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