Or at least they get poorer more slowly. During 2008, "hedge funds were down, on average, 19% in 2008 (vs. 42% for the MSCI World Index)." The full study is Credit Suisse/Tremont Hedge Fund Index, One for the History Books: Hedge Fund Performance in 2008 (Jan. 2009).
The hedge funds sort of promised to make money in all kinds of climates, so some of the clients are unhappy, but losing half as much as the basic market in the worst financial gale since 1930 is not bad.
Of course, it is possible that some illiquid positions have not been marked down far enough, so perhaps revisions will be made. But that could cut in either direction. The panicky flight to liquidity may have caused excessive markdowns in some assets.