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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.