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The Aristokatz (2005) is a full length feature film in which borscht belt comedians get to together for a telling and retelling of the most offensive Jewish joke in the history of mankind. Why tell it so many times? So you should never forget that’s why.
The Aristokatz is narrated by Barbara Walters, who is also the first person to tell the joke, and does so in a "blue" fashion. Lanie Kazan steals the movie with her ribald telling of the same tale, in which something removed from one of the people in the joke finds its way into the noodle kugen. Mollie Pecan, Woody Allen and Pope Benedict I also tell the story, with Pecan's version peppered with enough vulgarities to earn the film an NC-17 rating from the MPAA. Just prior to the production of the final edit the Producers came across an old film with Katherine Hepburn telling the joke in Yiddish. "Who knew?" proclaimed producer Mel Gibson. The title song Mammy's Little Baby Got Lots of Matzah, Mammy's Little Baby Got Matzah Balls is sung by Kate Smith from a 1939 recording.
"This joke is always suppossed to be the same, no matter who tells it. It doesn't alwayts go like it should, but what does anyone know about being funny. What I should mess with tradition and get the world mad at me? Feh!" ~ Barbara Walters.
The setup: The joke always begins with a Jewish "family act" going in to see a talent agent.
- Those who meet the agent can include the whole family, Pappa, Mamma, Bernard (their son), Deborah (their little Princess); Uncle Sol and Aunt Gert; cousin Joyce, cousin Mark and cousin Brian; Grandpa Max and Bubbie.
- The agent always has to ask “What? What can you do that I haven’t seen before?”
The act: The act is always told in loose detail – if you leave anything out and you should get it wrong you’ll look like the putz that you are.
- Tradition requires that the joke involve the whole family; God forbid that anyone should be left out and go around telling people how selfish the teller is.
- Of course if you’re clever you can make things up, but not too wild. People talk if its too wild.
- It should be as far beyond the boundaries of propriety as the comedian can muster. Foreskin, bacon, watching TV on Friday nights instead of going to temple, a man marrying a non-Jewish woman, sleeping with your wife before she has a chance to visit the mikvah and Mah Jong.
The punchline: The agent asks what this act is called, and the answer is always the same: "The Aristokatz!"
edit A clean example
What follows is an abridged format because why should the teller give the audience the joke for free? If they get the Joke for Free, who’se going to show up at the Nevele for the 7:30 or 10pm shows and pay for something that that they can here, for free!
- A family walks into a talent agency. It's a father, mother, son, daughter, three cousins, the man’s mother and father-in-law and his wife’s no good brother Hyman the accordion player; because it’ll make a mess at home, they also bring the family’s pet hog.
- The father says to the talent agent, "We have a really amazing act. You should be so lucky to represent us."
- The agent says, "Sorry, I don't represent Jewish family acts. They make the audiences feel too guilty."
- The mother says, "What did I tell you Morris, gentiles don’t humor. One of them passes flatus and the whole room cracks up. If they were eating my cooking, they wouldn’t get gassy like that."
- The agent says, "If it’ll get you out of the office I’ll do anything. Let’s get this over with."
- The father, starts the act by introducing everyone to the agent. "This is my mother-in-law and father-in-law, my daughter, my son, my wife's sister and her husband, and there will be a special guest appearance by Meyer Gelman."
- As the family steps back, and the lights dim, Morris comes in on one and Calls the family to come together. He places Uncle Sol and Aunt Gert’s son newborn son Mark on the table, undoes his diaper. He then runs to the office door and calls out for Meyer Gelman to come into the room. Gelman is a mohel and he is here to circumcise the seven day old infant. Behind them Yeshiva Mens Chorus of New Rochelle begin humming tradional songs celebrating the cutting of the penis as a covenant with the Medical Community.
- Aunt Gert calls for her son Michael (such a nice boy) and asks what he’s doing. The boy replies “I’m over here taking a picture of the Brisket." “Michael," she screams "get over here with the camera and take a picture of Mark’s bris, not Aunt Sarah’s main dish."
- Gelman takes the infants penis into his hands, says a quick prayer and effortlessly removes the foreskin. Over the screams of the child, the family congratulates one and other.
- Meanwhile the father pops out a cardtable and lets Bubbie set it for dinner. The mother places a shittle over her head, lights the candles and then reaches into her bag and brings out a brisket, some beets and a little noodle kogen. She invites everyone to the table including the agent.
- The grandmother, Bubbie, cries out "Oy I'm so very thirsty."
- Finding that she doesn’t have enough food to serve the family and the Agent, Sylvia calls her nephew Neil over to the side and tells him that when she announces whats for dinner that he’s to say that he doesn’t like her brisket.
- With everyone around the table, the wife starts to serve the Brisket and when she gets to her nephew he says that he doesn’t like her brisket – his mother is appalled that her child doesn’t like her sisters cooking tells him if he can’t be a little gentleman then doesn’t need to eat and sends him hungry to wait in the reception room. There is now enough food for everyone.
- At dinner, the mother begins to quiz the agent about his home life and he states that he isn’t married. She attempts to play Yenta and set him up with her second cousin Muriel, but the agent protests. "Why, whats wrong with you finding a nice girl?” asks the mother. When the agent says he’s gay, the grandfather messes with his hearing aid and asks “WHAT DID HE SAY?” “Pop, he’s a fehgela," replies the mother. "He sleeps with other men.” Without missing a beat she turns back to the agent and asks if he would like to meet her other nephew Sheldon, who has a successful Ears Nose and Throat practice in Great Neck.
- The grandmother, Bubbie, again cries out "Oy, I'm so very thirsty."
- The father protests “Sylvia will you give the fehgela a some piece and quite? Why are you always getting invovled in the lives of strangers? Pass the koogen to daddy, will you Princess?” The daughter embarrassed about another dust up at the table roles her eyes and fidgets because she is missing out on valuable time at the mall.
- Uncle Sol, a urologist, who’s been quite, smiles at the agent and asks if he’s feeling well. “You look peckish, do you need an enema? Maybe some chopped liver instead. Did you bring the chopped liver I made,” he asks his nephew Bernard. “Bubbie ate it all in the car coming over.” The old lady belches.
- "Sylvia," Aunt Gert says, "did you get the brisket at the Market or the butcher."
- "The butcher, I think the schvartza had his finger on the scale. Its good, though, no?" Everyone agrees that the food is wonderful.
- The grandmother, Bubbie, cries out "Oy, I'm so very thirsty." "Deborah, get Bubbie some water, NOW!" screams her mother. Deborah exits the room and returns with two paper cups from hallway water cooler and hands them to Bubbie who accepts them and chugs down the contents as if she had been in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.
- Aunt Gert quites the table down and announces that her eldest son Myron has picked a theme for his Bar Mitzvah: Madonna. "And I've hired an impersonator to attend dressed like Madonna and lip synch a couple numbers. He was very resonable and he promises that no one will now its a man playing Madonna." The family raises a glass of Mogan David to Myron for finally coming to a decision on the theme.
- The grandmother, Bubbie, looks heavenward cries out "Oy! I was so very thirsty."
- Aunt Gert reaches down between her legs and brings up her purse which is on the floor. "OY, I almost forgot, everbody get your change purses out and contribute a quarter for Hebrew Settlements. Each quarter buys a brick." She turns to the agent, "You too Mister twenty percent off the gross." Everyone at the table deposits a quarter through a slot in the lid of the the plastic container.
- When dinner is finally over, the agent who is now swollen with hi-sodium food says “this was wonderful. The act stinks, but the food was really wonderful. We should do this again. So what’s the name of this act?”
- Uncle Sol begins to slap the table top in a mock drum role, when he finishes Sylvia bags the two covered dish lids together and the Father says, "The Aristokatz!"
edit Public release
The Aristokatz was released in Great Neck New York at Temple Emmanuel to rave reviews. Columnist Jeffery Caborn wrote in the New York Daily News "I missed Survivor for this?"
edit Legal Entanglements
In November 2005 Courtney Love sued the Studio releasing The Aristokatz claiming that it was based on her 1999 Christmas Carol Jew better not pout a remake of the classic Santa Klaus ist Komming Berlin, Ibben Genechkt.