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The King of Comedy (1982)

Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin attempts to achieve success in show business 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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
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 ...
Chauffeur
...
Young Girl
Katherine Wallach ...
Autograph Seeker
Charles Kaleina ...
Autograph Seeker
Richard Baratz ...
Caricaturist
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Storyline

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 <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but by 11:30 tonight, the whole world will know he's . . . THE KING OF COMEDY . . and when it's all over one of them won't be laughing See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1982 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

King of Comedy  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$2,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro wrote Martin Scorsese a letter before filming expressing his reluctance to the casting of Jerry Lewis as Langford, feeling Lewis might be tempted to ham it up, and not be able to deliver a believable dramatic performance. Martin Scorsese argued that Lewis' own experience as an old-school borshe belt and Catskills-based comedian, and the pathos that lied within his manic film comic persona would help him understand and portray the angst of Jerry Langford. Scorsese ultimately proved to be correct, as Lewis received plenty of accolades and critical acclaim for his remarkably understated, restrained performance. See more »

Goofs

In the three scenes in which Langford is taped to the chair, the configuration of the tape changes dramatically each time. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

References The Misfits (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Fly Me to the Moon
Written by Bart Howard
Performed by Frank Sinatra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Companion Piece to Taxi Driver
3 December 2000 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

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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