Audience members at a Barcelona comedy club were charged by the laugh with the installation of a facial recognition program called “Paper Laugh.”
In 2013, the Spanish government decided to increase the tax on theatrical shows from eight percent to 21 percent, which cost the theaters millions of spectators and hundreds of jobs.
The Teatreneu Comedy Theater responded to the hit with an invention called “Paper Laugh.” The plan was to charge audience members for the amount of times they laughed during each performance.
To put the theory to the test, the company placed smile-tracking devices around each seat.
Admission was free, but club goers payed 38 cents per giggle, until they reached the cap, which was 80 laughs. If contents of the comedy show generated no humor, there was no charge.
“Paper Laugh” led to a 35 percent audience increase and generated more ticket revenue than any other comedy show produced by Teatreneu Comedy Theater, which was approximately 28,000 Euro, or $37,500 U.S. per show.
Various theaters throughout Spain have since adopted the trending facial recognition laugh-tracking system.