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Pay Per Laugh? Yep, This Comedy Club Has Quite the Original Pricing Strategy

If your wallet is tight and you happen to be prone to a bout of the giggles, you might want to steer clear of The Teatreneu Club in Barcelona — because they’re charging by the laugh. No, seriously.

It sounds like a joke, but this comedy club is actually using iPad facial recognition software to gauge the audience’s reaction to its performances…and then charging accordingly. Teatreneu thought it would be an interesting social experiment to attach the iPads to the rear of each seat, so that it captures the reaction of each patron sitting behind the camera. Then, it simply tallies the total.

From CNET:

The charge per laugh is 0.30 euros. The Teatreneu Web site says that there is a maximum charge of 8 euros for its latest performance, though the BBC reports that the maximum was, in the past, 24 euros.

The idea was a reaction to increased government taxes on theatrical performances, which severely hit revenue. Pay-per-laugh was a big success, with other venues copying the idea.

Ultimately, I’m not sure who exactly this plan helps. Is it the customer who will get a reduced rate by purposely making sure he or she doesn’t have a great time? Or is it the performer who is able to rake in the big dough by working twice as hard to earn laughs from people who might be stingy with their smiles?

As CNET points out, what’s next? Will restaurants start charging by the number of bodily functions a person emits? And will that ultimately save anybody money? What if you were charged by the number of times you decided to read this article?

Indeed, the level of data collection that goes on in modern society has taken the concept of “TMI” to a whole new level.


Matt Fox

Senior Editor

Fox has history in broadcasting that spans two decades. From his early days as an FM host and club DJ in the mid-90′s to his later experiences in political talk radio, he has always had a knack for combining topical news with his love for popular culture. Those experiences culminated in his position as executive producer for several radio shows featured in the TALKERS Heavy 100. Originally from New York, Fox has made the great pilgrimage down to sunny south Florida.

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