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Wednesday, April 12, 2006


My humor always tends toward the unseemly, but it's become even unseemlier (that can't be a word) since viewing three pieces over the weekend.

They are: "The Aristocrats," "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigilo" and a Lisa Lampinelli comedy special.

(Yes, I've even lost respect for MYSELF now that I've watched a Rob Schneider movie all the way through.)

I was disappointed in "The Aristocrats" as a movie. After all of the hype, I was expecting too much from this documentary in which comedians dissect an unspeakably vulgar joke they've been telling each other for decades as a way of letting off steam. First of all, "The Aristocrats" was shot on video. My unshakable maxim is this: Film Equals Movie, Video Equals TV Special. Also, "The Aristocrats" is, by definition, a one-note piece. It keeps going in a big circle, with comedian after comedian saying virtually the same thing. BUT -- it was an edifying peek into the secret world inhabited by comedians. AND -- all of that vulgarity really has a cumulative effect. I believe "The Aristocrats" is a line in the sand; if you can't make it through this frequently disgusting film, your moral compass may not be in sync with that of the real world.

The other two pieces -- Schneider's film and Lampanelli's special -- likewise push the taste envelope to new limits. Noel Coward it ain't, but Schneider's film made me laugh a lot. Lampanelli calls herself the "Queen of Mean," but I see her as a uniter, not a divider. She walks an EXTREMELY fine line by trashing everyone in the audience right to their faces, but keeping them laughing the whole time.

My favorite TV show is "Leave it to Beaver," in which the most horrible names people call each other are "rat," "fink" and "creep." Those days are long gone, but I can still appreciate both Beaver Cleaver and Lisa Lampanelli. The world will be an even scarier place once the Cleavers can no longer cut it in the laughs department.


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