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
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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No animals were fucked during the making of this film. 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 »
To be blunt, I could have made this movie. The only thing directors Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza had that I don't is access to famous comedians. Other than that, the movie has little direction. It looks like it was filmed with a camcorder, it is very choppy, it digresses a lot, and it is filled with people I've never heard of and whose opinions mean very little to me.
This isn't to say it's not funny. There are some truly wonderful bits in it. Unfortunately they are scattered throughout a long and often tedious journey of filler material and analysis. Much of this is provided by star comedians, such as George Carlin, Paul Reiser, Robin Williams, etc. But a lot of it is from below-the-line showbiz insiders, such as Hollywood columnists, talent agents, editors, etc, who are not introduced until the closing credits.
There are some truly hysterical tellings of the joke, particularly George Carlin, Glbert Gottfried, Kevin Pollack, Drew Carey, Robin Williams, and Sarah Silverman, delivering with her trademark cute-little-girl voice. Billy the Mime's pantomime performance of the joke is high on the list of funniest things I've ever seen. And there is even some interesting analysis about the nature of comedy. Paul Reiser and Larry Miller offer some valuable ideas.
Largely, though, the movie is filled with comedy clichés, such as "Comedy is all about timing." "This joke is all in the delivery." "Comedy is about how far you can push the envelope." And so-forth. The majority of the movie is people repetitively restating these well-known facts, with annoying interruptions by some of today's more annoying comedians, such as Pat Cooper and David Brenner, who think that comedy is nothing more than having a Brooklyn accent, a loud voice, an angry tone, and using the c-word as much as possible. The most abominable of these is the ventriloquism act calling himself "Otto and George" whose material is exactly what I just described, only performed with such poor ventriloquism that it's embarrassing to watch.
Overall it's choppy, redundant, tedious, and fortunately, hilarious.
It's a movie worth seeing, even worth owning if you have more than a passing interest in comedy, but if you're expecting miracles, prepare for a disappointment.
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