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Advance and Turner back Above Average, Lorne Michaels’ internet comedy factory

$15 million to help make more videos with the help of some “Saturday Night Live” talent.

Above Average
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Every media company wants video. And they’d really like funny video, if they can get it (maybe one that launches a $1 billion company).

Happy to serve, says Above Average. They’re the New York-based startup that specializes in comedy video production and distribution, backed for many years by “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video company.

Above Average has its own sites, including the The Kicker, a sports comedy hub. But it does plenty of work for third-party clients, including Sony, and that shows up on other outlets, like “Alec Baldwin’s Love Ride,” which is what it sounds like it is, and has run on both the web and TV.

Now Above Average is getting enough traction to get backing from other people as well. It has raised $15 million from Advance Vixeid Partners, the investment arm backed by Conde Nast owner Advance Publications, and Time Warner’s Turner network, which has been making a series of digital investments this year.

While Above Average describes its new investors as strategic, it doesn’t mean either company says it plans to use Above Average’s on- or off-screen talent. Above Average says it doesn’t need the extra help.

“A lot of these digital companies have announced that ‘Hey we’re getting a lot of money from these TV networks, and now we’re in TV,’” said Marc Lieberman, who runs business development for Above Average. “We’re already in TV.” (Ouch!)

Here’s the kind of thing Above Average is doing now: A Kicker video featuring John Cena and Leslie Jones, which also aired on ESPN last week:

This article originally appeared on

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