Throughout its nine-season run, The Office mocked all corners of pop culture in a number of ways, but in the Season Three episode "A Benihana Christmas," Steve Carell's Michael Scott singing a few words to Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise" cost the network $60,000 to clear. Writer Jen Celotta recently revealed this anecdote while also noting that she had no idea it would cost so much to make this joke possible and that she only learned of the price tag in the editing process. Despite how expensive it was to include this joke, NBC paid the fee, even if Celotta herself wasn't sure if she would have coughed up the dough.
“I wrote a joke where Michael says, ‘I got two tickets to paradise.’ And he says, ‘Pack your bags we leave day after tomorrow,’" Celotta shared on the Office Ladies podcast. "At the sound mix, I found out from [producer Kent Zbornak] that was a $60,000 joke… I was like, ‘It’s a fine joke, but none of my jokes I’ve ever written have been $60,000 jokes.’ But I remember not so long after that we had some of our music budget pulled away from us, and I can’t help but think… [I] had no idea that because we sang that song, the song had to be cleared, and that joke was $60,000.”
Interestingly, this wasn't the only song that needed to be cleared for the episode, as another scene features characters singing John Mayer's "Your Body Is a Wonderland." To secure Mayer's track, star B.J. Novak reached out to the musician, though he was reluctant at first to allow the usage.
"We reached out to John Mayer to ask him if we could use his song, 'Your Body Is A Wonderland,' and it was actually B.J. Novak who reached out to him because B.J. knew him," star Jenna Fischer detailed. "[B.J.] reached out to him and was like, 'Can we use this?' And at first John Mayer was like, 'I don't think so.'"
Mayer had a change of heart about the usage, adding the stipulation that he would allow it but only if the show sent him his own personal Dundie for "Tallest Music Dude."
"Well look, I get it," star Angela Kinsey expressed of the caveat. "Andy and Michael are being total idiots in this episode, and so do you want your song to be the song the two idiots picked?"
Are you surprised this joke was so expensive? Let us know in the comments below!