- Rated: Unrated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 26 minutes
- Video: Color
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Released: January 24, 2006
- Originally Released: 2005
- Label: Velocity / Thinkfilm
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Additional Release Material:
- Bonus Footage
- Audio Commentary: Filmmaker's Commentary
- BEHIND THE GREEN ROOM DOOR
- THE ARISTOCRATS DO THE ARISTOCRATS - Montage Telling of the Joke
- HANGING OUT
- BEN AN ARISTOCRAT - One Live Action/One Animated
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Martin Mull &
Penn Jillette &
Executive Production by
Penn Jillette &
Entertainment Weekly - 08/05/2005
"[A] fascinating sick-joke documentary....THE ARISTOCRATS has a lot of laughs..."
New York Times - 07/29/2005
"[A]n essay film, a work of painstaking and penetrating scholarship....Original and rigorous..."
Rolling Stone - 08/11/2005
"[K]iller-funny....These stand-ups on the spot tell the joke, take it apart, and reveal why they use it as the gold standard to test what a comic is made of."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 07/01/2005
"[T]he film actually provides fascinating insights into the psyche of comedians and their gleeful, childlike delight in flouting taboos."
USA Today - 07/29/2005
"[A] documentary that dissects the essence of comedy as well as showcases outrageous improvisational humor....[F]or those with a keen interest in freedom of speech and indulging in plenty of belly laughs, THE ARISTOCRATS is worth seeing."
Sight and Sound - 11/01/2005
"For all the gag's Tourette's-syndrome rush of expletives and uninhibited combinations of body functions, there remains a guileless innocence here."
Uncut - 02/01/2006
"A fabulous documentary, this works both for belly laughs and as a meditation on comedy's function."
Premiere - 03/01/2006
"[T]he result is gloriously, painfully hilarious....[T]his 86-minute documentary never drags..."
"A man walks into a talent agent's office with his family and says, Have I got an act for you! The talent agent replies, So what do you do'" So begins "The Aristocrats," a joke that has been handed down from comedian to comedian for decades but is rarely told on stage. The next part of the joke varies, allowing for improvisation, and the only requirement in telling the joke is that it be as offensive as possible.
Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette spent two years documenting as many versions of this infamous joke as possible, cornering comedians like Drew Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, Susie Essman, and Paul Reiser whenever and wherever possible. The results are surprising, and often take their humor to places that may make sensitive viewers uncomfortable. While comic legends such as Don Rickles, The Smothers Brothers, and Phyllis Diller admit their familiarity with the joke, they shy away from telling their own versions. Some may be surprised, however, to see performers who are normally associated with family-friendly material, including Bob Saget and Jason Alexander, describing scatological and incestuous acts with deadpan glee. Ultimately, though, THE ARISTOCRATS is more than just many versions of the same dirty joke--it is an exploration of the workings of the unrestricted comic mind.
- Theatrical Release: JULY 19, 2005 (NY/LA) AUGUST 1, 2005 (EXPANDS)