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The King of Comedy (1982)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  18 December 1982 (Iceland)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 47,398 users  
Reviews: 216 user | 82 critic

Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin wants to achieve success in show biz by stalking his idol, a late night talk-show host who craves his own privacy.


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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Herlihy ...
Ed Herlihy
Lou Brown ...
Band Leader
Loretta Tupper ...
Stage Door Fan
Peter Potulski ...
Stage Door Fan
Vinnie Gonzales ...
Stage Door Fan
Whitey Ryan ...
Stage Door Guard
Doc Lawless ...
Marta Heflin ...
Young Girl
Katherine Wallach ...
Autograph Seeker
Charles Kaleina ...
Autograph Seeker
Richard Baratz ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's no laughing matter. See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 December 1982 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

King of Comedy  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)


$2,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Frederick De Cordova, who plays talk-show director Bert Thomas, was Executive Producer of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) from 1971 to 1992. See more »


When Rupert gives Rita the flower in the bar, the position of her arms changes between shots as she accepts the flower. See more »


[first lines]
Ed Herlihy: 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!
See more »


References Death Hunt (1981) See more »


Rainbow Sleeves
Written by Rickie Lee Jones
Performed by Rickie Lee Jones
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Scorsese and De Niro's underrated black comedy masterpiece.
21 April 2003 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

'The King Of Comedy' is easily Martin Scorsese's most underrated and misunderstood movie. Scorsese and Robert De Niro's previous collaboration was the brilliant boxing biopic 'Raging Bull', generally regarded by most people as a masterpiece. Then the two made 'The King Of Comedy'... What a brave move! You couldn't find a more different movie, but one just as impressive and extraordinary. This movie is disliked by many, deliberately ignored by others. It's a very uncomfortable film. It's a (very) black comedy and is genuinely funny in places, but much of it is embarrassing to watch. Not because it is inept, but because of the believability of De Niro's obnoxious and irritating "loser" and wanna be comic Rupert Pupkin. De Niro has made a lot of disappointing movies in the last few years but 'The King Of Comedy' reminds you of just how brilliant he can be. I can't think of many actors who would be brave enough to play this part! Jerry Lewis is a performer I have always disliked, but he is excellent in this movie, probably because he is playing someone very close to himself in real life. The rest of the supporting cast aren't the most obvious choices, led by confrontational comedienne Sandra Bernhard and the "forgotten" Charlie's Angel Shelley Hack. Plus there are Tony Randall and a couple of other celebrities playing themselves, and a blink and you'll miss it cameo by The Clash (!). I really admire Scorsese for taking such a risk with this movie, which is one of the most original and provocative ever released by a major Hollywood studio. Bravo! This is must see viewing for not only all Scorsese or De Niro fans, but anyone who appreciates unusual or difficult movies.

106 of 130 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Rupert Pupkin’s mother dead or alive? kenneymljken
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The film is not funny at all.... boogiediggler
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