Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Aristocrats

Mighty Cheese Productions
Director: Paul Provenza
Length: 86 min.
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 31 January

As most comedians in this literally one-joke documentary will tell you, the joke, The Aristocrats, is just not funny. And yet, when told by some of the greatest working comedians over and over for 86 minutes, it often becomes hilarious. The trick, like all good jokes, is in the telling. Adding colorful little details and punctuating every line with the perfect tone of voice can make a dumb joke funny as is proven here. Somewhere around 100 comedians give versions of the joke, and also offer insight into what makes jokes work, comedic censorship, and what a joke told can reveal about the teller. The documentary generally succeeds, but it could have used some less spastic editing. The film is heavily cut, trying to get as much in as possible by as many different people as possible while constantly cross-cutting back and forth between comedians, to the point that the film feels geared more towards people with severe ADD. Otherwise, if you like (unfathomably) dirty jokes, this film is for you.


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