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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Various Artists
The Aristocrats Original Soundtrack
V2

Rating: 6/10 ?


May 10, 2006
"92 comedians, 1 joke, unspeakable obscenity" reads the tagline for The Aristocrats, a film about the dirtiest joke ever told. Director Paul Provenza assembled one hundred well-known comedians to put their personal spin on a joke that has been around since the days of vaudeville, and the result is a fascinating documentary about comedy, comedians and the innumerable ways in which a joke can be told.

I know all of this without ever having seen The Aristocrats. The soundtrack to the film provides 44 tracks of sound bytes (and one bonus silent track cleverly named "Billy The Mime") from comedians featured in the film; it's enough material to give you a pretty good impression of the documentary. "When you hear someone tell The Aristocrats, very clearly it's the singer, not the song" notes Penn Jillette of duo Penn & Teller, and he couldn't be more right. Each comedian tells the joke in his/her own unique way, revealing a great deal about that person's sense of humor. Sometimes comedians talk about the joke itself, sometimes they talk about all the ways they've told it, and sometimes they just tell it. Paternal favorite George Carlin waxes poetic about The Aristocrats: "I do like finding out where the line is drawn, deliberately crossing it, bringing some of them with me across the line and having them be happy that I did." Bob Saget lives up to his foul-mouthed reputation by telling the dirtiest version of the joke on the CD hands down (in two parts), while Larry Storch tries to offer the cleanest version ever told. Other comedians don't even bother to tell the joke, rather they play on the humor surrounding it: Richard Jeni makes a joke out of not being able to remember how the joke works, continually blowing the punchline, and Pat Cooper makes a joke out of telling jokes: "I don't like jokes, I don't tell jokes. I can't stand when somebody comes over and says 'did you hear the one about...did you hear the one about.'" There are even a few song versions (one of which is the theme to Lewis Black's proposed TV show), but these feel clunky and out of place surrounded by so much natural comedic talent.

For all the repeated enjoyment The Aristocrats Original Soundtrack offers, there's really no reason to buy this version instead of the movie. The disc is almost as long as the film, just without facial expressions or gestures. Now especially that the DVD is available, I can't think of why you'd bother with the soundtrack when you can have the full experience in big-screen high-definition glory with Dolby 5.1. Unless you are one of those books-on-tape types.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown

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