Aristocrats title

Shun 'The Aristocrats'

Save your money

You'd think that the audience at a movie about a joke would be laughing their heads off. You might think that, but if the movie were The Aristocrats, you'd be wrong. Very wrong.


For months now, I had been reading reviews that all said pretty much the same thing: The Aristocrats showed about a hundred comedians telling "the world's dirtiest joke." It was variously described as "hilarious," "filthy," "obscene," "vulgar," "perverted," and so on — sounded like something I just had to see.

I saw The Aristocrats yesterday. It is all those things except that it is decidedly not hilarious, not funny, not even mildly amusing. Some people do find it offensive; about half the audience got up and left within the first five minutes of the showing I saw. But I repeat: it is not funny! How it qualifies as a "joke" is, frankly, beyond me.

The "joke" always begins the same way: This guy walks into a talent agent's office and says 'Have I got an act for you!' ...

The punch line is always: The Aristocrats.

pissing cherub
Image from home page of The Aristocrats web site

In between the beginning and the punch line, the teller is free to describe "the act" with their own catalog of scatology and sexology. The website Radar Online has prepared an exhaustive blow-by-blow account if you really want to know. As they advise, "You'll probably want to wear a raincoat."

The Aristocrats is not funny! Not one belly laugh erupted in the theatre among the few hardy souls who watched it with us all the way to the end. There were no guffaws, no giggling, not even tittering. Just stony silence.

Even Silence of the Lambs had laughs! Not The Aristocrats.

Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette

The Aristocrats is the brainchild of Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. As such, there can be no stronger argument in favor of abortion.

The comedians who appear in The Aristocrats are a veritable who's who of American comedy. From well-known icons like Phyllis Diller and George Carlin to numerous who's-thats. But I stress: the comedians were the only ones laughing — the audience certainly wasn't.

Gilbert Gottfried montage George Carlin

But it doesn't matter who is in the movie. Here's all you need to know about The Aristocrats: It's not funny!

OK, I'll admit there was one small, off-hand joke told at the very end of the movie that did elicit a slight chuckle, from me at least: I saw these two priests having dinner together in a restaurant. I didn't know whether to send them a bottle of wine or a cub scout.

Shun The Aristocratsit just ain't funny!