Ticket Fee? Haha, No. This Comedy Club Charges By the Laugh.

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In Barcelona, Spain, one theater is laughing in the face of taxation. Literally.

Last  year, the Spanish government raised taxes on theater tickets from 8 percent to 21 percent. It’s quite a jump and, as you might expect, attendance has plummeted. In response, Barcelona’s Teatreneu theater is doing away with ticketing altogether.

Sound crazy? Yes, but get this: The club now charges attendees according to how much they’re enjoying the show -- 0.30 euros (38 cents) per laugh, to be exact, with a cap of 24 euros (about $30), reports the BBC.

To “track” all the laughs, Teatreneu partnered with a local advertising agency, The Cyranos McCann, to attach tablets that are equipped with facial-recognition technology to the back of each of its auditorium seats. While entrance to the club is free, screens tabulate each guest’s smile count and charge them accordingly. Guests are then encouraged to share their results over social media.

Related: Persevere, Laugh at the Absurd and Let Nothing Get on Your Nerves

It’s a system that has ended up being even more lucrative than traditional ticketing, according to the theater, by roughly 6 more euros (roughly $7.50) per guest. Attendance has also risen by 35 percent.

And the unusual strategy isn’t a one-off. Other Spanish theaters have adopted the system, reports the BBC, as the Teatreneu has sought an even wider embrace of mobile technology to stave off tax losses. The theater subsequently released an app that enables theatergoers to make reservations -- and even purchase seasonal PayPerLaugh ‘tickets’ -- all from the comfort of their devices.

How’s that for an uproarious business model?

Related: How Improv Comedy Can Seriously Grow Your Business

Edition: November 2016

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