Bravo to Penn Jillette

Famous magician Penn Jillette displays a lot more sense discussing free speech than he does naming his daughter (not that I’m one to say anything about that). After AMC theaters declined to show The Aristocrats, a new movie he co-produced that features 100 comedians telling their versions of the same filthy joke, the film’s distributor said the decision is a blow to free speech. Penn, true to his libertarian roots, takes it all in stride:

“At least it’s showing that words have power, and we haven’t had that statement made in a while–and the fact that it’s being made by a goofy, stupid person doesn’t make it any less uplifting,” said the speaking half of comedy team Penn & Teller.

Jillette was referring to AMC Film Group Chairman Dick Walsh, who, with other executives, decided to reject the film…

Jillette added that although AMC’s decision could cost him money and viewers, he doesn’t want to play the victim.

“One thing I really hate is people like Michael Moore and Mel Gibson, who are the exact same person with 1,000 sit-ups’ difference,” Jillette said. “They try to make themselves into a martyr no matter how much money they’re making. We are not martyrs on this.

“For us to make any sort of statement that our artistic expression is being trounced would be self-serving, unpleasant and not true.”

The movie will be playing in other chains and independent houses. More info, a trailer, and show times are available at the The Aristocrats website. For the D.C. crowd, it’s showing at the Loews in Georgetown and the Landmark on E St. on August 12; for Virginians, it’s in Fairfax’s Cinema Arts Center on the 19th; and for the Marylandians, at the Landmark on Bethesda Row, also on the 19th.

[Link via MagiCentric.]