Posted on July 29th, 2005 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
It’s The Aristocrats, of course. An entire movie dedicated to one really nasty, vulgar, disgusting, scatological joke. Which begins with some rough approximation of the line, “So this guy walks into a talent agent’s office,” and ends with the line, “The Aristocrats!”, and inbetween is filled with every perverse and probably illegal act that you can think of. One thing’s for sure: comedians will never run out of terms for bodily fluids and orifices.
It is hilarious. And in a strange way, it is heartwarming. There is more genuine laughter in this movieâthe people in it, not just the audienceâthan you’ll see in a lifetime of sitcoms. Much of the film is really about the tribe that is comedians…how they all know each other, they respect each other, and they all know this one joke, passed down through the ages. No matter how slick they get, how much money they make, they remember where they came from, and the beauty and art in the telling of one, simple but not so simple, joke. It’s fitting that the best telling of the joke is done by squeaky-clean Bob Saget, whom middle-America knows from the old sitcom “Full House” and, I think, “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” His telling of the joke is geniusâthere’s really no other word for it. He interrupts the telling to go out and “entertain people”âit looks like he’s got a stand-up gig to doâand you somehow feel that you’ve been privy to something much funnier than whatever he’s about to do for that other audience.
Then there’s Gilbert Gotfried, telling the joke to make people laugh and raise money weeks after 9/11….Kevin Pollack imitating Christopher Walken doing the joke…Drew Carey describing his little flourish at the end in a way that can only be described as sweet…Andy Richter telling the joke with his infant…and when the infant doesn’t laugh at the punchline, he pushes it a little farther, as if to say, “Oh, yeah? That didn’t get you laughing? All right, try this!”
The Aristocrats is about a joke, but it’s really a movie about a group of people who are very, very good at making the rest of us laugh, and the joy we all get when they say the things that we dare not.