July 29, 2005, - 12:50 pm

What I Think of “The Aristocrats”

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.”

Penn: Right.
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.

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13 Responses

HA HA! I like it! I can’t wait to see this movie.

Clompo on July 29, 2005 at 3:08 pm

I won’t see it, because I have no desire to see Carrott Top’s nekkid butt and anyone who comes up with “Please take away my Bill of Rights” has the mentality of a 12 year old. I’ve heard it on good authority Penn threatens to hold his breath if his baggage is checked, too.
I’m glad this was made because things like this just keeps digging the hole deeper and deeper for the loony left. The Hollywood pinkos just don’t get it.

Jeff_W on July 29, 2005 at 4:33 pm

Many people do not know that Penn Jillette is a devout atheist. Apparently he will instigate self-coitus-interruptus if the woman he is with cries out, “Oh my God.”
So it is no surprise that he would champion a ‘crass roots’ operation.

MagicalPat on July 29, 2005 at 6:37 pm

While there are a lot of things like this you probably disagree with Penn and Teller on, if you ever watch their BS show on Showtime, you’ll be interested to know that they probably agree with you a lot as well, such as on the issues of PETA, endangered species, environmental worrywartism, etc. Maybe that’s kind of like the way there are many things I fully agree with you on, and many things in which I would definitely be on the opposing side of the debate team. Check out the show if you don’t already, Debbie I think you’ll mostly like it (though you’ll definetly disagree with their circumcision episode I think…..but you don’t have to agree with them to like the show I didn’t like that episode either :-)).

hairymon on July 31, 2005 at 11:21 pm

Airport security should send Jillette to the VERY back of the line for pulling such an adolescent stunt.
Jillette, an atheist, once commented about how the only science professors who believe in God teach at the community college level. A friend of mine, who believes in theistic evolution and attended a Texas university, even thought this comment was a bit much.

rickzowie on August 2, 2005 at 5:45 pm

It seems these days there are not too many movies that I would watch, and this one is just another to add to the list. It’s kind of sad to know that Jason Alexander would do that in this movie after writing children books and giving interviews about the values he instills in his children.
I guess hypocrisy and hollywood go hand in hand.

w_g_henderson on August 3, 2005 at 12:55 pm

What kills me is to think that Bob Sagat, second father to the world, is such a dirty guy. My stomach turned when I saw his scene in Half Baked. Is this what he thinks will revive his career?!?!

Rick P on August 4, 2005 at 6:08 pm

Round The Reader

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anamericanhousewife.com on August 6, 2005 at 4:08 pm

Is it me or has anyone else noticed how dismal the films of the past two years have been?

Ripper on August 12, 2005 at 3:29 pm

Good lord! So what if Penn is an atheist? Or if Alexander and Saget want to tell a REALLY dirty joke (one I really don’t find funny). Even Carrot Top’s butt isn’t a big deal. They aren’t hurting anyone. You make it sound as if these guys can’t be good fathers just because of their joke telling or movie roles. I tell dirty jokes and watch R rated movies and I’m an atheist and I’m a good father.
Flying is not a right but a privilege. I don’t believe being searched at the airport takes away my rights. I think the Patriot Act does that.
I understand how a scientist could be religious, but I don’t know how any scientist can believe in “theist evolution”. I’m really not sure what that is, but I’m guessing it’s Adam and Eve and that whole story. That’s just plain silly!

Cheezkid on August 16, 2005 at 2:18 pm

Geez get over yourself people! It’s an R-rated movie. None of you have ever laughed at a dirty joke? You were all too busy reading the bible I guess…Debbie herself even says “it’s very funny!” In a comedy, that’s what I’m looking for. This piece really seemed to be more about ways to bash people that appeared in this “very funny” movie than about the movie itself. As one poster wrote earlier, Debbie would probably agree with Mr. Jillete’s position on a great many things, including gun-control and his views on PETA. As far as Adam and Eve–who cares? This is supposed to be about a movie right? Sheesh, self-righteous people are annoying, especially in a movie review of a “very funny” movie..

Stewie on August 17, 2005 at 4:37 pm

I haven’t seen it and have zero desire to ever see it. More typical Hollywood filth. Come on, you guys can do better (I hope?)

Jack Davis on August 26, 2005 at 10:07 pm

The Aristocrats had me howling in my seat. I *loved* it! However, I can see how it’s a symptom of cultural decline as well as a mature and select brand of humor. Being dirty doesn’t confer “redeeming social impoertance” on a joke. In the case The Aristocrats, watching the extremes to which these pros took that joke was well worth the price of the ticket. Harry the Mime was hilarious; Saget, Gilbert Gottfried, and George Carlin were very good; and it was the first time I’d seen Sarah Silverman. And what a treat to see Larry Storch and Phyllis Diller!
For politically incorrect obscene humor, I suggest a documentary with the exact same premise, but called “The Palestinians”:
So, this family walks into a UN refugee office, and the father says to the guy behind the desk, “I was hoping you’d take a minute so I could show you how we might qualify for some assistance.” The UN official says “Sure, whaddya got?” Then and there the father pulls an AK-47 out from his coat — the UN official lets out a gasp — the father says, “Don’t worry, I don’t wanna shoot *you*…. Nabil, give me a banana clip!” One of the kids pulls an ammo cartridge out of his pants….
Now, how about a documetary with 90 or 100 comics (pro or amateur) telling that joke?

Jeremiah on October 25, 2006 at 3:19 am

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