The Aristocrats review by Cinema Guru BoyA documentary about comedy is really pretty serious stuff. Even though the outcome is funny, the process is much more professional. When Comedian was released on DVD, there were a lot of people shocked at how unfunny it was, buit seeing how it was not Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up routine and rather a documentary about how a comedian assembles a stand-up routine, it was meant to be professional and interesting rather than funny. However, The Aristocrats doesn't take this route, and tries to focus much more on the funny, giving it much less of a foundation, thus becoming a forum for comedians to out-do each other.
If nobody knows by now, Aristocrats is about "The Dirtiest Joke In The World." The joke is also supposed to tell the audience a lot about the joke-teller himself. This joke is used more in a private forum for comedians to rib each other rather than anything used in any public or televised forum, also because it's unairable if done right, and can easily offend anyone at any time. The structure of the joke is: "A man walks into a theater-booker's office and tells him he and his family have an act. The theater-booker asks what they do..." And at this point the comedian describes the ludest, most disgusting acts he or she can imagine. Some focus on incest, others on feces and urine. But each comic tells this part in his or her own way. Then "the theater-booker, absolutely digusted, asks what they call themselves, and the man says, 'The Aristocrats!'" Well, after establishing that this says something about the comedian, the film then immediately strays from that concept, which could've made for an incredibly interesting character study of actual warpedly funny minds, but instead is more of a stand-up movie, with 70 comics telling the same joke in different ways. Much of it is very funny actually, but after 45 minutes, begins wearing on the audience, as the shock value wears off, and the substance never emerges. This film could've been half its running time and been twice the film, or an actual opinion could've been confronted, making for some sort of foundation.
Based on most of the media spotlight toward this film, it seemed like Bob Sagat and Gilbert Gottfried were soaking up most of the acclaim, and deservedly so. Sagat gets very creative, and goes on for so long about the family's acts he can't even finish the joke. Gottfried shines not only in his interview section, but his segment at the Friar's Roast Of Hugh Hefner is featured here, depicting Gottfried telling the joke in a public forum to an entire room of comedians, all of whom have their own version, of course, and Gottfried just lights up everyone there. There were a couple other stand outs as well. Wendy Liebman has some bright spots and the writers of The Onion have recurring footage throughout the film of them sitting around their writers' room brainstorming the perfect telling of The Joke, which makes for some genuinely hilarious moments.
At the end of the day, Paul Provenza put together about 45 minutes of funny and spread it out amongst and hour and a half. And it had very little focus, and although it was funny, was entirely without any enlightenment or intelligence.
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