Contributors to the first issue included cover cartoonist John Proctor (who drew carictured political comments), G. Montbard (creator of the 'Comic Fancy Page') and Wilhelm Busch (creator of the strip The Tale of a Tooth, reprinted from its original German). Strips included The Horrible Disclosures of S. Probe, Private Detective, and later (in 1875) a recurring strip called Tympkins by cartoonist Shirl. The front page cartoon slot was later taken over by John Stafford, whose nephew Julius Stafford Baker drew (from 1891) a weekly panel starring an Irish labourer, 'Hooligan'.
Funny Folks was an offshoot of Henderson's Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northern Weekly Budget of News, Politics, Tales Etc. (they knew how to come up with a snappy title back then!) which had begun in January 1861 and later became The Weekly Budget in 1874. The Funny Folks Budget was originally intended to be merely a pull out supplement to the Weekly Budget's Christmas number, but its immediate popularity ensured that it would continue as a publication in its own right, the second issue put together virtually overnight. In 1883, Henderson published the first issue of a companion paper, Scraps, which outlasted Funny Folks and eventually transformed into a colour comic, the Merry Thought, in 1910. From 1890, Henderson also published Snap-Shots, an all-reprint title consisting of American cartoons and strips taken from Puck, Judge, Life and Harper's Weekly.