A whoopee (or whoopie) cushion is a practical joke device involving flatulence humor, which produces a noise resembling a "raspberry" or human flatulence. It is made from two sheets of rubber that are glued together at the edges. There is a small opening with a flap at one end for air to enter and leave the cushion. Whoopee cushions lack durability, as they can break easily. It is suggested that the user should be fairly gentle when applying pressure to the cushion.
To use it, a person must first inflate it with air, then place it on a chair or squeeze it. Some whoopee cushions inflate on their own. If placed on a chair, an unsuspecting victim will sit on the whoopee cushion, forcing the air out of the opening, which causes the flap to vibrate and create a loud, farting-like sound. A similar noise can be made with an inflated rubber balloon, by releasing the opening and letting it deflate. The escaping air causes the opening to vibrate and make noise as the balloon is propelled away.
The device is also known as a farting bag, pooting cushion, windy blaster, and Razzberry Cushion.
The whoopee cushion has reportedly been used since ancient times. Roman boy-emperor Elagabalus, for example, was said to enjoy practical jokes at his dinner parties and would often place whoopee cushions under the chairs of his more pompous guests. The modern version was invented in the 1920s by the JEM Rubber Co. of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, by employees who were experimenting with scrap sheets of rubber. The owner of the company approached Samuel Sorenson Adams, the inventor of numerous practical jokes and owner of S.S. Adams Co., with the newly invented item. Adams said that the item was "too vulgar" and would never sell. JEM Rubber offered the idea to the Johnson Smith Company which sold it with great success. S.S. Adams Co. later released its own version, but called it the "Razzberry Cushion."