8 out of 10
It's not the song, it's the singer. These are Penn Jillette's best words to describe a joke so old it's been passed around by comedians for decadesalmost akin to Hamlet's To Be or Not To Be speechno two do it exactly the same way.
Of course, when it comes to Shakespeare, the text is sacred, actors wouldn't dare to change a word. When it comes to the Aristocrats, the sky's the limit.
Imagine a joke so vulgar, so completely, utterly tasteless and obscene; that the mere mention of it makes Don Rickles shake his head and roll his eyes, and makes Phyllis Diller blush. The Aristocrats is not so much a joke as it is a performance piece. Comedians have stretched tellings of it to over two hours; throwing in every debauched, depraved, disgusting act they can think of before reaching a punchline so worn, it's engraved in the floor.
I'd never heard of it. A lot of people have never heard of it. It's practically a trade secret. After the audience goes home, after the managers close up shop and the comics are still going strong, this is the joke they pass around like a bottle of homemade rotgut. Everyone knows it. They just want to see what you do with it.
The documentary, directed by Paul Provenza, takes a sobering look at the filthiest joke ever told, and polls some of the funniest people walking the earth for their take on it. George Carlin starts you off. Mario Cantone tells it sounding like Carol Channing. Carrie Fisher relays fond memories of the joke as personal history.
Eric Idle does it to a jig. Richard Lewis hates the f*ckin' joke. Jackie the Jokeman Martling can't get enough. Kevin Pollak delivers it as Christopher Walken, and busts up the camera crew with laughter.
Do you have a favorite stand-up comic? They're in this film. They're all in this film, at one point or another.
If you have a passion for stand-up, watch this flick. Do NOT show it to anyone who would blush at the repeated use of enough obscenity to make your Scrabble board burst into flames. If they have the slightest sensitivity to this stuff, it will saturate 'em inside ten minutes. They won't get it, and they'll ask why you thought they'd like it. They just won't get it.
I gotta say, one viewing was enough for me. I can promise you, this is one film I will never forget. I don't think you will, either.
The 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 Mine and more.
Visit the THE ARISTOCRATS Web site
This movie will be available January 24 on Amazon.com