All jokes come at a price, especially when they're involved in the hit mockumentary TV series, The Office.
The US sitcom, which featured stars like Steve Carell, John Krasinski, and Mindy Kaling, had a number of memorable music moments over the course of its nine seasons. But two of the most noteworthy happened during the episode 'A Benihana Christmas' in Season 3. Michael Scott (Carell) says a few lines from Eddie Money's 'Two Tickets to Paradise' and later sings John Mayer's 'Your Body Is A Wonderland' at karaoke.
On the latest episode of the Office Ladies podcast, former co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey talked with episode writer Jen Celotta about filming the hilarious episode.
Celotta revealed how Michael Scott's 'Two Tickets to Paradise' joke cost the show US$60,000 (approx. $83,000), while also explaining how they managed to get Mayer to approve the use of his song.
"I wrote a joke where Michael says, 'I got two tickets to paradise.' And he says, 'Pack your bags we leave the day after tomorrow,'" Celotta said. "At the sound mix, I found out from Kent [Zbornak, The Office producer] 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,'" Celotta continued. "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 mean, I was sitting at the mix and had no idea that because we sang that song the song had to be cleared, and that joke was $60,000."
Things seemed to go smoother when the show was approved to use John Mayer's music for Michael Scott and Andy Bernard's karaoke scene.
Michael Scott and Andy Bernard sing 'Your Body is a Wonderland' in the episode 'A Benihana Christmas.' (NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Stan)
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"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," Fischer explained. "[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.'"
Kinsey was shocked: "What? He told his friend 'Nah uh, not happening'."
"He was like, 'I don't think so,'" Fischer replied. "And he actually wrote about this on his blog"
She went on to read an excerpt from Mayer's 2006 Facebook post:
The post read, "One of my favorite shows on television, The Office, wanted to use my song, 'Your Body is a Wonderland,' in a scene for their Christmas episode. Now, I'm not making apologies for my work, but it's safe to say I don't get asked to use 'Wonderland' for strongman competitions and documentaries about aircraft carriers. I usually get asked so that people can goof on it, so I initially turned down the request. But, after thinking about it I decided to go for it — but with one stipulation."
"What was it?" Kinsey asked, to which Fischer replied, "He wrote, 'I want a Dundie.'"
Fischer said B.J. Novak presented John Mayer with a Dundie Award for "Tallest Music Dude," which led the singer to agree to let them use the song.
"I get it," Kinsey said. "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?"