The Aristocrats (2005)

Unrated  |   |  Documentary, Comedy  |  2 September 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 14,862 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 236 user | 122 critic | 39 from

One hundred superstar comedians tell the same very, VERY dirty, filthy joke--one shared privately by comics since Vaudeville.


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6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Albrecht ...
Himself - HBO Chairman / CEO
Steven Banks ...
Billy the Mime (as Billy the Mime)
Himself (as Carrot Top)
Wayne Cotter ...


Comedy veterans and co-creators Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza capitalize on their insider status and invite over 100 of their closest friends--who happen to be some of the biggest names in entertainment, from George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg and Drew Carey to Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Saget, Paul Reiser and Sarah Silverman--to reminisce, analyze, deconstruct and deliver their own versions of the world's dirtiest joke, an old burlesque too extreme to be performed in public, called "The Aristocrats." Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No Nudity No Violence Unspeakable Obscenity See more »


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 September 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The @r!$t* (r@t$  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$243,796 (USA) (29 July 2005)


$6,377,277 (USA) (20 January 2006)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Terry Gilliam's interview was cut apparently because of an unforeseen sound error during the taping. He appears in the DVD extras, though, with voice-over from director Paul Provenza who first talks about their chat, and then adds he learned that "a director should always wear headphones". See more »


[first lines]
George Carlin: The joke leads me down one path and then it switches the path on me suddenly and hits me with a hammer. It's just, "Here we go folks."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Everyone listed in the credits under "Very Special Thanks" was interviewed for the film but did not make the final cut. See more »


References Full House (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

Not a comedy. Not a bad thing.
14 March 2007 | by (Manchester, England) – See all my reviews

The Aristocrats is not a funny joke.

This is a fact admitted at several points through this film. And it's an important thing to bear in mind when considering the film, because the film is not the joke. The film is *about* the joke. It's a documentary. It deals with far more light-hearted matter than the average documentary, but it's a documentary nonetheless. Yes, the joke is told frequently and in various ways throughout the film. But in and of themselves, only about four incarnations of the joke are worthwhile. Billy The Mime's version is inspired, the guy who does it with playing cards is clever, Gilbert Gottfried's is a masterpiece of saying precisely the wrong thing at the right time, and Sarah Silverman's first-person rendition lies perfectly between deadpan hilarity and abject horror.

The value of the film lies in the story of the joke. And in this regard, it stands as one of the funniest films ever made. The joke isn't something to be told at the dinner table. It's a challenge, told by comedians to comedians. And this is where the hundred or so comedians in this film come in, to tell us their own stories and experiences about the inception and reception of it - and of course, to do this it becomes necessary for one or two of them to provide their own interpretations. And so it goes on.

As a comedy, it's not that funny; it is, in a very literal sense, a one-joke movie. As a documentary, it's genius.

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