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Rubber Chickens & TV Sitcoms: Cost of Laughing Rises

Like to laugh? Yeah, that's going to cost you. While you were worried about high gas prices, the price of rubber chickens hit a 25-year high.

Don't worry. It's rubber.
Influx Productions | Photodisc | Getty Images
Don't worry. It's rubber.

The wholesale price of a dozen rubber chickens shot up to $78 in 2012, an 8-percent increase from last year and a 53-percent increase since 2009, according to the Cost of Laughing Index, compiled by Malcolm Kushner, a lawyer-turned-comedian and founder of the humor consulting group Kushner Group.

"When the index began in 1987, the price was only $43.20 a dozen," Kushner said. "If this keeps up, we'll have to put rubber chickens on the endangered species list."

Kushner said some experts believe the rubber chicken crisis is already having effects on "climate change" — "from a climate of loud laughter to one of silent tension."

"Americans like to laugh," Kushner said. "But the unaffordability of rubber chickens coupled with the dearth of humor by this year's presidential candidates has produced a public soundscape devoid of giggles and guffaws," he said.

The index is comprised of 16 leading humor indicators, including the price of admission to comedy clubs in 10 U.S. cities, rubber chickens, Groucho glasses, whoopee cushions, an issue of Mad magazine, a funny singing telegram and the fee for writing a sitcom.

Overall, the index jumped 2 percent in the past 12 months.

The fee for writing a half-hour TV sitcom rose $328 to $16,752, according to the minimum fee under the Writers Guild of America basic agreement.

On the plus side, The cost of whoopee cushions, Groucho glasses and Mad magazine remained flat, as did singing telegrams from pink gorillas and dancing chickens.

The price of admission to comedy clubs in Chicago (Second City) and Pittsburgh rose. Several remained flat, though a few actually dropped their prices (hello recession, how are you old friend?) including Houston and Denver.

Anyone know where I can find a used rubber chicken?

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