2008 Cost of Laughing Index Jumps 4%; Dancing Chicken Telegram Flies to $250

Rise in 2008 Cost of Laughing Index threatens America's status as humor superpower.

Santa Cruz, CA, March 21, 2008 --(PR.com)-- The wholesale price of rubber chickens didn't bounce but a dancing chicken telegram plucked buyers an additional $100 according to the 2008 Cost of Laughing Index.

The Index -- a compilation of 16 leading humor indicators -- increased by 4% 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

Attention has been focused on gasoline prices while the real outrage is dancing chicken telegrams, claims Malcolm Kushner, compiler of the Index. "The dancing chicken telegram, which cost $75 in 2000, costs $250 today," he notes. "That's a 333% increase in under 10 years. If America doesn't increase investment in alternative gags soon we won't be laughing much longer."

America's reputation as a humor superpower is in jeopardy, says Kushner. "Humor is the one thing Japan never beat us at," he observes. "But that could change if we keep paying bigger bucks for smaller yucks."

Fortunately, alternative gag experiments are now underway: fake vomit made from ethanol and a solar-powered hand buzzer. "And there will be lots of free humor from the candidates in this presidential election year," notes Kushner. (You can also find free humor in a free monthly newsletter from the Museum of Humor.com Subscribe at http://www.museumofhumor.com/Newsletter.htm )

Additional 2008 Cost of Laughing Index statistics include:
- a $451 increase in the fee for writing a half-hour TV sit-com
- no increase in the wholesale price of whoopee cushions
- a $1 increase 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 work is an e-book Don't Worry, Be Funny: Web Sites That Can Automatically Generate Humorous Material For Your Next Presentation And How To Use Them -- Even If You Can't Tell A Joke. You can learn more and download it at www.museumofhumor.com/befunny.htm It's also available on a CD-ROM from Toastmasters International.

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.]

2008 Cost of Laughing Index Data


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/$ 4.99

Singing Telegrams**

o pink gorilla $150.00/$250.00

o dancing chicken $150.00/$250.00

Teleplay for half***
hour TV sitcom $15031.00/$15482.00

* 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.

Comedy Clubs

Admission on Saturday night



The Punch Line $22.50/$23.00


Second City $24.00/$25.00


Laff Stop $25.00/$25.00


Comedy Works $35.00/$25.00


Crackers Comedy Club $11.00/$13.00

Los Angeles

Laugh Factory $20.00/$20.00

New York

Comic Strip $20.00/$22.00


The Funny Bone $15.00/$15.00

San Francisco

Punch Line Comedy Club $20.00/$25.00


Comedy Underground $15.00/$15.00

Malcolm Kushner