SIFF: Thoughts on the movie “The Aristocrats”

Last Friday night as part of SIFF I went to a midnight showing of “The Aristocrats” which should not be in any way shape of form be confused with the Disney movie; “The Aristocats”.  The Aristocrats is a documentary that explores one of Vaudeville’s oldest dirty joke.  Let me say that this film will be NC-17 when it comes out.  It is just that vile and filthy.  It is not for those that are easily offended; in fact I talked to one guy after another SIFF movie that said some people walked out in disgust at the press screening.  Personally I found the movie fairly funny.  It is certainly disgusting but since it is far from fact it seems somewhat acceptable.  There a many of the biggest comedians of the day who give their own interpretation of the joke and I am the kind of person who when they see someone they know is funny laughing I cannot help but not to join in the laughing also.  Paul Provenza, the director was in attendance and did a question and answer session after the film.  The joke itself is fairly tame and kind of lame, especially the punch-line which I guess is why comedians find it funny, and tend to tell only amongst themselves.  The twist on the joke is to make it as sick, disgusting, and vile between the introduction and the punch line.  There are contests to see how long it takes to tell.  Others try to see just how much and type of things they can incorporate.  Others try to make sure they try not to repeat things as they tell it.  As you see in the film many people have a challenge in just getting the punch-line correct.  It is hard to pick my favorite comedian in the film there we some many.  The kids from South Park were also in it, along with a mime, a ventriloquist, the joke show as part of a card trick, and jugglers.  Gilbert Gottfried tells a version at a Friar’s roast of Hugh Hefner that has every comedian in NYC falling out of their chairs laughing when he did it a few weeks after 9/11.
I honestly did not know the joke or if I had heard it I had forgotten as it is so unforgettable as presented in its simplest form.  The joke goes something like this so stop reading now if you think it might spoil the movie or that you might be offended; A family walks into a talent manager’s office and says they have an act that they would like to show him.  The parents proceed to walk out on stage and take a sh*t on the stage.  The children come up on stage and play in it.  The talent manager says well that is an interesting act.  What do you call yourselves?  “The Aristocrats” the father answers.  That is it in the simplest terms.  Most comedians try to incorporate blood, piss, sex with animals, sex with family members, etc into the joke between the beginning and the punch-line.  Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame was one of the producers and you can see his influence in the project.
I did not stay for the Q&A for a couple of reasons.  The first was my legs were killing me.  I hate the Neptune theatre, the rows are too close together, the floor is really slanted, especially in the balcony, and the old wooden seats give you no comfort at all, plus there is no parking in that area, and it is a bummer that SIFF is using that theatre this year (but really they had little choice losing two theatres they normaly use to the new Star Wars movie).  The second was that my buddy was tired and wanted to go home before he fell asleep.  The movie was supposed to start at mid-night and actually have a short play before it but we did not even get seated until about 12:15 and I do not think the movie started until about 12:25 am.  I wish they could of had things more on time and also showed the short.


About Aaron Bregel

Just trying to get by
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