'The Aristocrats': Dirty movie leaves writers tongue-tied
How does a family publication describe the dirtiest joke ever told? That’s been a problem faced by writers covering the upcoming standup flick The Aristocrats, which features an off-color joke being told by more than 100 standup comics. Since PopWatch is a family blog — yes, a dysfunctional family blog, but come on now, my mom stops in to read it every once in a while — I’m not even going to take a crack at it. But I will present you with a few examples of writers dancing around the subject matter without putting their jobs on the line.
The Hollywood Reporter: ”It has to do, more or less, with a couple going into a booking agent’s office. He says, ‘What’s your act?’ And they say, ‘We go on stage and take off our clothes.’ And he says, ‘What are you called?’ And they say, ‘We’re the Aristocrats.”’
The New York Times: ”I won’t bore you with the joke’s setup. The middle is too crude to repeat, and varies with the teller anyway, which is the joke’s whole point. It’s an improvised tale about a depraved family’s unspeakable habits, piling up the sexual and scatological horrors until the tension relieving, two-word punch line (‘The Aristocrats!’).”
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer: ”A husband, wife, son and daughter go to see an agent and explain their act. What follows is all manner of perversity. The punch line is the name of the joke.”
Los Angeles Times (an op-ed piece by Penn Jillette, the film’s producer: ”If you want to see 105 comedians riffing on the same filthy joke, see it. But if any word has ever offended you (just the word, not the idea or the context), you can be sure that ever-so-bad word is in our movie — so stay the heck away. If the F-word, C-word, L-word, G-word, or E-word (I’m just making them up now), has ever bugged you, oh, fudge, you are not going to like this movie. It’s a motherhubbard! We don’t want to offend anyone; we want to make people laugh — and if you don’t laugh at scatological words and street-corner descriptions of sexual perversity, why don’t you go see Mr. and Mrs. Smith instead.”
If you’re not scared off by any manner of jaw-droppingly foul language, Radar magazine has either a hilarious or a horrifying glossary of The Aristocrats’ bluest moments. But in an effort to protect my mom — and PopWatch’s littlest readers — I’ll let you find that link all on your own.