The Aristocrats

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  • Comedy, Documentary, Stand Up and Sketches , produced in 2005 USA
  • Actors: Jason Alexander, Hank Azaria
  • Directed by: Penn Jillette, Paul Provenza
  • Rating: 6.4 out of 10
  • Plot Summary: "A man walks into a talent agent's office with his family and says, Have I got an act for you! The talent agent replies, So what do you do?" So begins "The Aristocrats," a joke that has been handed down from comedian to comedian for decades but is rarely told on stage. The next part of the joke varies, allowing for improvisation, and the only requirement in telling the joke is that it be as offensive as possible.

    Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette spent two years documenting as many versions of this infamous joke as possible, cornering comedians like Drew Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, Susie Essman, and Paul Reiser whenever and wherever possible. The results are surprising, and often take their humor to places that may make sensitive viewers uncomfortable. While comic legends such as Don Rickles, The Smothers Brothers, and Phyllis Diller admit their familiarity with the joke, they shy away from telling their own versions. Some may be surprised, however, to see performers who are normally associated with family-friendly material, including Bob Saget and Jason Alexander, describing scatological and incestuous acts with deadpan glee. Ultimately, though, THE ARISTOCRATS is more than just many versions of the same dirty joke--it is an exploration of the workings of the unrestricted comic mind.
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