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Laffy Taffy® Selects its First Chief Laugh Officer




Laffy Taffy lovers have a new reason to laugh.

Last night, Laffy Taffy named Richard Bowen its first-ever Chief Laugh Officer, awarding him a cash prize of $10,000 and the opportunity to collaborate with the brand on creating iconic jokes listed on every wrapper. To search for a winner, Laffy Taffy partnered with entrepretainer and artist Nick Cannon to host a night at the world-famous Laugh Factory and honor the brand’s long-standing heritage in comedy.

Nick Cannon before the Laffy Taffy comedy show at the world-famous Laugh Factory on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Laffy Taffy/AP Images)

Serving as one of its largest brand initiatives in its nearly 50-year history, Laffy Taffy looked to fans to search for its Chief Laugh Officer and asked for a video of their best stand-up comedy and three original jokes to be submitted through the Laffy Taffy portal After reviewing nearly 100 submissions from across the country, Laffy Taffy and fans selected Richard Bowen, Joanna Goslin and Talib Babb as the three finalists. All were flown with their guests to Los Angeles to perform center stage with other comedians at the world famous Hollywood Laugh Factory to compete for the title.

Cannon shared his experience working on this venture.

“The competition was packed with talent, from the finalists to all other comedians that performed on stage. I really loved seeing Laffy Taffy bring everyone together not only for a good night of comedy but also to support these comedians and their craft. I had a great time partnering with Laffy Taffy for this campaign. Selecting their first Chief Laugh Officer on the Laugh Factory stage is just another example of how they encourage the fun in their fans.”

Richard Bowen of Burlington, Vermont submitted the following Laffy Taffy jokes as part of his winning entry:

Did you hear about the spider cow? It had 8 calves.
What do you call a flooded movie theater? A dive-in.
Why did the psychic turn down a piece of candy? She had a bad filling.

Juan Pablo Herrera, Marketing Associate at Laffy Taffy, echoed Cannon’s statements.

“We’re so happy to name Richard our first-ever Chief Laugh Officer. Laffy Taffy has always been a brand that focuses on laughter and comedy, so we were thrilled to partner with Nick Cannon and all the comedians to celebrate comedy with a fresh approach.”

Joanna Goslin, from left, Talib Babb, Darren Carter, Preacher Lawson, Nick Cannon, Richard Bowen, Shang, Paige Weldon, Stasia Patwell, JC Currais and Camilla Cleese celebrate the Chief Laugh Officer at the Laugh Factory on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Laffy Taffy/AP Images)

Comedians including Shang, Stasia Patwell, Camilla Cleese, JC Currais, Darren Carter and Paige Weldon, as well as comedian and finalist on the 12th season of America’s Got Talent, Preacher Lawson, joined Laffy Taffy and Nick Cannon to perform for the audience and to celebrate the winner.


What do you think of Bowen’s jokes? Are you a Laffy Taffy fan? Tell us in the comments!


Pop Culture

Elon Musk, Brian Eno, “Apollo 11” to Receive the 2019 Stephen Hawking Medal




The STARMUS festival, a biennial festival that brings together the world’s leading scientists, astronauts, and iconic artists and musicians, has announced the 2019 winners of the Stephen Hawking Medal. The Stephen Hawking Medal is one of the world’s most celebrated science communication awards.

This year’s recipients are:

Elon Musk

(Photo Courtesy of WSJ)

Elon Musk is honored for his astounding accomplishments in space travel and for humanity. Musk is the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Inc., an electric car company and solar panel manufacturer through its subsidiary SolarCity. He is also the founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, a space transportation and aerospace manufacturer attempting to colonize Mars. He also co-founded PayPal.

Brian Eno

(Photo Courtesy of Mike Abrahams)

Brian Eno is honored for his contribution to the popularization of science. Eno is a record producer and musician known for his work in contemporary and ambient music. After joining the band Roxy Music as a synthesizer in the 1970’s, Eno released a number of albums himself including Another Green World, Before and After Science, Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, and Another Day on Earth. Eno was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Roxy Music earlier this year.

Apollo 11

(Photo Courtesy of Neon CNN Films)

Apollo 11, a documentary by Todd Douglas Miller, is honored for its breakthrough look at history’s most famous space mission. Released earlier this year, Apollo 11 includes never-before-seen footage of the first human spaceflight to the Moon. The film includes 70 mm archival film that had never been released to the public before, and does not include any narration voice-overs or interviews.

STARMUS will announce the winners at a press event in Zurich on May 10th, with the medal ceremony to follow on June 24 at the STARMUS V festival, also in Zurich. Celebrated scientist and educator Bill Nye will host the ceremony, and scheduled attendees include a remarkable roster of science and space luminaries, including Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins and six other Apollo mission astronauts.

STARMUS co-founder and board member Dr. Brian May, the legendary Queen guitarist and PhD astrophysicist, will personally present the medal to Mr. Musk, who has been hailed by no less than Richard Dawkins as a “hero for our times.” On hand as well will be Sir Michael Hintze, founder, Group Executive Chairman, and Senior Investment Officer of CQS, whose generous patronage helps make possible the Stephen Hawking Medal; and STARMUS founder Dr. Garik Israelian. It will be a momentous occasion, with Mr. May and Mr. Musk flanked by the Apollo astronauts in a not-to-miss photo opportunity.

“I am excited about our support for Starmus and the 2019 Stephen Hawking Medal. It is enabling us to better understand the origins and fate of our universe, where we have come from and where we might go. It is about intellectual curiosity, striving for knowledge and a journey of discovery about our planet and our place in the universe. For science to grow and prosper we must excite and engage with our youth, and capture their imagination. The work being done here connects into the global scientific community and facilitates global collaboration.” – Sir Michael Hintze, Founder and Group Executive Chairman, CQS

One highlight among many expected at this year’s medal ceremony will be a one-of-a-kind performance, conducted by musical giant Hans Zimmer and featuring special guests, of his original composition “Once Upon a Time on The Moon,” an incredible 50th anniversary tribute to the Apollo missions and those who made them possible.

This year’s awards are the first bestowed since the passing of Stephen Hawking; they are dedicated to his legacy and given in recognition of his affinity for applied technology. Before his death, Mr. Hawking personally invited Mr. Musk to STARMUS. Previous recipients of the Stephen Hawking Medal include Mr. Zimmer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jean-Michel Jarre, and The Big Bang Theory.

From 24 to 29 June 2019, the world-renowned science and music festival STARMUS celebrates a half century of lunar exploration through the theme “50 Years of Moon Landing.” Taking place in Switzerland this year for the first time, the festival gathers leading scientists, legendary astronauts, and musical greats and invites the general public to share in their passion and knowledge.

The 2019 programme will bring together some of the most intelligent, creative, and artistic people on the planet. Prominent attendees—all personally selected by the STARMUS board of directors—include an unprecedented public gathering of Apollo astronauts, including 2019’s keynote speaker Michael Collins, Charlie Duke, and Harrison Schmitt. STARMUS V will welcome 12 Nobel laureates to the stage, as well as luminaries from the worlds of art, science, and music—including Mr. Eno, Mr. May, Steve Vai, and Rick Wakeman—for six days of discussion, debate, and engagement across the sciences, from microbiology and biochemistry to astrophysics and neuroscience. Other speakers include Sir Martin Rees, Brian Cox, Emmanuelle Charpentier, and Helen Sharman.

According to Garik Israelian, STARMUS founder, the 2019 festival has been designed to ask tough questions about our place in the universe at a pivotal point in human history.

“The importance of STARMUS V cannot be understated. At a time when the world retreats to isolationism, collaboration is needed to strategically present the ideas, evidence, and challenges we collectively face – and uniquely confront. We believe the biggest and best achievements of the human race are a result of that scientific collaboration.” Dr. Garik Israelian, Founder, STARMUS

Tickets for the STARMUS festival are now officially on sale and can be purchased at

[Members of the STARMUS board: Stephen Hawking (posthumous)Brian May, Peter Gabriel, Richard Dawkins, Alexei Leonov, Jill Tarter, Robert Williams, David Eicher, Emmanuelle Charpentier and founder Garik Israelian.]

What do you think of this year’s winners? Who would you like to see receive the Stephen Hawking Medal? Let us know in the comments!

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Pop Culture

2019 World Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees Include ‘Super Mario Kart’ and ‘Mortal Kombat’




The World Video Game of Hall of Fame has announced the 2019 game inductees: Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Kart, Microsoft Solitaire, and Colossal Cave Adventure. Although the games represent a variety of platforms, genres, countries of origin, and decades, each game has impacted pop culture and the gaming industry as a whole.

Founded in 2015, the World Video Game of Hall of Fame at the Strong was established to recognize individual electronic games of all types—arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile—that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general. The Strong is an interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the United States, and it houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to video games and play.

Inductees where chosen from a list of 12 finalists including Candy Crush Saga, Centipede, Dance Dance Revolution, Half-Life, Myst, NBA 2K, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Super Smash Bros. 


Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart combined the thrill of racing games with the beloved characters of its Super Mario Bros. franchise. Released in 1992, the game built on previous racing games and popularized the go-kart subgenre. Super Mario Kart has sold millions of copies on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and generated a dozen other titles across consoles, handhelds, and arcade games that have sold more than 100 million units.

(Photo Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York)

Super Mario Kart truly excelled as a social game that appealed to players of all skill levels, especially with its engaging multi-player settings,” says Julia Novakovic, archivist. “It invited friends, family, and gaming fans of all ages along for an unforgettable ride that has made it the longest-running racing series in gaming history.”


Text-based Colossal Cave Adventure debuted in 1976 and conjured up an immersive, interactive fantasy world despite the limits of primitive computer technology. While the game had no graphics and relied on players typing written commands, it still offered a fully-realized realm to explore, with treasures to find and puzzles to solve. It laid the foundation for an entire genre of fantasy and adventure games, and it directly inspired other pioneering titles, such as Adventureland and Zork, which helped launch the commercial computer game industry.

(Photo Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York)

“The best games fire the imagination,” says Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “Anyone who first typed a command like ‘get lamp’ into Colossal Cave Adventure could see the power of electronic games to create magical worlds of the imagination.”


Based on a centuries-old card game, Microsoft Windows Solitaire debuted in 1991 on the Windows 3.0 computing platform and became ubiquitous around the world.  The game has been installed on more than one billion machines since its creation, tying its story forever to the rise of the home computer.  It proved that some analog games can be even more popular in the digital world. 

(Photo Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York)


Mortal Kombat brought cutting-edge graphics and unique fighting styles to the arcade when it launched in 1992. The game’s over-the-top depictions of violence also spurred international debate, including Congressional hearings in the United States that spurred the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in 1994, and provided that games weren’t just for kids. By pushing the boundaries in terms of content and what players could do with their in-game characters, Mortal Kombat spawned an entire franchise—including games, music albums, action figures, a theatrical stage show, and Hollywood movies.

(Photo Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York)

Says Digital Games Curator Andrew Borman, “Beyond its controversial content and role in triggering debate about the role of violent video games in society, Mortal Kombat’s compelling gameplay, iconic characters, and many sequels have kept players coming back again and again.”

Previous inductees include:

  • Final Fantasy VII (2018)
  • John Madden Football (2018)
  • Spacewar! (2018)
  • Tomb Raider (2018)
  • Donkey Kong (2017)
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (2017)
  • Pokémon Red and Green (2017)
  • Street Fighter II (2017)
  • Grand Theft Auto (2016)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2016)
  • Space Invaders (2016)
  • The Legend of Zelda (2016)
  • The Oregon Trail (2016)
  • The Sims (2016)
  • DOOM (2015)
  • Pac-Man (2015)
  • Pong (2015)
  • Super Mario Bros. (2015)
  • Tetris (2015)
  • World of Warcraft (2015)

Game finalists are chosen each year with input from a team of journalists, scholars, and other experts familiar with the history of video games and their influence in pop culture. Anyone can nominate a game for consideration in the World Video Game of Hall of Fame.


What do you think of this year’s game inductees? Which games do you think should have made the cut? Tell us in the comments!

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