2007 Cost of Laughing Index Jumps 5%

Mixed Results For Funny Fowl - Index Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Santa Cruz, CA, March 21, 2007 --(PR.com)-- The wholesale price of rubber chickens held steady while the cost of a dancing chicken telegram rose by $25 according to the 2007 Cost of Laughing Index.

The Index -- a compilation of 16 leading humor indicators -- increased by 5% during the past twelve months.

The Index measures the annual price change in:

- admission to comedy clubs in 10 U.S. cities
- wholesale prices of rubber chickens, Groucho glasses, and whoopee cushions
- an issue of Mad Magazine
- funny singing telegrams
- the fee for writing a TV sitcom

"It's a lot larger increase than last year's rise of 1/10 of 1%," according to Malcolm Kushner, compiler of the Index. "And it's the largest increase since 1990. So we're definitely paying bigger bucks for smaller yucks."

But the news is not all bad. Given the overall rate of inflation for the past seven years, a dozen whoopee cushions which cost $5.40 in 2000 would be expected to cost $6.40 today. But they're still $5.40 a dozen. "Of course," notes Kushner, "whoopee cushions are the one thing that you would want to be effected by inflation."

On the funny fowl front, the wholesale price of rubber chickens remained $51 a dozen. But the price of a dancing chicken telegram increased from $125 to $150. "For that price, the dance should involve someone's lap," says Kushner.

Additional 2007 Cost of Laughing Index statistics include:

- a $654 increase in the fee for writing a half-hour TV sit-com
- no increase in the wholesale price of whoopee cushions
- no change in the cover price of Mad Magazine

Kushner, an attorney-turned-humor consultant, developed the Index to track how the punch line affects the bottom line. His latest book harnesses the power of humor and fun to help children develop healthy eating habits. California Squisine: Healthy Food That's Fast, Fun and Squeezable For Kids is the world's first cookbook of squeezable recipes. It includes 100 no-cook, pediatrician-approved recipes that children have fun squeezing over fruits and vegetables. It's available on Amazon. Learn more at www.californiasquisine.com.

As Curator of the www.museumofhumor.com, Kushner gives speeches and workshops at corporate and association meetings on how to use humor to command attention, create rapport, defuse conflict and motivate people -- even if you can't tell a joke. His clients include IBM, Aetna, SONY, AT&T, Motorola, and the IRS. Learn more at www.kushnergroup.com.

When not traveling the corporate lecture circuit, Kushner is based in Santa Cruz, California. "Whether or not you think the world needs a humor consultant, it can definitely use one less attorney," he notes.

[Ed Note: The Cost of Laughing Index may be useful for April 1st humor features.]


2006 2007
Rubber Chickens* $51.00 (dozen) $51.00 (dozen)

Groucho Glasses* $15.00 (dozen) $15.00 (dozen)

Whoopee Cushion* $ 5.40 (dozen) $ 5.40 (dozen)
MAD Magazine $ 3.99 $ 3.99
Singing Telegrams**

o pink gorilla $125.00 $150.00

o dancing chicken $125.00 $150.00

Teleplay for 1 half*** hour TV sitcom $14377.00 $15031.00

* Wholesale prices from Franco-American Novelty Co., Long Island City, New York
** Available from Bellygrams, Manhattan, New York.
*** Minimum fee under Writers Guild of America Basic Agreement.

Admission on Saturday night

2006 2007
The Punch Line $22.00 $22.50

Second City $24.00 $24.00

Laff Stop $24.65 $25.00

Comedy Works $35.00 $35.00

Crackers Comedy Club $15.00 $11.00

Los Angeles
Laugh Factory $17.00 $20.00

New York
Comic Strip $20.00 $20.00

The Funny Bone $15.00 $15.00

San Francisco
Punch Line Comedy Club $20.00 $20.00

Comedy Underground $15.00 $15.00

2007 Cost of Laughing Index Twentieth Anniversary Tidbits

- When first released in 1987, the Cost of Laughing Index included the cover price of National Lampoon. It was dropped when National Lampoon stopped publishing.

- Other 1987 items dropped over the years include the price of saucy secretary and naughty policeman telegrams and the price of an orchestra seat at a Broadway musical comedy.

- In 2001, the wholesale price of arrow-through-the-head gags was replaced by the wholesale price of whoopee cushions.

- In 1990, the Cost of Laughing Index was discussed by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and then used as the basis for a sketch.

- In 1997, the Cost of Laughing Index was used as a case study in the popular college textbook Economics For Today by Professor Irvin Tucker.

- The largest change in the Cost of Laughing Index was 9.4% in 1990. The smallest change was in 1992 when the Index remained flat.

- The price of Saturday night admission to Second City in Chicago tripled from $8 in 1987 to $24 in 2007.

- The best laughs come every four years free of charge; the presidential election campaigns.

Malcolm Kushner