Dirty language in this post.

*Well, that was kind of a busy Sunday. More so than anticipated.

*I saw The Aristocrats. Kind of a disappointment.

I mean, it’s got the raw material. Oh yes it does. But this is one badly put together film. I mean, this thing should be shown in film school as an example of how a misconceived editing rhythm can totally fuck around with a movie’s impact. Yeah, I agree that all the movie needs to do is ‘be funny,’ but editing is a crucial ingredient to onscreen humor, even through the relative absence of cutting - how things are shown to the audience can mean an awful lot to a film's basic level of humor. After all, comedy is just tragedy in longshot, right?

I’d have liked a lot more absence in this thing. I kept hearing from people how awesome Gilbert Gottfried and Bob Saget were going to be, and you know - it’d have been nice to actually hear more than five seconds of their routines at a time without some hooting asshole popping in to either tell me how awesome what I’m watching is or reiterating for the five hundredth time information I’d heard twenty minutes ago. Sagat’s routine serious winds up like this:

[Saget]: “And then the son grabs his father’s cock and the father shits all over his face…”

[Comedian A]: “Oh man, Bob Sagat! He’s such a funny guy and his jokes are really dirty and not at all clean which is not what you expect!”

[Saget]: “So then the wife slips in a pile of blood and shit and the dog walks over…”

[Comedian B]: “HA HA HA HAAAAA Bob Sagat, man! It’s all the way he tells it, man! HAHAHAHAAAA!”

[Saget]: “And then the grandma grabs the…”


It’s even worse with Gottfried, where his performance is hyped up for a while before it appears (it’s from a Friar’s Club roast in 2001), and then it’s constantly interrupted by people telling us how flawless and brilliant Gottfried’s performance is, even though by their very presence they completely destroy the pacing of the joke! I mean, did nobody think of that in the editing room? That maybe we’d like to actually see this legendary performance without people knocking it off the screen to remind us how legendary it is?

And what’s worse, that’s pretty much the set-up of the whole movie. There’s almost never any build-up at all; it’s mostly just short, jagged bursts of dirty language, like buckshot, and I don’t know if that does the material much justice. Like, everyone keeps saying over and over (and over and over and over and over oh Jesus Christ the repetition in this movie) how the magic of the joke is in the individual telling, but there’s only five or six times we actually hear the joke performed without being intercut with someone else’s performance or some talking head babbling. I doubt the other possible extreme, nothing but uncut routines again and again, would have been optimal, but there should have been more room to breathe than this. The effect is one of ‘oh my, how dirty our movie is!’ rather than humor rising easily from the performances. And while there were some decent seconds of insight (I really enjoyed Eric Idle’s explanation of how he doesn’t ‘get’ the joke because the aristocracy in England are already known to be irredeemable perverts), I don’t think the filmmakers were banking on the ‘documentary’ parts of the movie as the key to its appeal.

Hell, there’s some funny bits. This material is good enough that it can’t help but succeed to a certain degree, but it’s strictly in spite of the movie built to service it. The only one that really had me going (as in, literally in tears) was Andy Richter, not because he mixes scatological and racial humor (he’s not alone), nor because he’s telling the joke to a tiny child (he's not even the only one to do that), but because the tiny child is dressed in a Santa suit. That really clinched it for me. Parker and Stone's South Park bit was good (interestingly, it's completely different from the version of the joke Parker performs solo in the Troma movie Tales From the Crapper). The card player guy and the mime were good (the audience didn’t agree; the theater was in absolute dead silence for the entirety of the mime’s routine, very awkward), and I liked Wendy Liebman and Sarah Silverman’s spins (and one of the only good bits of editing involved bringing Joe Franklin in during the closing credits - you know what I mean).

Actually, I sort of wish there were some more ‘avant-garde’ variations on the joke; I’d have really liked to see someone perform the piece as a dead-serious, straight-faced early Clive Barker-style body horror short, just working overtime to obliterate any trace of humor from the damn thing, scorching the fucking earth. Silverman sort of teased around with that, forcing her performance into creepy territory, kind of embracing the evil heart of the joke. I mean, if you’re selling the film on how wild it is, then why not, huh?

So yeah, some of it was pretty funny, but it was irritating in almost equal measure. I could just smell the wasted potential wafting up off of this one. I don’t know; I thought Freddy Got Fingered was hilarious, so maybe my sense of humor is simply broken.