Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

The best thing about this documentary on the so-called dirtiest joke of all time is comparing the comedians who perform it. Each one seems to deliver the punchline in their own definitive style: Paul Reiser is conversational. Andy Dick is overenthusiastic. Steven Wright is meticulously articulate. George Carlin is gleeful about it, relishing the act of joke-telling. Drew Carey underlines his with a Broadway-esque pose. Richard Jeni is self-deprecating. Billy Connolly tells it like your funniest chum down at the pub. Emo Phillps falls back on his whiny, broken-voiced persona. Gilbert Gottfried just plain shouts it. As these accomplished comedians and countless more dissect The Joke, it's possible to gain a deeper appreciation of their style and of professional comedy in general. But it's also possible to get really, really tired of hearing it, which is why I can't quite recommend this. It's interesting and frequently laugh-inducing while it lasts, but you'll be drained by the time Tim Conway starts mugging for the camera over the closing credits.

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