Rupert Pupkin is obsessed with becoming a comedy great. However, when he confronts his idol, talk show host Jerry Langford, with a plea to perform on the Jerry's show, he is only given the run-around. He does not give up, however, but persists in stalking Jerry until he gets what he wants. Eventually he must team up with his psychotic Langford-obsessed friend Masha to kidnap the talk show host in hopes of finally getting to perform his stand-up routine. Written by
Andrew Hyatt <email@example.com>
In his monologue on the Jerry Langford show, De Niro's character Rupert Pupkin says that he is from Clifton, New Jersey. This is possibly an allusion to Andy Kaufman's abusive comedian persona, Tony Clifton, whom Pupkin resembles with similar hair, mustache and cheap blue suits. See more »
When Rupert and Rita are in the bar, the level of beer in Rupert's glass varies about half an inch between shots. See more »
And now, from New York, The Jerry Langford Show! With Jerry's guests Tony Randall, Richard Dreyfuss, Rodney Dangerfield, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lou Brown and the orchestra, and little old me Ed Herlihy. And now say hello to Jerry!
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Travis Bickle from "Taxi Driver" and Rupert Pupkin from "The King of Comedy" are not as unlike as they may first appear. They are men desperately searching for some meaning in their spiritually empty lives, neither man connecting with anyone else; the consequent strain has driven each to his own brand of insanity. Both can be likened to Lee Harvey Oswald-men leading lives of quiet desperation, wanting to do something-ANYTHING-to have SOME impact on the world.
Pupkin is further removed from reality than Bickle (actually Bickle's attitudes about his environment aren't entirely unreasonable) and it's unlikely he could ever be "normal", no matter how much therapy he had. He's lost in his own little world, a world devoid of any real substance. To him, Heaven would be a place where he would exist solely on TV. Real life is too messy.
"The King of Comedy" is the best satire I've seen about the vapidness of society's values and the public's obsession with celebrity. It has its share of funny moments but the overall effect is deadening. Even though things went about as well as Pupkin could have expected in the end, what has he gained? Nothing of any value, though in his delusional mind, he probably would disagree. Ah, Pupkin! Ah, humanity!
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