My wife’s been complaining a lot these days about how the cast on her current tour seems completely incapable of controlling their flatulence. This came as a great shock to me, as there are few people in the world who enjoy a nice fart as much as my missus. She once bragged that she let out such a loud rumbler that it awoke her sleeping roommate. I was quick to point out the irony that she, of all people, should complain about people expressing their gassy selves.

She assured me that the situation had moved beyond all reasonable measures. She’s had to introduce a number of what she calls “Fart Protocols” to keep the situation from spiralling out of control.

The first thing she did was ban certain items from the rider. The company allots forty dollars per show that the tour manager can use to buy snacks for the cast before shows. What the rider includes isn’t set in stone. Depending on how flexible/awesome the tour manager is, you can graze on the rider food for lunch and dinner without dipping into your per diem. Typically the rider will include a veggie tray, some pita and hummus, some sports drinks or juice, cookies, crackers or some cheese.

Hummus was the first thing to be banned from the rider. No one digests chickpeas very well. It’s pure fart fuel.

Dairy was the next to go. Some nutritionists argue that the consumption of dairy into adulthood is unnatural. After being trapped in a van with a bunch of people who just ate cheese, yogurt, and ice cream on a drive from New York to North Tonawanda, I’m inclined to think you’d agree. If the UN ever finds out what happened in that van, everyone will be tried as a war criminal for the production of biological weapons.

One girl claimed that all the aspartame from diet drinks was the reason for her obscene methane production. So aspartame was the next to go, whether there was any validity to the assertion or not.

New in-van rules have been created. In warmer climates, windows can be left open, keeping the air in the van circulating. In Northern Ontario in February, you do not have this luxury. Once someone befouls the van air by breaking wind, all windows are opened and everyone is given thirty seconds to clear out whatever gas they’ve currently got built up. At the conclusion of the gas-expulsion-period the windows are rolled up again, and the occupants are encouraged to try to contain themselves until the van at least warms up again. This is called the Fart Festival, Fart Symphony, or the Fartchestra.

Maybe it’s working in children’s entertainment that causes people’s sense of humor to degenerate to one that exclusively revolves around farting. One girl—who played the character Owl—would shout a count down from inside her animal head. From inside my own head I could hear the muffled shout “THREE, TWO, ONE!” Then she’d let out a trumpet style fart—the kind that you really have to push to get out. Thank God she never had diarrhoea. Everyone likes the smell of their own brand, but when you fart in one of those mascot costumes, you severely Dutch Oven yourself. The only escape is to get the air circulating in the head by running around really fast.

I’ve been on some tours where we’ve experienced some pretty hilarious/tragic flatulence problems, but I’ve never experienced anything as endemic as what my wife describes to me over the phone. I thought about it for a while, and I think I’ve isolated why this cast is so much fartier than any other cast either of us have worked with.

I think it’s actually a pretty smart idea, so I’m going to coin a term that I really hope catches on. I call it Falk’s Law. Please use that expression as often as you can—I’d like to be famous for something, and it might as well be fart theory. Anyway, here it is.


The further a balance of genders in any group of people moves to either extreme, the higher the chances said group will devolve into a toxic fart factory.

The tour my wife is currently on features an almost exclusively female cast—and yes, for those of you who still cling to outdated notions of the fairer sex, women’s digestive systems operate in the exact same way as men’s. There’s something about not needing to worry about grossing out potential sexual partners that allows people to really let loose. And when I say “let loose” I mean it in the most literal interpretation of that expression possible. Even if everyone in the van has husbands or wives or boyfriends or girlfriends back home, social stigma tied to base evolutionary impulses keeps a lid on any gaseous excesses.

I haven’t fully field tested my theory, so I don’t know how it would work in all circumstances. For example what about a van full of women and homosexual men? It is my hope that further research will be conducted by some enterprising doctoral students that will prove and refine the theory.

In the meantime, if you make plans to go on a road trip with a group of friends, consider inviting along some members of the opposite sex to help keep the air free of anal pollutants.