WhiteBoardness - 3/21/97
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 97 03:55:49 -0800
Subject: WhiteBoardness - 3/21/97
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for Friday, March 21, 1997
New York, New York:
Hold on to your hats, jokesters. It's 3 percent more expensive to get a yuk
It's no laughing matter, said attorney-turned-humor consultant Malcolm
Kushner, who developed the Cost of Laughing Index.
"It means we're paying more net worth for less net mirth," he said.
The index, released Thursday, is a compilation of 16 leading humor
indicators, including the cost of admission to comedy clubs in 10 cities,
wholesale prices for rubber chickens and other gags and the price of an
issue of Mad magazine.
The biggest increase, accounting for almost all of the overall rise, came
from higher fees for writing a half-hour television sitcom, which have risen
to $11,545 from $11,209 last year. The fees are based on the minimum
established under the Writers Guild of America contract agreement.
Luckily for many fun-seekers, prices for an arrow-through-the-head remained
steady, $6 a dozen, as did Groucho glasses ($15 a dozen) and rubber chickens
($66 a dozen).
Lucky, too, are toastmasters all. The cost of a singing telegram featuring
a pink gorilla ($75) or dancing chicken ($65) also held steady from last
The only comedy club among the 10 in the index to raise prices was Chicago's
Second City, charging $16 this year, up from $15.50 last year.
Unfortunately, said Kushner, of Santa Cruz, Calif., the higher fees charged
by TV sitcom writers isn't adding up to more laughs for viewers.
"The Hollywood execs laugh all the way to the bank while TV viewers wait
for a few chuckles. It's the tickle down theory of economics."
East Rutherford, New Jersey:
Take heart, Milli Vanilli fans: Your lip-synching heroes weren't the only
ones faking it.
The New Jersey Nets admit that phony crowd noise has been used to pump up
the volume at the team's home games in Continental Airlines Arena. The
cheers were amplified through loudspeakers.
It wasn't clear how long the club has been engaging in the practice, what
equipment was used or whether the Nets had tape-recorded arena noise and
then played it back. Spokesman John Mertz declined comment Friday.
"Some of this stuff is embarrassing," Coach John Calipari told the New York
Daily News in Friday's editions. "I just shook my head. I said, `Do we need
to do that?"' said Calipari, who learned of the high-decibel hoax early in
The arena can hold 20,049 for basketball games. The average attendance at
Nets games this year is 16,017, up from 15,564 last season. The team, which
is 20-45, is mired in 13th place in the 15-team Eastern Division.
The artificial cheers were noticeable during the Nets' 99-98 victory over
Chicago on March 14. They drowned out booing by Chicago fans trying to
distract Xavier McDaniel, who made four foul shots in the final minute to
clinch the victory for the Nets.
"I didn't notice that," he said. "Is that true?"
Said guard Kevin Edwards: "I guess it's like a game show, where they have
those applause signs."
Spokespersons for the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers,
Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers all said their clubs don't use fake
NBA spokesman Brian McIntyre said he knew of no other teams that used
artificial crowd noise. He said the practice would violate NBA rules if the
noise were broadcast during free throw shooting. Otherwise, the home team
can broadcast whatever it wants over the arena's public address system, he
He compared the practice to the use of canned laughter by television
Calipari says the bogus cheers will eventually be silenced.
"One day, you'll say it was only three years ago that they were pumping in
fake crowd noise. You'll say, `How far has this organization come?"' he
© 1997 Peter Langston