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
According to T. Sean Shannon, he got into trouble behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live (1975) for his use of the N-word in the film. Shannon also said that he had been berated by African-Americans when recognized in public. 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 South Park segment of the Aristocrats joke, in the film, has a minor edit of the line "and the talent agent just sits there". Whereas the circulated internet version contains the whole line intact is "and the talent just sits there for the longest time". See more »
And with that line begins a joke that is profiled from its Vaudvillian roots,through ninety minutes and a myriad of comedians. I once made the mistake of describing this show as bing "a hundred comedians tell the same joke',which got a quizzical"Why would anyone watch that?" reaction. There's much more to this that "comedicans telling a joke".
Comedian Paul Provenza(with the help of Penn Gillette)directs this documentary that examines one joke and how it can be stretched,shrunken,reformed,refitted,debated,taken apart,turned upside-down,twisted,cleaned up,dirtied up and any other way a comic can interpret it. Philosophies and stories around the joke are also factored in,and one who watches this film(assuming one can stick with this doc,any of the wildly profane and wincingly nasty treatments of the joke)learns as much about the teller of the jokes as the joke itself.
With notable turns by such comics as Gilbert Gottfried(who tells the joke both in interview and archival footage),SArah Silverman,Bob Saget,the Smothers Brothers,MArtin Mull,Howie Mandel and George Carlin(among others),this film is a test in one's understanding of not only the telling of a joke,but the mechanics OF telling it and the joke itself. Not much of a movie and barely a documentary,this is a great "curiosity" film that will weed out people who should and shouldn't be watching this. I felt like I learned something out of this,and every so often I got laughs out of it,too. How many films can you say THAT about it?
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