"So, whaddya call your act?"
I went to bed on Saturday night with this refrain ringing in my head. Each time I rose slightly, the loop reappeared: "So, whaddya call your act?"
The answer was, inevitably, "The Aristocrats." It's the punchline of one of the most notorious jokes in comedy history. It's also the title of a documentary about this joke, and I have been waiting for several months for the best time and place to take in the lewd and politically incorrect spectacle that is "The Aristocrats."
Well, it just so happens that one of the moms who came along for our big family in the snow vacation brought the DVD with her. She brought it because she heard "that it was interesting." I asked her if she knew just how interesting it was, knowing full well that this was a woman who - while being very nice - is wound just a little tight. I had read quite a bit about the film, and had heard and seen clips on the Internet, so I had an idea about what we had in store for our evening's entertainment. I wish that I would have remembered David Ansen's review from Newsweek, in which he states: "The cumulative effect is oddly uplifting: it may be (and feel free to quote me) the first feel-good movie made out of fecal matter."
To be honest, if it stopped at fecal matter, it might not have been such a massive potential for uproar. There's incest, there are bizarre physical manipulations, there are animals involved - this is not a family film.
We waited until past ten o'clock to start the show, since all the boys (aged six to twelve) were late getting to bed. Then the parents turned on the DVD player. There was a twenty minute period when there was only a couple of us laughing. Little by little, resistance was worn down, and soon there was a room full of parents snorting and guffawing at some of the raunchiest bits of stand-up comedy that has ever been assembled in one tidy package. To be fair, we lost a couple - one dad was "just too tired" and another mom who couldn't "understand what all the fuss was about." But when it was over, those of us who stayed were wiping the tears from our eyes and holding our sides. We had laughed ourselves silly. The mom who brought it was embarrassed, but proud for her choice. The problem was, we all agreed, what could she possibly bring next year to top "The Aristocrats?"