Genre: Doucumentary/ Comedy
U.S. Theatrical Release Date: July 29, 2005
U.S. DVD Release Date: January 24, 2006
Tagline: "No Nudity. No Violence. Unspeakable Obscenity."
Look at the title carefully.
No, this is not the beloved 'Walt Disney' production 'The Aristocats' (1970), about a group of cats on the verge of inheriting a fortune.
This is 'The Aristocrats', the punchline to a joke that every comedian knows, but can not be told on stage.
Created in the early days of Vaudeville, 'The Joke' has long since been relegated to being told only among the community of 'professional comedians', because it is deemed to be the most filthy, obscene joke of all time.
(In fact, if 'Uncle Walt' were still alive, he probably would not let any of these foul-mouthed presenters anywhere near the 'Happiest Place on Earth'.)
The basic premise is this...
A man walks into a talent agents' office with his family and says "Have I got an act for you!" Here they begin to describe and perform the most vile, disgusting acts that people and animals can affect upon one another. When they have finished the talent agent says "That's a very interesting act! What do you call yourselves?" The man replies, "The Aristocrats!"
Director Paul Provenza and pal Penn Jillette have assembled interviews with 100 comedians who present their variations of 'The Joke'.
The end result of this 'Docu-comedy' is the cinematic equivalent of a train wreck. Alternately horrifying and vulgar, it ultimately is a fantastic insight into the workings of the comedic mind, and makes it impossible to take your eyes off of the screen.
With performances by such contemporary talents as Jason Alexander ('Seinfeld'), Lewis Black ('The Daily Show'), Andy Dick ('Just Shoot Me!') and Sarah Silverman ('Greg The Bunny') as well as comic giants George Carlin, The Smothers Brothers and Phyllis Diller, perhaps the most shocking versions come from the normally reserved Bob Saget ('Full House') and an outrageous take by Billy The Mime. (Without speaking a word, naturally.)
DVD extra features include...
- Filmmaker Commentary by Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette
- "Aristocrats do the Aristocrats" Highlight Reel
- Behind the Green Room Door: Comedians Tell Some of Their Other Favorite Jokes
- Never Before Seen Extended Versions of 'The Joke'
Presented in 4:3 full frame and 5.1 Digital Surround sound, 'The Joke' in and of itself is not that inherently funny. But the incredible voyage to finally reach the punchline is where the real payoff lies.
It is a deranged yet brilliant piece of filmmaking.
RATING: 4-1/2 'Stand-Up Mikes' out of 5
THE ARISTOCRATS (2005) - STUDIO:LionsGate - MPAA RATING: Not Rated - RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes - STARRING: Jason Alexander, Hank Azaria, Lewis Black, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Billy Connolly, Andy Dick, Phyllis Diller, Whoopie Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried, Eric Idle, Bill Maher, Howie Mandel, Penn & Teller, Paul Reiser, Bob Saget, Sarah Silverman, The Smothers Brothers, Jon Stewart and 80 others. DIRECTED BY: Paul Provenza
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