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The Aristocrats
2005 - NR - 86 Mins.
Director: Paul Provenza
Producer: Penn Jillette
Written By: Paul Provenza, Penn Jillette
Starring: George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Phyllis Diller, Jason Alexander, Drew Carey, Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Saget, Andy Dick, Carrie Fisher, Carrot Top, Hank Azaria, Bill Maher, Emo Philips, Paul Reiser, Sarah Silverman
Review by: Harrison Cheung
Official Site: www.thearistocrats.com/
   

Gilbert Gottfried tells the Dirtiest Joke in the World
Comedy veterans and co-creators Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller fame) 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, Phyllis Diller, Jason Alexander, Drew Carey to Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Saget, Andy Dick, Carrie Fisher, Carrot Top, Hank Azaria, Bill Maher, Emo Philips, Paul Reiser and Sarah Silverman,) to reminisce, analyze, deconstruct and deliver their own version of the world’s dirtiest joke, an old burlesque routine, too extreme to be performed in public, called “The Aristocrats”.

One of the smash hits of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, this star-studded comedy documentary, which celebrates the art of improvisation and the finest (and most foul-mouthed) traditions of stand-up, has stretched the limits of its audience, particularly for how loud and long they can laugh.

‘The Aristocrats’ is a fascinating documentary for people comfortable with extreme humor. The history of this joke – apparently over 100 years old – is like the history of stand-up comedy itself. The infamous joke is a private pleasure told between comedians like a fencing match, to show off their own personal style and delivery. The joke is lovingly told and retold through the documentary with shocking variations. Veteran comedians fondly recall the first time they heard the joke, told the joke, or how other comedians responded to the joke.

In many ways, ‘The Aristocrats’ is like a jazz standard; a Verve documentary of, say, how different singers can sing and interpret a Gershwin tune. Different comedians concentrate on different aspects of the joke – the sex, grotesque imagery or religion or politics. And to keep the joke contemporary, different comedians keep adding their own spin. Male comedians have different approaches than female comedians. Ethnicity -- British or American, black or white – each comedian brings his or her own flavor to the joke.

Never dull, ‘The Aristocrats’ is a must see for comedy fans who want to watch how a single joke performance can vary from comedian to comedian. The history of stand-up, the insider-in-the-green-room feel, add to the intimacy. And the therapeutic value of humor is vividly demonstrated. After hearing this joke, you’ll never look at these comedians in the same light – particularly squeaky clean ‘Full House’ and ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ star, Bob Saget.

‘The Aristocrats’ DVD Special Features include: Filmmaker Commentary featuring Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette; Aristocrats do the Aristocrats Highlight Reel; Behind the Green Room Door: Comedians Tell Some of Their Favorite Jokes; “Be An Aristocrat” Contest Winners and Additional Footage featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Stewart, Jason Alexander, Bob Saget, Sarah Silverman, Gilbert Gottfried, Lewis Black, Hank Azaria, Billy the Mime and others.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

 
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