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Aristocrats, The (2005)

Director(s): Paul Provenza

Theatrical Release: 2005

Cast: Penn Jillette, Eddie Izzard, Bill Maher, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Eric Idle

Genre(s): stand-up comedy, Comedy, Documentary

Countries: USA

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(0 / 0)
Ant Rating
Running Time: 90m.

A family walks into a talent agent's office..." So begins "The Aristocrats," a joke kept mostly secret by stand-up comedians for decades. An intentionally "bad" joke, the laughs in The Aristocrats aren't in the punch-line (one of the only elements that's the same every time), but in the set-up, made unique by each comedian who tells it in an attempt to fashion the world's dirtiest joke. The cat was finally let out of the bag by Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza, the seasoned funnymen who gathered together a hundred people to tell a hundred different renditions of the bit. Among those presenting their personal take on The Aristocrats in this film of the same name are Jason Alexander, Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Jon Stewart, Emo Philips, and Chris Rock. The Aristocrats premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. -- Matthew Tobey (

Member Reviews

What to do when a joke isn't funny by C20005635 - August 10, 2008
The Aristocrats is about an old joke that has passed from comic to comic over the years, with each one creating it as he/she tells is. The joke is not funny, really, just an exaggeration of over-the-top ideas as told to an agent. The movie is very funny, as each comic puts his/her spin on the history of the joke. Some comics tell the joke, some merely skirt around the details. Gilbert Gottfried, as always, puts a great spin on things, but truly Bob Saget might tell the most ridiculous tale. Or is it Doug Stanhope rendering the tale while his toddler listens? I daresay there isn't anyone who finds the joke funny, but the inventive ways people use to spin the tale are creative, funny, clever, morbid, disgusting. If strong language offends you, you might do as Phyllis Diller did upon hearing it - faint.

The extras are worthwhile. Listening to Pat Cooper explain his genius is always fun.