The Aristocrats

"Excellent"

The Aristocrats Review


In the dark weeks following 9/11, Comedy Central's management surprisingly decided not to cancel its taping of The Friar's Club Roast of Hugh Hefner. During the recording of the event, hundreds of comedians and urban luminaries found themselves shocked out of their post-terrorism pall by none other than Gilbert Gottfried, who delivered what the New York Times' Frank Rich, an attendee of the taping, called "the greatest dirty joke ever told."

Tracing its origins to vaudeville, this "comic's joke" is tantamount to a secret handshake among comedians and their friends. Although versions vary widely, it basically goes like this: A man seeking show biz representation walks into a talent agent's office and describes his family's act, which consists of various illegal and unspeakable activities including incest, bestiality, necrophilia, and an explosion of bodily fluids. After the man finishes, the appalled agent asks what this horrible act is called, to which the man responds, "The Aristocrats!"

And so it is that in the era of the FCC's war on indecency, veteran comedians Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette (the latter of daring comedy-magic legends Penn & Teller) have crafted a mighty unusual 90-minute documentary entirely about this joke. In a tightly edited montage of clips, more than 100 professional funny-makers from Robin Williams to Phyllis Diller, Hank Azaria to Fred Willard, Chris Rock to the Smothers Brothers, tell the joke, de-construct the joke, reconstruct the joke, and turn the joke inside out.

The genius of "The Aristocrats," the joke, is its free form. While the beginning and punchline are pretty much constant (with some variations mentioned by the documentary's players), it's the middle that provides a blank sketchpad for the warped mind of the comic. And the genius of The Aristocrats, the movie, is watching A-listers, B-listers, Borscht Belters, sitcom stars, writers, and even a mime put their filthy spins on the gag. What results is insanely profane, offensively vile, and almost unrelentingly hilarious. Want to know where your taste boundaries lie? Take notes.

Highlights of The Aristocrats include Bob Saget's disgusting take on the joke, told in the moments before he is to perform in a club; a hysterical animated version delivered by Eric Cartman of South Park, Kevin Pollak telling the joke as Christopher Walken; and Gottfried's clip from the Hefner roast, which if actually broadcast would have spurred a pile of legislation higher than the Catskills.

By the time Sarah Silverman - who rivals only Gottfried himself for fearlessness - makes an appearance, we're too softened up by the verbal extremities to be shocked. (Her first-person version, which includes a toxic accusation against old TV personality Joe Franklin, is one of the funniest moments in the movie.)

The Aristocrats is naturally not for everyone. But if you're the type of comedy club patron who guffaws at the type of dark and edgy material that makes the suburban bachelorette partiers at the next table stare into their margaritas, you'll cherish this voyeuristic peek into the sick minds that make America laugh.



The Aristocrats

Facts and Figures

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th September 2005

Production compaines: Mighty Cheese Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Himself, Chris Albrecht as Himself, as Himself, Shelley Berman as Himself, as Billy The Mime, as Himself, David Brenner as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Mark Cohen as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Pat Cooper as Himself, Wayne Cotter as Himself, as Himself, Frank Digiacomo as Himself, as Herself, as Herself, as Herself, as Himself, Todd Glass as Himself, as Herself, as Herself, as Himself, as Himself, Allan Harvey as Himself, as Himself, Dom Irrera as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, The Amazing Johnathan as Himself, Alan Kirschenbaum as Himself, as Himself, Sue Kolinsky as Herself, as Himself, as Herself, as Herself, as Himself, Wendy Liebman as Herself, as Himself, Merrill Markoe as Herself, Jay Marshall as Himself, Jackie Martling as Himself, Chuck McCann as Himself, as Himself, Eric Mead as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Otto Petersen as Himself, as Himself, Gary Owens as Himself, Owen Morse as Himself, Jonathan Wee as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Peter Pitofsky as Himself, Emo Philips as Himself, Kevin Pollak as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Gregg Rogell as Himself, as Himself, Jon Ross as Himself, as Herself, as Himself, T. Sean Shannon as Himself, as Himself, as Herself, as Himself, as Himself, Dick Smothers as Himself, Tom Smothers as Himself, Doug Stanhope as Himself, Carrie Snow as Herself, as Himself, as Himself, Larry Storch as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Johnny Thompson as Himself, Peter Tilden as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Joe Garden as Himself, Todd Hanson as Himself, Tim Harrod as Himself, Chris Karwowski as Himself, Carol Kolb as Herself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Herself, Eddie Gorodetsky as Himself

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.