The Aristocrats

Since this film consists of exactly one dirty joke (told over and over) and lasts 89 minutes, it’s tremendously strange that it’s only about 29 minutes too long. It’s still worth seeing, though, even if only for the oddness of the premise. Director Paul Provenza enlists pretty much every comedian in America to tell a legendary showbiz joke that apparently dates back to vaudeville. I can’t even begin to tell it here, because it’s so unbelievably crass that Laura Bush actually lifted her head from my lap and puked on my knees when she heard it. Strangely, the best telling of it doesn’t come from Sarah Silverman (who’s awesome nonetheless), Lewis Black, Eric Idle, Penn Jillette, Bill Maher, Martin Mull, Don Rickles, John Stewart or Steven Wright, all of whom turn in horrifying versions of it. Instead, and shockingly, the winning version belongs to Gilbert Gottfried, who delivered it at a roast to Hugh Hefner that took place a few weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. I guess it just goes to show you that John F. Kennedy’s words, once thought quaint, still resound with the ring of truth: “In a time when we are devastated by war and loss, a joke about a guy doing his daughter and grandmother in a pile of animal waste can remind us of our humanity, and our humility.” Amen to that, JFK, amen to that.

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