Comedy veterans and co-creators Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza capitalize on their insider status and invite over 100 of their closest friends – who happen to be some of the biggest names in entertainment, to reminisce, analyze, deconstruct and deliver their own versions of the world’s dirtiest joke, an old burlesque too extreme to be performed in public, called The Aristocrats.
One hundred superstar comedians tell the same very, VERY dirty, filthy joke – one shared privately by comics since Vaudeville.
The Aristocrats is a longstanding transgressive joke amongst comedians, in which the setup and punchline are almost always the same (or similar). It is the joke’s midsection – which may be as long as the teller prefers and is often completely improvised – that makes or breaks a particular rendition.
The joke involves a person pitching an act to a talent agent. Typically the first line is, “A man walks into a talent agent’s office.” The man then describes the act. From this point, up to (but not including) the punchline, the teller of the joke is expected to ad-lib the most shocking act they can possibly imagine.
The joke ends with the agent, shocked and often impressed, asking “And what do you call the act?” The punchline of the joke is then given: “The Aristocrats”.