Taking the Humor out of Laughter

A Spanish Night club is reported to be using “facial recognition“ software, used by police to identify criminals, to charge their patrons every time they laugh.

It’s done by attaching devices to the patron’s seats in order to record people’s reaction to the performance. The charge is about 38 cents per laugh, up to a maximum charge of about $30.

Add that to the food and drink bill, plus tips, that could be a pretty expensive evening. What about the performance? Can you imagine the reaction to a comedy routine if the audience knows they are being charged extra if they enjoy the performance? Night Club performing is hard enough without the management charging their patrons for enjoying themselves. That practically guarantees some very unresponsive audiences.

As if performing comedy wasn’t daunting enough, now you have an audience that is encouraged not to laugh. What’s next? Taxing applause by charging for each clap and “Bravo”? Or extra charges for cheering when your favorite team scores?

The ”pay-per-laugh” system was supposedly adopted to fight “dwindling audience numbers”. How being charged extra for enjoying yourself will prevent losing audiences has yet to be explained. It could be nothing more than a rather dysfunctional publicity stunt, but other clubs are starting to do the same thing in Spain, which has resulted in increased ticket prices equivalent to an extra charge of $7.00 American.

Send in the clowns, but keep a straight face when they arrive. It could cost you if you don’t.