

Also, is there any chance that Breaking News will come back w/ a wider cast of talent? I really like Amy Vorpahl in the victim slot, especially when paired with killers like BLM and Trapp, but I'd like to see a wider variety of victims and killers.

samreich52 karma

Great questions!

Yes to spinoffs. Spinoffs are one of the more reliable ways we can grow: by doubling-down on formats that have already proven to be successful. As you say, "Game Changer" is a great incubator.

Also yes to Breaking News -- basically as soon as we can get back in the studio.

EmilyStudies45 karma

How do you come up with the game concepts for Game Changer? Also who came up with the idea for the Yes or No episode?

samreich87 karma

It all begins with me sitting at my computer until I come up with a game mechanic I like, and then trying to subvert it somehow. I reference classic parlor games, game shows, board games, and cast member strengths / weaknesses for inspiration.

"Yes or No" was inspired by a Discord suggestion that I do an episode in which the only rule is -- SPOILER -- Brennan can't win.

I'm doing a low-fi companion series this season in which I go in depth on how I think about the show, breaking it down episode by episode. It's very pretentious but you might enjoy it!

Honesty_Addict11 karma

But will there be a companion series to the companion series? Is it going to be companion series all the way down, an infinite tower of iteration upon iteration upon iteration until it's just a 15 hour live stream of static that somehow makes Ally look even cooler?

samreich29 karma

10 levels down it's just me sobbing, knowing I'll never be their level of cool.

SamuraiWorf9 karma

The Yes or No One had to be inspired by the relatively old ch sketch, too. You guys even used the guest star video. This is probably obvious i just never saw it pointed out anywhere ^

samreich17 karma

Oh for sure. I was trying to think of a very simple game, realized it could be "yes or no," realized I could reuse the Jewel video (with permission), and everything fell into place.

JeiceSpade34 karma

Who came up with the idea for the 70s style game show look, especially your suit, for Game Changers?

samreich52 karma

I did! I wanted a classic game show look to pair with the surreal format. I bought the suit years ago on Adam Conover's urging.

The set was brought to life by the unbelievable Chloe Badner.

cloudubious33 karma

Hi Sam, i hope this was answered already but if not, do you plan to be in the cast for a Dimension 20 series?

samreich46 karma

Adventurous_Divide31 karma

Hi Sam,

What's your long-term plan for CH and Dropout now that you're independent? Do you think you'll staff-up once the world around us improves?

Thank you for being a bright spot in this crazy world! (Also, your dad is an incredible voice of reason in this election cycle! I finally figured out the connection while watching Game Changer the other day 🤣)

samreich39 karma

  1. Keep doing our most popular shows.
  2. Experiment with some new shows.
  3. Do some other stuff just for fun.

On staff.

My dad has more-or-less promised me he'll be on Game Changer at some point, so you have that to look forward to!

RossOfTheYear30 karma

When are we going to get a full album from Murph and Streeter's pop punk band?

samreich25 karma

Love the idea of a "roast album."

mikeatwork1929 karma

Hi Sam! What was the main motivation for CollegeHumor to rely on Facebook videos instead of YouTube? I know there was some controversy and misleading statements from FB, but what was it that sold you on their video platform?

samreich91 karma

While Facebook is a problematic platform, the extent to which it's responsible for CH's demise is seriously overblown. We never made videos specifically for Facebook nor relied mostly on Facebook as a means of distributing them.

Instead, you could look to the demise of mid-tier media companies mostly as a result of social media in general -- YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. -- and the way they killed independent websites by hogging traffic and ad sales.

Unfortunately, this isn't nearly the first time in history the rich have hollowed out the middle class.

TomerJ29 karma

Beef Gurewitch 4 when?

samreich34 karma

Forever. And ever. And ever.

kunt_nobrain27 karma

Hey Sam, what would you do if you had a time machine? Also, what's your favorite smell?

samreich48 karma

Stop the global climate crisis; fresh air.

Epsiboy23 karma

How tall are you?

A. no taller than 5' 5"

B. probably only like 4' 10"

C. about 4' 3"

D. only 2' tall

E. only 1' tall

F. only no feet tall

Also do Streeter and Murph still have their punk rock band?

samreich29 karma

I'll have you know I am an elegant 5'6".

neatospageto23 karma

Hi Sam. How many takes did the “Netflix” sketch take? Seems like there would’ve been several mess ups

samreich56 karma

I aced the long list of SVOD names every take... because I had the script right below my webcam. Instead, I ruined several takes by laughing at Brennan doing "mad Brennan."

FishcakeWoodSpy22 karma

Now, Sam, where'd you grow up?

Also - will we ever see you as a Game Changer contestant?

samreich62 karma

Now that I think about it... that would be a game changer.

SilverhawkPX4522 karma

You mentioned that there was an Um, Actually game in development on the Dropout Discord a while ago. Is there any news you can share regarding that?

samreich28 karma

J A N U A R Y

Jam_Jam798620 karma

Hi Sam! Longtime dropout sub here, I have been wondering this for a while, but why is the cast still appearing in CH sketches and series after the layoffs? This is by NO means a complaint, I love watching each and every one of them in their appearances, but are they officially still employed by CH or is it a gig/freelancer situation with them now?

samreich33 karma

It's all contract work for now, whether by episode or by series. See here for a bigger answer.

spencerDnDMT20 karma

On watching Total Forgiveness and Game Changer, you seem like a cool boss with your heart in the right place. How did you figure out how to be a leader of the company, especially in a new platform for media?

samreich44 karma

Mostly by watching and learning from my bosses.

Also by remembering that business / money are merely concepts and humanity / empathy matters more.

Tape_2318 karma

I have 3 questions

What was your favorite episode of game changer?

Do you plan on rehiring the cast one that pandemic cools down?

Did trapp kill pat?

samreich54 karma

Probably a dead heat between "Round 4," "A Sponsored Episode," "Do I Hear $1," and a couple of episodes from this coming season.

On cast.

Did Trapp kill Pat? Did I blackmail Trapp? Are Trapp's blackmail payments now sustaining our company? All good questions.

goodeveningtalos18 karma

Breaking News was a welcome reprieve in this time and I was surprised that there were as many episodes as there were so deep into the pandemic. Are there plans to pick it back up remotely or is it something that will have to wait for in-person shoots to be okay again?

thatlookslikemydog5 karma

I love Breaking News. A piggyback question: what sort of pre-taping do they go through? Not naming names but some folks seem to have the giggles pretty consistently right out the gate.

samreich22 karma

On Breaking News.

Pre-shoot, everyone is explained the rules: they laugh, they lose. Fortunately, being told not to laugh is like hearing "don't think about elephants."

caligoacheron18 karma

What advice can you give to people who want to create their own d&d show with the same level of production design as dimension 20?

samreich61 karma

Have money. IAC allowed us to take big risks that we could have never afforded to otherwise, and thus Dimension 20's sets, snorkel shots, illustrations, edits, sound design, music.

Of course, production value is only 10% of the equation. 90% is the extraordinary talent we have making use of it.

Honesty_Addict17 karma

Sam! Dropout is one of the few subscription services I'm signed up for, and I love everything on it. Obviously a huge D20 nerd, but Game Changer is amazing and Total Forgiveness has become a comfort show I go back to.

How has filming remotely been a challenge? Has it presented any opportunities to try out new ideas you wouldn't have done/thought of when you were filming in a studio?

samreich24 karma

Thank you so much for your support!

Remote production is a big curse but a small blessing. Shows work remarkably well over video confidence and cost a fraction of what they would to produce in studio. We've also just started to use it as an opportunity to do more animation.

We can't wait to get back into the studio, but we count our blessings every day.

samuil90015 karma

In the early days of College Humor, did you ever get strange looks from people when you told them what you did? I know you had some big shoes to fill in your family and with someone as notable as your father it seems like some people might not have exactly understood why you chose to pursue comedy.

samreich27 karma

Totally. I don't think you get into this business unless you have the sense that you'd fail miserably or be very unhappy doing anything else.

By the time I dropped out of high school, I was the black sheep of my overachieving, academic family. By the time I got hired by ColleeHumor, I think they were mostly relieved. Heck, I was too.

GenericKen16 karma

Holy crap, your dad is Robert Reich?

Has he ever come to you for advice on video production after he launched his YouTube thing? CH has like 50x his subscriber base. =)

Also, has he seen "Do I Hear $1"? That thing is a masterwork, and I'll take every opportunity I can to encourage you to serialize it into an economics game show called "Race to the Bottom" - a sort of counterpoint to Win Ben Stein's Money, but with less bad faith and more funny.

samreich28 karma

Yeah, I advise my dad on all things social media.

I must be the only kid to set their dad up on Facebook only for their dad to get 2,000,000 followers.

Zaurebrauden14 karma

Why have you kept the brand name “CollegeHumor” when your content is not college-themed and your audience spans a broad age range?

Is this period of transition the right moment to re-brand to something that represents your organization better and wouldn’t mislead potential new fans?

samreich44 karma

The CollegeHumor brand name has always been a blessing and a curse. It's been around for long enough to have some real equity, but I agree isn't appropriate for us anymore. Truth be told, we'll probably rebrand as soon as we get our feet more so under us.

As a high school dropout, the name Dropout resonates a lot more with me personally.

GreenEngrams12 karma

Who's your favorite cast member of all time?

samreich38 karma

I could never choose.

Trapp would kill me too.

CoolAsTheUnthawed12 karma

Are you still Amir's secretary?

samreich35 karma

"He wishes." -- dictated but not read by Amir Blumenfeld

interna1312 karma

Hi Sam, I just subscribed to Dropout last month and I love it! Are there any plans for a Season 2 of UltraMechatron Team Go? It's the reason that I signed up!

samreich18 karma

I love "Ultramechatron." It's probably my favorite scripted series we created for Dropout. I'd love to do a second season of it, but it might be a minute before we can make the dollars work.

Ed_Dough12 karma

Hey Sam, where did you grow up?

samreich17 karma

I can't.

EndDaMan11 karma

What is your favorite episode of Game Changer?

samreich16 karma

My favorites are the ones that lean on cast: "Make Some Noise," "A Sponsored Episode," "Do I Hear $1," a handful of episodes from next season.

Episodes that count on me -- "Whodunnit?", "Yes or No" -- make my palms sweaty.

GargamelLeNoir11 karma

What is your favorite Hardly Working sketch ever? You can even make a top 3 if you feel like it!

By the way I loved every single one of the times you were in sketches, you're hilarious.

Say hi to Finnegan!

samreich11 karma

Are We Ready To Go Yet is my favorite lesser-known HW. Fast-paced and visual, it tickles me just right. I actually have a whole list of my lesser-known faves on Dropout.

Finnegan says "Warm greetings to you as well. Now may I propose I lick your feet?"

magnaz9 karma

I fully expected you to be in season 6 of d20. What's it gonna take for us to be blessed with Cowboy Sam?

samreich24 karma

Genuinely don't know if Brennan will let me get away with this.

theatreandphilosophy9 karma

Hi Sam! Love CH + Dropout, the content really brightens my day, especially your cherub like giggling on Game Changer. Have you ever considered directing theatre again? Big fan of R+G, gearing up to play Hamlet rn!

samreich11 karma

I would *love* to do theater again. There's no bigger rush than making a live audience laugh, cry, gasp. I hope to get back to it later in life!

Best of luck with Hamlet! One time I saw a college production in which the actor playing Halmet said "To be or not to be... line?"

WPIRiggles9 karma

Hi Sam, love Dropout! Can we get an insight into which shows are definitely continuing or is it all up in the air because of Covid? Also, will we ever see you in a Dimension 20 campaign? I wish I could just talk to the entire cast!

samreich17 karma

Definitely continuing: Dimension 20, Game Changer, Um Actually, CH sketch, Dorkly Bits.

Currently experiments: Erotic Clubhouse.

Future experiments: ________ ____ __, _____ ________, _____.

Real_Jotaro_Kujo8 karma

Why?

samreich28 karma

Who's to say? The Big Bang started us out on this journey, sending us slowly but surely toward an inevitable oblivion. All that happens between then and now could be seen as meaningless. But even if meaning is totally subjective, then we should know it anyway: love and be loved; conquer our fears; feel a beach breeze. Perhaps the question is instead, why not?

ThroneSnatcher7 karma

Hey Sam, super excited for the new season of Game Changers! I was wondering if you're planning on bringing guests from outside of the main cast to new episodes in the future? Also, Sam, where you from?

samreich6 karma

We have a few close friends of the family participating this season: Lou Wilson, Alfred Aquino II, and Christine Medrano for instance... not to mention I can't say but tune in this Friday!

Crumpets_Touche7 karma

Greetings Sam,

Who are your greatest inspirations? And what is the strangest experience you've had while working at CollegeHumour?

samreich9 karma

Basically anyone who's making comedy with their own ruleset. Regularly inspired by peers at NADDPOD, Headgum, and Drawfee. Also Nick Gurewitch, Lisa Hanawalt, and about a bajillion TikTok creators. As I get older, I find myself looking to traditional media for inspiration less and less.

Strangest experience: getting stalked.

Xeo257 karma

Hey Sam! It's Oren Cohen, the blogger :)

I have so many questions to ask but I'll ask the most important one: How do we help Dropout aside from staying subscribed? I feel like more can be done to bring in more subscribers.

(Doing my best with interviewing your cast members but I'm only one person haha)

samreich10 karma

HI OREN! Thanks for all your amazing coverage over the years. You're a fan with legend status.

We're right now on a slow and steady growth path, which is basically all we can hope for -- but word of mouth helps a lot, especially when it comes in the form of media like yours. This Dimension 20 video, for instance, was a huge boon for us.

GamblinGus7 karma

If a genie let you forced you to relaunch The CollegeHumor Show, what would it look like?

samreich16 karma

I'd wish it cancelled.

iamembarassed4206 karma

hi sam! i'm a huge fan. do you have any advice for people trying to be creative/write comedy right now when everything in the world is so uncertain and depressing? lmao

samreich11 karma

I love this question.

There's a very practical issue at play here, which is that fight or flight and creativity don't coexist well. Anxiety is a creativity killer.

So, I've been trying to calm myself down: with meditation, music, exercise, and by simplifying my days in general. Then, the creativity comes easier: whether it's in the form of societal commentary or something sillier.

MaxIsPan6 karma

What advice do you have for a teen trying to get into the film business?

samreich11 karma

The best piece of advice I ever received was from my high school drama teacher, who told me "It's not how long you want something; it's how long you want it for."

It might be something of a self-selecting group, but of those of us who have hung in there for 10+ years, the vast majority of us are now making a living from it somehow.

chirptastic5 karma

Hi Sam!

Big fan of college humor, Is there a plan to secure additional corporate backing or acquisitions in the future?

Dropout is one of the few subscriptions I pay for outside of netflix. Even with all the general complaints of too many subscription model media businesses, is dropout turning into a profitable and viable service? What is your opinion on the plethora of subscriptions available to consumers?

samreich7 karma

Probably not. I'm enjoying running CollegeHumor my own way for the first time in history. With investors, I'd have to answer to their (often aggressive) needs. Right now, what the company needs is a gentle touch and patience. I'm happy to say we are profitable and growing -- if slowly.

TV as we know it is dying and getting replaced by SVODs. If the average American spends $50+ on cable today, then tomorrow they should be able to afford Netflix, Disney+, *and* Dropout. The tricky part is how to market something like Dropout to its would-be audience.

TomerJ4 karma

What's the relationship between Big Breakfast and Collegehumor/Dropout nowadays? I mean the relationship was never exactly clear before IAC gave CH the boot, but now I'm really curious as to what the relationship's become.

samreich13 karma

I founded Big Breafkast (CH's offshoot production company), but it was then sold to Propagate in order to help deficit finance Dropout. That said, there's nothing to say we can't spin up TV again. In fact, we plan to!

hypotermier4 karma

Hi Sam, is there any other way we could support You and the Cast besides subscribing to Dropout and buying merch? [ I'm a student so I can't hire anyone, but trust me I would :'( ] Love you guys so much, and stay safe!! 💖💖💖

samreich10 karma

I super appreciate your support!

There will be a couple of upcoming opportunities for you to support us on a more meaningful level (read "big merch"). Stay tuned!

Pppgameboy4 karma

Hello! Long time watcher, first time caller. Hypothetically, if you were to do a second season of Total Forgiveness (which is one of my two favourite DROPOUT shows, the other being the excellent Game Changer), would you want it to be Ally and Grant again or would you want an entirely new pair to suffer?

Oh, and have there been any ideas you’ve had for Game Changer that haven’t been possible/have been cut?

Anyway. Well done and thank you for all the great content you’ve produced!

samreich9 karma

The idea for TFS2 was that Grant and Ally would team up somehow. I remain hopeful that we can make this happen someday!

MicZiC154 karma

How much are you allowed to say about why IAC broke y'all off? Was it just that they didn't feel CH was profitable enough, or is there more too it?

samreich12 karma

Ever since IAC bought CH in 2006, the question was: how do we turn into a hundred million dollar company? There were different attempts at that over 14 years -- ads, TV, subscription -- and while none of them failed outright, none of them succeeded at the level IAC wanted either.

In the trying, however, CH gave birth to some awesome stuff -- stuff that makes a lot of sense for us as a smaller, less ambitious company.

meaghandewolf3 karma

Hey Sam! Hope you are doing well. What never fails to make you laugh?

flashstorm3 karma

How the hell did y'all convince Grant to not sue y'all into the ground after you let Brian absolutely destroy him in that one Breaking News episode?

samreich10 karma

Truthfully I think Grant kind of likes it -- and I respect him for it.

TheD1v1s1on51 karma

Ever consider to change to Tiktok Humor? College kids nowadays don't do old stuff.

samreich2 karma

This seems like as good an opportunity as any to plug my TikTok.

HalJordan8931 karma

Hey Sam how does it feel to be so iconic not only through dropout/CH but also in most social media platforms you are on? Did you know you would blow up like this?

samreich5 karma

you misspelled "ironic"

Heartfelt pretentious response: I like making content for social media platforms because it feels like the least commercial thing (and at times even detrimental to my career as an executive), and a pure form of modern art.

Sedentary1 karma

Hi Sam, what's your favorite way to laugh?

samreich5 karma

When my partner ELaine says something hilarious and disarming, which is every day.

dwboso1 karma

I've watched the two Random Impression episodes of Game Changer way too many times now. When do we get a follow up?

samreich5 karma

Zac Oyama unfortunately wasn't able to do this season, so suffice it to say I had to get... creative.

[deleted]1 karma

Who told you your first dirty joke? Will you be using it in any upcoming shows?

samreich2 karma

My godfather, Doug Dworkin. He is the funniest and most supportive godfather ever, is responsible for my early sense of humor, and is almost definitely reading this AMA.