The Aristocrats is a joke which, it seems, every comedian has their own version of.
It begins with a talent agent, in his office, and in come a family. Usually they are depicted as a traditional, all American family; blonde hair, blue eyes, Mother, Father, Son, Daughter and, in some comedians’ case, a Dog.
They then proceed to perform various sexual acts on each other, including the dog. This lasts for as long as the comedian wants to, going to disgusting levels, the more disgusting and drawn out the better.
At the end, which can be over ten minutes later in some cases, the family stands up and takes a bow. The talent director asks them;
‘That’s an interesting act. What do you call it?’
To which they reply:
In some versions of the joke, this is exchanged for ‘The Sophisticates’, but the joke remains the same,
Every comedian knows this joke, and many have their own version of it, although few tell it, even if they are offensive comedians. Many will decline when asked to recite their version of the joke.
The purpose of the joke is, firstly, to disgust. If you can make your audience groan or wretch or feel nauseous, you’re telling the joke right.
Secondly, it’s a comment on Society and Aristocracy, but people tend to forget that this the actual purpose of the joke.
Long, drawn out jokes such as this are not uncommon, but this is among the most famous.