For someone who makes his living on free expression, Stephen Hunter does not seem to have much in the way of tolerance for the free expression of others when it happens to offend him [" 'Aristocrats': A Dirty Joke That's All Laughed Out," Style, Aug. 12].

Of Bob Saget's appearance in "The Aristocrats," Hunter writes: "God, lock him up. If you see him talking to one of your kids on the playground, it's .357 magnum time. No jury would convict you, a thankful nation would congratulate you, your success with the opposite sex would go way up, and you'd get a shot on Leno."

If Hunter is repulsed by Saget and by the film -- and clearly, he was and is -- that is certainly his right. It's also his responsibility as a critic to warn readers that he found the film repulsive.

However, joking (at least I hope he's joking) about the incarceration and/or murder of a performer because of his performance in a film is far beyond the pale. Having seen the film, I know this review was more shocking and less funny than anything "The Aristocrats" has to offer.

-- Jacob Kramer-Duffield



Stephen Hunter's sweeping generalization that suggests comedians hate their audiences is laughable [" 'Aristocrats' Reveals Stand-Up's Underbelly," Style, Aug. 20].

I don't take issue with what anyone thinks is funny or not funny; the movie acknowledges explicitly that any opinion is valid in that regard. But rather than criticize what he did or didn't like, Hunter described a world of his own imagining.

He maligned artists who put aside their public images, audience expectations and the safety of a typical comedy context to engage in a creative exercise. They did so with enthusiasm and without fear of how they might be judged by anyone -- let alone by someone projecting his own twisted ideas of what they are like as people and professionals.

-- Paul Provenza

Los Angeles

The writer is director and co-creator of "The Aristocrats."


Stephen Hunter mistook love for hate. It's hard to be more wrong than that.

He hurt us and publicly insulted people we love. Those of us involved in the movie were just trying to make people laugh. We may have failed to amuse your reviewer, but "hate" doesn't enter into it.

It's okay if he hated our movie, but it's not okay to pretend it hated him back.

-- Penn Jillette

Las Vegas

The writer is co-creator of "The Aristocrats."