The Aristocrats

August 14, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Documentary, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS | 2 Comments |

"The Aristocrats!"

(Dir. Penn Jillette & Paul Provenza) (2005)

The Varnished Culture‘s late great friend, Dr David Barnes, loved this film, a quirky, tight, one-joke riff on the old vaudeville set-up where a truly disgusting and depraved act, auditioned before the jaundiced and horrified agent, is entitled “The Aristocrats!”  As Drew Carey observes, the punchline is enhanced if you say it with a grand flourish of the arms.

The challenge is to make the middle of the joke, a description of the act, as deviant, degenerate, debased, degraded, immoral, reprobate, debauched, dissolute, lewd, obscene, sordid, wicked, vile, base, iniquitous, vicious, brutal, criminal, warped and twisted as possible.  Many heroic attempts keep the entertainment high, but TVC ‘s favourite is Wendy Liebman’s inverted take, where a depiction of a charming afternoon tea among well-to-do, eloquent, loving, well-mannered folks, is graced with the charming rubric: “The ****sucking mother******s”.

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