I rented The Aristocrats the other day. This was the documentary (for lack of a better description) by Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette in which numerous comedians and comedy writers were asked about a particular joke, called “The Aristocrats.” As Jon Stewart says in the movie, I’m not going to tell the joke. Suffice it to say that it is the sickest joke ever told. I mean it. Don’t believe me? Rent the movie! Each comedian starts with the same beginning, and the same punchline. But the middle is a blank canvas for each performer to work with as he or she sees fit.
I can honestly say I have never laughed so hard at a movie in my life. I watched it with a friend, and we had to pause it twice to calm down before moving on. If you want to see comedians discussing their craft, and if you’re not easily offended, I urge you to pick up a copy immediately.
The DVD has a number of extras, one of them being a collection of other, more tasteful, jokes told by the comedians. There was one in particular that I liked, told by comic magician The Amazing Jonathan. Here it is:
The other day I was walking down the street and saw a man with a perfectly round, bright orange head. I asked him how he had come to look the way he did.
He shook his head sadly. “Well,” he said, “there’s a story in that. One day I was walking on an island and I saw a lamp lying in the sand. I rubbed it and a genie came out. He said he would grant me three wishes.
My first wish was to receive a million dollars, and in the blink of an eye I was surrounded by piles of money. Then I wished for a beautiful wife who would love me forever, and that came true as well.
Then for my third wish, and this is where I think I went terribly wrong, I wished for a perfectly round, bright orange head.”