Anthony's Film Review

The Aristocrats (2005)

Just thought I'd share an interesting joke with ya...

A guy and several other strangers go into a talent agency. The agent asks, "What kind of act have you got?" And the guy says, "Check this out."

So the guy and all of the people with him sit in chairs, watching a documentary film revolving around the dirtiest joke ever told in the history of comedy. The joke begins and ends the same way: a set of characters, usually a family and a dog, go into a talent agency and the end mentions that the act they perform is called "The Aristocrats." The middle can be whatever the jokester wants to fill in. There is absolutely no limit in how vulgar, disgusting, foul, and scatological the middle part is. Basically, the more bestiality, incest, feces, urine, weird forms of sex, violence, and whatever else civilized society bans from conversation, the better.

These moviegoers aren't laughing too much at first. Plus, they're still getting used to the quick pacing of this documentary film since the whole thing is a series of clips of 100+ comedians and celebrities with camera shots changing every 3 to 10 seconds. Then the people start to laugh at some of the funny remarks the comedians make as they comment about this old dirty joke. The whole thing is an in-depth analysis of the joke plus versions of the joke the comedians made up. And if you're wondering what the original version of the Aristocrats joke was, forget it. The original middle portion is probably lost forever.

The analysis of the Aristocrats joke is fascinating. It's a joke that is like jazz music; the same joke can be told, but is totally different depending on who's telling it. It's also one that removes any social norms and allows one to be in absolute freedom. And the creativity is endless, not just with the words but also with throwing in physical objects into the mix and altering the style. There is one version of the joke in the film involving the choice between death and the Aristocrats, which the main guy in the audience thought was funny. The documentary gives the public not only a revelation of a joke kept within the circle of comedians but also a feel for why it has lasted for such a long time.

And of course, the audience is laughing at some of the versions of the joke the movie features. There's stuff by George Carlin, Drew Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and many others. There's a clip from South Park in which Cartman tells the Aristocrats joke, just in case people have heard of this joke before from that show but did not know it's an old one. There are also clips involving a ventriloquist dummy, flaming torches being juggled, Carrie Fisher, an impersonation of Christopher Walken starting to tell the joke, and even Bob Saget shedding his family man image as he tells his Aristocrats joke. Perhaps the best ones of all are the following three: the Aristocrats joke with the manipulation of playing cards as a valuable prop, a mime ACTING OUT the Aristocrats joke, and Gilbert Gottfried at the Friar's Club Roast of Hugh Hefner telling the Aristocrats joke three weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

It's stuff like this that make members of the audience burst into laughter. That's what they do throughout. They laugh at the creativity behind these jokes, or rather these versions of the same old joke, without being bothered too much by the vulgarity. It is very disgusting and should only be viewed by those with a strong stomach or insensitivity to the foulest material. Once those issues are aside, the film is funny and engaging. The audience stands up after the end credits roll, since there's still stuff until the very end, and leaves smiling.

The agent says, "Wow. That was one hell of an act. What do you call that?" And the guy leading the group says, "The Aristocrats."

(Yeah, I don't get it either, but the film is entertaining if you like stand-up comedy and don't mind the extremely explicit stuff.)

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about The Aristocrats, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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