“The Aristocrats” is a movie I should have seen when it came out. Not because I could have used any of the filthy, vulgar, soul-crushing versions of the joke, but because it had a truly emotional impact on me. I will make a few more comments about the movie, and the joke itself, over on my my website about the business of being funny, www.dyingiseasycomedyishard.com; for now, this is just about being alive.
One of the comedians was discussing the telling of the joke itself. If you’re not familiar, it’s a dirty joke about a family trying to break into show business, and who are willing to do anything to make it onto a stage. The joke teller can customise the joke with any vulgarity to which they are particular. That is one of the charms of telling this joke.
This one comedian observed that it is a joke about the human condition, and how sad and desperate one might become in chasing their dream. What begins as a high calling, to perform and entertain, instead reduces the family to act out the most base and vile human necessities, and degrades themselves by violating the norms of society before a talent agent (a judge) in the hope of being deemed worthy.
I can relate. I have fancied dreams of success as a writer since I was in my teens, and have submitted dozens of manuscripts to hundreds of agents in the hope of being deemed worthy. It is a compulsion to feed my vanity that I might one day be noticed, admired, and regarded as an entertainer. No matter how many rejections I have received, I return to my desk and create again, and submit again, and hope, again, that this time I might succeed.
At some point, we all must face an inner demon and decide just how badly we want something. Are we willing to risk our family, friends, and life itself to achieve that goal?
The most fortunate among us have found their way to what is, ultimately, their life calling, and never have to face that inner demon. That inner demon is the echo of the voice of the people in our life that gave us direction and set us on our path. Your challenge is to decide if those people knew you better than you do. Given the choice, who do you trust?