03/30/2013 09:24 am ET Updated Mar 30, 2013

Cost Of Laughing Index: It Costs More Bucks For Less Yucks

A Canadian fan bites a rubber chicken during the women's two-man bobsled competition final at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in
A Canadian fan bites a rubber chicken during the women's two-man bobsled competition final at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

People aren't just paying more for gas these days, but the price of fake farts has also increased drastically.

It's no joke. The average price of whoopie cushions has increased 50 cents from $4.50 to $5 per dozen -- an 11 percent increase without a corresponding increase in novelty emissions.

That's enough of an increase to let the wind out of the sails of a budget-minded April Fools' Day prankster, according to humor consultant (and HuffPost blogger) Malcolm Kushner, who has been releasing his annual Cost Of Laughing Index every April 1 since 1987.

The index compiles the prices of various humorous indicators. Also on the rise is the cost of rubber chickens. A dozen sold for $78 per dozen in 2012, but now sell for $84, an 8 percent increase.

“The prices make me want to gag,” Kushner said in a press release. “Although rubber chickens and whoopee cushions are used with indiscretion, they are purchased with income that’s discretionary. So higher prices means there’s more demand for this stuff.”

Other humor products that are forcing Americans to pay more bucks for less yucks include the price for writing a 30-minute sitcom, from $16,752 in 2012 to $17,045 this year.

Kushner blames sequestration and other budget policies for putting classic gag gifts beyond the reach of average Americans.

“You can’t buy a rubber chicken or whoopee cushion with a social security payment you don’t get,” Kushner said. “It’s one more reason people are delaying retirement.”

The cost of laughing increase may differ depending on your location. The price for a ticket to a comedy club increased in Houston, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but decreased in New York and Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, some humor indicators remain steady, such as Mad magazine, which is still only $5.99 a copy, and the price of a pink gorilla singing telegram is still $185, same as last year.

The prank price increases might raise eyebrows, but not if you're wearing Groucho Glasses. A price for a dozen of those actually dropped a buck from last year, from $9 to $8.

“Fortunately, our dysfunctional Congress still provides plenty of laughs for free,” he said.



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