Sunday, September 18, 2005

Son of a bitch

It seems like I just got over a cold not that long ago. Last night as I lay in bed trying to sleep the sniffles turned into a full fledged head cold. I must have fell asleep about 4 am. The pisser is I had to work at nine. That didn't happen. I felt bad bailing on a Saturday but at least there were two other people working. If it had been the shift where their was one other person I would have made it in about a half hour late and been worthless and miserable all day so I guess it's good it happened this weekend. Again tonight, I'm up. I tried to sleep a while ago. Didn't work.

Last night I went to see the Aristocrats with a friend. I loved it. No, not because it was foul but because it was a great look at the minds of comedians. In case you don't know the movie is a documentary about a joke that has been in circulation among comedians for a long time. It's a joke about a man who goes to a talent scout describing a vaudevile-style family act. The goal of the joke teller is to improvise an act that is as creatively foul as possible. The name of the act is the punchine of the joke and the name of the film.

I guess it's pretty obvious that a joke like the Aristocrats that has a wide open middle with a mediocre punchline would allow each comedian to put a personal stamp on it. But to see this in action and to listen to people like George Carlin talk about the nature of making people laugh was a great experience. My favorite telling of the joke was by Tommy Smothers. He tells the joke to Dick Smothers who was unfamiliar with it yet played his straight man role to perfection. The interplay between those two is astounding.

One comedian mentioned hearing it first from Bill Hicks. I'd like to have heard Bill's version of that joke.

One observation: some versions of the joke were disgusting yet hilarious (Carlin, Gottgried, Stephen Wright). A couple were just plain disgusting with little humor. (Bob Saget). Carlin made me wince and laugh. Saget just made me wince.

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