Funny For Money – Joe Yakacki Interview

By Andrada Cenan

Funny For Money is a new interactive comedy site which gives amateur comedians the chance to show off their talents and to win money doing what they like. But the comedians are not the only ones to earn money. The people who vote for them have a chance to win as well. The comedy game is quite simple. You get a topic and then you submit your punchlines on

The brains behind this funny operation are Ari Ecker and Joe Yakacki. We discussed with Joe Yakacki, one of the co-creators of Funny For Money to get more details about the comedy contest.

I must say, your site seems like a great deal for amateur comedians. where did the idea come from?

It all started out as a private Ecker family game back in 1975. Ari’s father, Lloyd, was a salesman on the road. While he made his rounds, he would be dialed into a local all-news radio station. Because Lloyd was a former standup comedian in college, he would listen to the daily news stories and try to figure out which of them would be the subjects of Johnny Carson’s nightly monologue.

Not only did he try and pick the topics, he would also come up with possible punchlines. Later that night around the dinner table, Lloyd would first share his jokes and punchline predictions with his wife and in later years also with his three children, including Ari. Then at 11:30 each night came the moment of truth. Would Ari’s father have a winner?

By the time Ari was involved with the game, David Letterman was the new king of late night in his house. Most shows he would correctly guess many of the topics, and occasionally he would nail one of Letterman’s punchlines. The best part was the five in the family voting if Dad’s was better than David’s. Even though allowances were at stake, all the kids were brutally honest in their verdicts, except on the night before allowance day. Somehow, Ari’s father always killed on Thursdays, no matter how corny his material.

So this idea has deep roots in Ari's childhood. But the rules now are a bit different. Can you tell me a little bit about how the Funny For Money comedy contest works ?

There are 4 ways to win:

1. Submit punchlines: 10 new topic set ups are generated every Monday. Submit a video of yourself performing each of your punchlines. You will automatically be entered to win the weekly $100 or $500 prizes now; daily and monthly prizes in the future.

2. Vote for your favorite comedian: The second way to win is to vote for your favorite punchlines. If you vote for a winning punchline, you have a chance to win as well! One lucky voter per winning topic video can also win $100 or $500: in the coming months the grand prize will be rising to $10,000 each month.

3. Sponsor a comedian: The third way to win is to sponsor a winning comedian. When you register on our site, you are given a personal sponsor link to share with your friends. If they sign up on our site through your link, you are their sponsor for life. Every comedian can only have one sponsor, but an individual can sponsor as many comedians as they'd like. If you sponsor the winning comedian and they win the weekly grand prize, you also get $500 now and when the monthly grand prize gets raised, you will win $10,000.

4. Sponsor a voter: The fourth way to win is to sponsor the person who is chosen as the one grand prize winning voter. When they win the grand prize $500 now, you also win $500. And when the grand prize moves up to $10,000, you too will win $10,000)

The offer is really good. How are things going until now? Are people interested in showing off their comedy talents?

Things have been going great so far. We have had over 100,000 views in our first month, and we have given away over $20,000 to date. People have been really encouraging with the initial response and reaction.

You are still in the prelaunch stage, no? When are you planning to go fully live?

We plan on going fully live with $10,000 monthly prizes as soon as our membership base grows to the necessary number. Once we have 1,000 people submitting jokes for 4 consecutive weeks, we will be able to move from weekly to daily contests, and the grand prizes will increase to $10,000

It looks like you are having a lot of fun doing this job; at least this is what your webcast show.

Absolutely. We are having a blast putting the Funny For Money News together every week and seeing the best submissions from across the country. Glad to see that our fun is translating through to the audience!

For more information about Funny For Money, please visit

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