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This is a very odd film project: a documentary about a joke that is not really a joke, but rather like a formal possibility for standup comedians to ad lib on a topic during a show. Like a piano player reaching a fugue notation on the score, a comedian using the Aristocrats joke will find himself at a point where very few elements are fixed at the beginning and the end of the piece, but in-between everything is possible. A man comes into a talent agent’s office and says he has just seen somebody do the greatest showpiece ever. He describes in as much graphic and repulsive detail as possible whatever to shock the audience, here is where the comedian can shine … and the joke ends with basically a fixed conversation of two lines (here is the background, for those who are curious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_aristocrats).
This is odd enough to justify a documentary, even though a short one would have done it. The joke serves as a comedian’s signature and in-joke among the professionals at the same time. This allows the filmmakers to get a big number sometimes more, sometimes less known stand-up comedians to show their version and their experience with shocking the audiences. Robin Williams, Whoopy Goldberg, Drew Carey and Sarah Silverman… the list is very long and online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aristocrats_%28film%29. An amusing look behind the scenes of a very hard business, with very few people of really extraordinary talent and skills. If you like that scene, and enjoyed “Comedian” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comedian_(film) or also “Funny People”, then The Aristocrats is just the thing to watch.

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