Irony Point might not have wide name recognition just yet, but its projects, which include Netflix’s WGA Award-winning “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson” and Marvel’s new scripted “Squirrel Girl” podcast, are attracting the attention of high-profile backers.
The banner, now almost 12 months into a three-year overall deal with Netflix, is headed by co-presidents Alex Bach and Daniel Powell. Their little company also has partnered with Endeavor Content and Broadway Video on recent projects.
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Endeavor Content, Irony Point’s collaborator on Hulu dramedy “Life & Beth,” is a “behemoth” operating “in a budget space that we’ve previously not even come close to,” Powell tells Variety. “Being partners with them as the studio really allowed us to have our first experience in what I’d say is a different league, but one that we hope to continue in.”
Powell and Bach feel similarly about Irony Point’s team-up with Broadway Video on the Lorne Michaels-produced HBO Max show “That Damn Michael Che,” which “helped generate this great relationship with NBCUniversal that we didn’t have before.”
The duo also teamed with “Black Mirror” bosses Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ Broke And Bones production company for Netflix’s special “Death to 2021,” which Irony Point handled production services on. Powell says Irony Point is in “active development conversations about potential future specials later this year” with Netflix.
Powell, an alum of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” produced “Inside Amy Schumer” alongside Jax Media for its original Comedy Central run, and first collaborated with Bach on the 2017 indie feature “Becks.” They partnered on Irony Point that year and are producing the revival of “Inside Amy Schumer” for Paramount+.
The Irony Point principals say the company is looking to grow through strategic partnerships like these, rather than M&A opportunities like Jax Media, acquired in 2018 by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment.
“We very much respect companies like Jax and what they’ve done with Imagine,” Bach said. “It’s really nice that they have their model of one path we could take. Having said that, I think we’re very different, in our own way, and that’s not necessarily our route.”
Powell adds: “Right now we’re just trying to keep our eye on continuing to make quality things with great talent.”
That includes expanding Irony Point’s reach into podcasting, something the company has been doing since 2019 with its Radio Point banner, launched in partnership with Smartless Media president Rich Korson and audio producer Houston Snyder. As Variety exclusively reported earlier this week, Irony Point’s Radio Point is producing Marvel’s newly launched SiriusXM podcast series “Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show,” based on Ryan North’s “Squirrel Girl” comics.
“We’re seeing a lot of business growth on the podcasting side,” Bach said. “We’ve got a project right now with Big Money Players Network, Will Ferrell’s company, which iHeart Radio will distribute. We just launched our first kids and family show based on the wildly popular ‘Who Was?’ book series with Penguin. We have a narrative show with Spotify that we’re in the process of writing right now. On the podcast side, we’re just seeing a lot of growth, and to be able to work with Marvel is certainly very exciting for us.”
And all of this began “as almost an experiment for development” based out of Irony Point’s Great City Post, a full-service sound facility in Manhattan, Powell said.
“We have this infrastructure for audio and we have sound engineers and mixers and artists that have done feature films. We could easily produce something at a high quality level from a sound design perspective. So why aren’t we using that for development incubation? And that’s what led to our first project,” Powell said. “But since then, Radio Point has really become comparable to Irony Point in the sense that, because of our audio infrastructure, we’ve been able to provide production services to Marvel, to iHeart, and in a way where we do do creative development — but we’re also brought on to handle the soup-to-nuts production services for podcasts, in addition to television.”
Despite so much growth on the horizon, it’s hard not to come back to Irony Point’s current most celebrated series: Netflix’s oddball sketch comedy “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson,” which it produces in partnership with Party Over Here’s Akiva Schaffer and Ali Bell. The series has yet to be renewed for a third season, having launched its second in July 2021 and its first in April 2018, but Bach assures us that doesn’t mean there won’t be a Season 3.
“The thing about ‘I Think You Should Leave,’ more than anything, is that Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin write every single script themselves,” Bach said. “Largely, the majority of the writing process is the two of them. And they just wait for the sketches to come to them. It’s just more about the writing really being what they want it to be and that’s what kind of delays everything. Not delays, but it’s why we have extended periods of time between seasons. And they have other stuff going on, too. They’re not churning out sketches the way that maybe they did at ‘SNL.’ They just won the second WGA award for Season 2, so it works. And so we’re like, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
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