July 29, 2005, - 12:50 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
People have asked me what I think of the new movie, “The Aristocrats,” a dirty joke “documentary” by Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller. It opens today in Los Angeles and New York and rolls out to the rest of the country over the next two weeks.
I’m no prude, and yes, it’s very funny. But, even though there are (almost) no naked people, it’s completely vile. Totally tasteless. That’s why AMC theaters won’t show it. There’s nothing wrong with comedians appearing in it, if they don’t mind what happens to their careers afterward.
Bob Saget, of “Full House” fame, says onscreen that he’ll probably never work for Disney again, after the movie comes out. These days, that’s probably not the case. Carrot Top exposes his naked rear end, and I doubt that will keep him from more appearances on “Live with Regis & Kelly” and “Late Night with David Letterman.”
But there’s something wrong about George Costanza (Jason Alexander) using graphic words on-screen to describe testicles, disgusting sex acts, including rape and incest, one minute–and on the TV screen with Lee Iacocca in Chrysler ads, the next minute. I doubt Chrysler would have hired him, had they known about his appearance in “Aristocrats.”
And, like Costanza, most of the guys in this movie are on the downward trajectory of their careers. Jackie Martling, once part of radio’s Howard Stern Show, appears in “Aristocrats”–weathered and leathery in what look like short pants or women’s capris.
I don’t deny these Lenny Bruce-wannabes their right to free speech, but Chrysler never had Lenny Bruce as a spokesman. Should they use Costanza?
Then there’s producer Penn Jillette. He and Teller did a highly offensive magic trick, in which they burned an American flag in the White House, on an episode of “The West Wing.” They were playing themselves, and it’s not a stretch. To further show us how much he “values” free speech–or wants to push its limits beyond acceptability and normalcy, Jillette recently named his new daughter “Moxie Crimefighter.” She will be tortured all her life with this absurd name. No problem since her father’s house resembles a bizarre sado-masochism den mixed with macabre death penalty implements.
In 2002, I appeared on ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” with Jillette (actress Jane Seymour and NBA Player Michael Olowokandi also appeared). On the show, Jillette bragged how he holds up TSA screening lines at airports by wearing a metal card talking about his civil liberties. I’m sure travelers behind him in lines everywhere just love him.
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:
Bill Maher: All right.
Penn just handed me this.
This is the Bill of Rights printed on a little piece of metal.
Penn Jillette: Yeah.
Bill: Paul Provenza gave me this also.
You’re saying, when you go through the airport metal detector, so they purposely take it out and then you say, “Please take away my Bill of Rights.”
They wand you and it’s securityedition.com.
You buy like five of those when you go through.
They wand you and they say, “Do you have any metal? What is this?” You pull it out and go, “It’s my Bill of Rights, I guess you better take it.”
Yes, we get it, you’re for free speech. We get it. We didn’t need “The Aristocrats” to figure it out. And we don’t have to like it, either.
Tags: ABC, actress, airport metal detector, Bill Maher, Bob Saget, Chrysler, David Letterman, Debbie Schlussel, Full House, George Costanza, Howard Stern Show, Jackie Martling, Jane Seymour, Jason Alexander, Late Night with David Letterman, Lee Iacocca, Lenny Bruce, Lenny Bruce-wannabes, Los Angeles, masochism, metal, metal card talking, Michael Olowokandi, National Basketball Association, New York, Paul Provenza, Penn Jillette, player, Politically Incorrect, producer, Regis, spokesman, Teller, The Aristocrats, The West Wing, White House