Friday, March 17, 2006

The Aristocrats



100 comedians. One disgusting, lewd joke. Add 97 minutes of film and shake well.

Just watched this tonight and I'm ambivalent. Some parts were hysterically funny (the mime enacting the famous joke, Sara Silverman's take) and some were way beyond my comfort level. Which, based on this blog, is a pretty high bar when it comes to scatalogical humor and swearing. Miss Jean Brodie I'm not. Anyway, pushing the boundaries is part of the film's point.

Nevertheless, I'm not sure if even in its tamest form, the joke is truly funny. Ironic, yes. Sidesplittingly humorous? Not so much. Although the ability to make me recoil and laugh at the same time is worthy of applause. The movie itself isn't so much about "the joke" as it is a witty observation on the art of creating humor, and the different ways comedians will make jokes their own. Kevin Pollack does a terrific interpretation of Christopher Walken telling the joke.

The best performers of The Aristocrats joke were those who didn't go right in for the jugular, but rather found ways to inject additional asides into the telling. Jon Stewart dancing around, up to and back from the entire concept was excellent, as always.

Whether you laugh a little or a lot, The Aristocrats offers a window into art, humor, and where our social and personal fault lines exist. It's yet another provocative 2005 film.


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