Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The joke it cost The Office a cool $60,000 to make

Illustration for article titled The joke it cost The Office a cool $60,000 to make
Screenshot: NBC

Okay, so imagine you’re a TV writer. You’re working on a script, keeping that nose to the grindstone, trying to figure out how many jokes-per-minute you can swing. A character with, let’s say, questionable judgment has purchased a surprise vacation for a woman he’s been dating for about five minutes. What does he say when he turns to the camera?


If you’re Jen Celotta, writer of The Office’s season three holiday episode “A Benihana Christmas,” then of course you have Steve Carell’s Michael Scott sing a couple lines from this little ditty:

That’s a tune performed by Eddie Money, a fact which makes it an even more satisfying selection, as Celotta’s inclusion of “Two Tickets To Paradise” cost The Office $60,000. That’s S-i-x-t-y-T-H-O-U-S-A-N-D-D-o-l-l-a-r-s.

That baffling revelation comes courtesy of this week’s episode of Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey’s Office Ladies podcast, thanks to an interview with Celotta. The writer was unaware of the song’s hefty price tag until they began mixing the sound for the episode, at which point one of the show’s producers filled her in:

I was like, ‘It’s a fine joke, but none of my jokes I’ve ever written have been $60,000 jokes.’… [I] had no idea that because we sang that song, the song had to be cleared, and that joke was $60,000.

Listen, we love The Office as much as the next pop culture website, and that’s a funny joke, but wow.

You can listen to the rest of the episode—which is, unsurprisingly, pretty great—below.


[via Uproxx]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!