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Encyclopedia > The Aristocrats (joke)

The Aristocrats (also known as The Debonaires or The Sophisticates in some tellings) is an exceptionally transgressive dirty joke that has been told by numerous stand-up comedians since the vaudeville era. Steven Wright has likened it to a secret handshake among comedians, and it is seen as something of a game in which those who tell it try to top each other in terms of shock value. It is rarely told the same way twice, often improvised, and was the subject of a 2005 documentary film of the same name. It is thought of as a badge of honour among expert comedians and is notoriously hard to perform successfully. Throughout its long history, it has evolved from a clichéd staple of vaudevillian humor into a postmodern anti-joke. This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Vaudeville is a style of multi-act theatre which flourished in North America from the 1880s through the 1920s. ... f u ... A secret handshake is a series of hand gestures that indicate loyalty to a club, clique, or subculture. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... The Aristocrats is a 2005 documentary film about the infamous dirty joke of the same name. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Vaudeville is a style of theater, also known as variety, which flourished in North America from the 1880s through the 1920s. ... Postmodernity (also called post-modernity or the postmodern condition) is a term used by philosophers, social scientists, art critics and social critics to refer to aspects of contemporary art, culture, economics and social conditions that are the result of the unique features of late 20th century and early 21st century... Anti-jokes subvert audience/reader/listener expectations of well-worn punchlines. ...

Contents

The joke

Three parts

This joke almost always has these elements — alternative versions may change this form, but such versions tend to assume that the audience is already familiar with the joke:

  1. The setup: The joke always begins with a "family act" going in to see a talent agent.
    • Those who meet the agent can include the whole family, or just one family member (usually the father).
    • The agent asks (sometimes after saying that he's not interested, and a plea from the father) what they do.
    • If the whole family is present, the act may be performed for the agent, rather than described.
    • There is also the possibility of a neutral observer telling the tale of seeing the performance to the talent agent.
  2. The act: It is described in as much detail as the teller prefers.
  3. The punch line: The shocked (or intrigued) agent asks what the act is called, and the proud answer (sometimes delivered with a flourish) is "The Aristocrats!"
    • The punchline may be modified in some variants, but generally such variants are told only in a context where the original joke is known.
    • Because the sense of what an aristocrat is has faded in many countries, the final line may simply be seen as the end of a rather bawdy joke rather than a punchline. In some regions the name of the act is "The Sophisticates" or "The Debonaires".

Agency is an area of Commercial law dealing with a contractual or quasi-contractual tripartite set of relationships when an Agent is authorised to act on behalf of another (called the Principal) to create a legal relationship with a Third Party. ... See AdLib for the computer sound card manufacturer. ... Ribaldry is the third and somewhat neglected genre of sexual entertainments, something different from either pornography or erotica, yet is often confused with them. ... It has been suggested that Office etiquette be merged into this article or section. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Pedophilia, paedophilia or pædophilia (see spelling differences) is the paraphilia of being sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to prepubescent or peripubescent children. ... In medicine and biology, scatology or coprology is the study of feces. ... Look up Bestiality in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A punch line is the final part of a joke, usually the word, sentence or exchange of sentences which is intended to be funny and to provoke laughter from listeners. ... The Ancient Greek term aristocracy originally meant a system of government with rule by the best. The word is derived from two words, aristos meaning the best and kratein to rule. Aristocracies have most often been hereditary plutocracies (see below), where a sense of historical gravitas and noblesse oblige demands...

An example

This version of the joke is fairly short, and simply demonstrates the form. Actual performances of the joke can last minutes, and rumors cited in the film suggest that Chevy Chase used to hold parties at which the goal was to tell the joke for half an hour (without repeating any of the acts contained in its performance). Chevy Chase (born Cornelius Crane Chase on October 8, 1943) is an Emmy Award-winning American comedian, writer, and television and film actor. ...

A man walks into a talent agent's office, and says, "We're a family act, and we'd like you to represent us."
The agent says, "Sorry, I don't represent family acts. They're a little too old-fashioned."
The man says, "But this is really special."
The agent says, "Okay, well what's the act?"
He replies, "Well, my wife and I come out on stage and she begins to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" while I take her roughly from behind. After a minute of this, my kids come out and begin to do the same, but my daughter's singing the original "To Anacreon in Heaven" lyrics while my son performs anal sex on her."
The agent looks uncomfortable, but the man continues, "Just when my daughter hits the highest note in the song, my son and I switch partners. He turns my wife around and gives her a dirty Sanchez before having her perform oral sex on him. When the song's over and we're both getting close, we all stop and lie down on the stage."
The man smiles fondly as he recalls, "This is the best part: our dog then comes out on the stage, and he's trained to lick each one of us to orgasm in turn. He just goes right down the line, looking as happy as can be! We all get up and take a bow."
He looks at the agent and says, "Well, that's the act. What do you think?"
The agent just sits in silence for a long time. Finally, he manages, "That's a hell of an act. What do you call yourselves?"
"The Aristocrats!"

Nicholson took the copy Key gave him to a printer, where it was published as a broadside on September 17 under the title The Defence of Fort McHenry, with an explanatory note explaining the circumstances of its writing. ... The Anacreontic Song was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, a club of amateur musicians in London who gathered regularly to perform concerts. ... Roman men having anal sex. ... Dirty Sanchez (also called the filthy Sanchez) is a term used to describe the sexual practice of smearing fecal matter under the nose of the receptive partner in the form of a mustache during anal sex. ... Oral sex consists of all sexual activities that involve the use of the mouth, which may include use of the tongue, teeth, and throat, to stimulate genitalia or another body part for sexual pleasure. ...

History in print

'He has a very nice face and style, really,' said Mrs Kenwigs.
'He certainly has,' added Miss Petowker. 'There's something in his appearance quite - dear, dear, what's that word again?'
'What word?' inquired Mr. Lillyvick.
'Why - dear me, how stupid I am,' replied Miss Petowker, hesitating. 'What do you call it when Lords break off door-knockers and beat policemen, and play at coaches with other people's money, and all that sort of thing?'
'Aristocratic?' suggested the collector. Dickens redirects here. ... The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, (or Nicholas Nickleby for short) is a comic novel of Charles Dickens. ... 1839 (MDCCCXXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Look up juxtaposition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

  • The Aristocrats appears on page 987 of Gershon Legman's Rationale of the Dirty Joke, Vol. 2, published in 1975 [1]. Legman retells the joke, complete with its traditional vaudevillian flourishes, though he does not attribute the joke to vaudeville roots. Instead, Legman learned the joke from a young man who grew up in a broken home.
  • In a 2005 interview, UK comic Barry Cryer claims to have heard the joke "fifty years ago."[2]

Gershon Legman (November 2, 1917 – February 23, 1999), American folklorist and social critic, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania to parents of Eastern or Central European Jewish descent. ... Barry Cryer (born March 23, 1935 in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK) is a writer and comedian. ...

2005 film

A film called The Aristocrats premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Co-produced by Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza, directed by Provenza and edited by Emery Emery, the film is based on hours of digital video taken over several years, featuring comedians talking about and telling their versions of the joke. Because The Aristocrats was Johnny Carson's favorite joke, the film is dedicated to his memory. The Aristocrats is a 2005 documentary film about the infamous dirty joke of the same name. ... This is a list of film-related events in 2005. ... The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival in the United States, and ranks alongside the Cannes, France, Venice, Italy, Berlin, Germany, and Toronto, Canada festivals as one of the most prestigious in the world. ... Penn Fraser Jillette (born March 5, 1955 in Greenfield, Massachusetts) is an American illusionist, juggler and comedian known for his work with fellow illusionist Teller in the team known as Penn & Teller. ... Paul Provenza (born July 31, 1957 in New York City) is an actor, comedian and filmmaker. ... Digital video is a type of video recording system that works by using a digital, rather than analog, representation of the video signal. ... For other people named John Carson, see John Carson (disambiguation). ...


Variations

Every telling of the joke is, by definition, a variation because of its ad-lib nature. However, there are certain common variations:

  • Audition - The act is not described to the agent, but performed, often involving the agent in the depravity of the act.
  • Auto-biographical - The story is told in the first person, with the teller either being the agent or a member of the act.
  • Meta-joke - The joke is told as a part of a larger story about a telling of the joke.
  • Reversal - The family act is a typical act, but the name is shocking.

Many of these forms rely on the assumption that the audience is familiar with the format of the standard version of the joke. Several of these forms appeared in the film. Meta-joke may refer to three somewhat different, but related categories: self-referring jokes, jokes about jokes (see meta-) also known as metahumor, and joke templates. // Self-referential jokes This kind of meta-joke is a joke in which the joke itself, or, rather, a certain category of joke, is...


Notes

  1. ^ Legman, Gershon (1999). "The Aristocrats" from Rationale Of The Dirty Joke, An Analysis Of Sexual Humor Series Two: No Laughing Matter. Archived from the original on 2005-12-24. Retrieved on 2007-03-26.
  2. ^ Logan, Brian. "The verdict", The Guardian, 2005-09-02. Retrieved on 2007-03-26.

Gershon Legman (November 2, 1917 – February 23, 1999), American folklorist and social critic, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania to parents of Eastern or Central European Jewish descent. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... December 24 is the 358th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (359th in leap years). ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the Anno Domini (common) era. ... March 26 is the 85th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (86th in leap years). ... The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... September 2 is the 245th day of the year (246th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the Anno Domini (common) era. ... March 26 is the 85th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (86th in leap years). ...

See also

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

External links and sources

  • The Aristocrats Joke Database

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Aristocrats (joke) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1166 words)
The Aristocrats (also known as The Debonaires and The Sophisticates in some tellings) is a joke alleged to have been told by numerous stand-up comedians since the vaudeville era.
Because the sense of what an aristocrat is has faded in many countries, the final line may simply be seen as the end of a rather bawdy joke rather than a punchline.
Actual performances of the joke can last minutes, and it is rumored that Chevy Chase used to hold parties at which the goal was to tell the joke for half an hour.
The Aristocrats' funny, dirty joke. By Jim Lewis (947 words)
The joke goes like this—and don't worry, I'm not ruining anything, because there's nothing, really, to ruin: A family of four and their pet dog go into a talent scout's office.
This is the heart of the joke, and it can go on for 30 minutes or more: It's usually compared to a jazz improvisation, though a better analogy is the dozens.
The joke is perfect because the joke sucks—in fact, it's nonexistent.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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