18th-century England and Ireland viewed through the eyes of four beautiful high-born sisters - Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, great-granddaughters of a king, daughters of a cabinet minister, and wives of politicians and peers.
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
This joke has been used by comedians for years as a mental stretching exercise. They would tell the joke to each other as a warm up for their acts. While the setup and punchline remain the same throughout, the middle section, describing the actual family act, is always varied to get the juices going by throwing in the most they can and keeping it funny. There are stories of parties where performers will jam and keep it going for almost an hour. See more »
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."
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After the credits, this appears on screen: "Now that you know the joke - keep it alive, spread it around. It's easy. 'A guy goes into a talent agent's office...' All you have to remember is ONE word." Then, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette are standing among a group of goats and say "Aristocrats!" while doing the hand flourish that Drew Carey invented. See more »
The Aristocrats uses a warhorse joke to give the audience a window into humor, obscenity, and the American conscience. I am not aware of another study capable of inducing such laughter. The premise is devilishly simple and almost a modern version of comedia delarte. This allows some of the best American comic minds to muse wildly about humor. A great achievement of the movie is the raw footage of a who's who of comedians. Comic greats such as George Carlin, Eric Idle, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Godfrey, Jason Alexander, Robin Williams, Phyllis Diller, Drew Carey, Sarah Silverman, and many more weigh in on how comedians put their signature on jokes.
The editing and pacing of the movie insure that the audience goes no longer than two minutes without a good laugh. There is no shortage of obscenity and lewdness in the film. The Aristocrats is not a family film. However, the film proves that there is much to be gained from wading into the lake of obscenity. Packed between laughs about bodily functions and social taboos, are searing insights about improvisation, character, show business, and things which most of us would not willingly put in our mouths. The movie hits on many different levels and stands as an insightful sociological achievement garbed in laughter.
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