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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 47,364 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


Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but after 11:30 tonight no one will ever forget him. 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?


William G. Schilling filmed a role in the scene where fans approach Jerry as he walks down the street. But his scene was deleted. See more »


When Rupert is waiting by the payphone, the other phones are hanging down. But in the next shot one of them is in its right place again. 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 »


Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #2.1 (2003) See more »


Written by Talking Heads
Performed by Talking Heads
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

I love it. Uncontested first-rate masterpiece from Scorsese.
10 September 2002 | by (Järvenpää, Finland) – See all my reviews

Martin Scorsese's clever, inventive and splendidly witty little masterpiece "The King of Comedy" was highly underrated 19 years ago but nowadays it rightfully gets more of that appreciation it undoubtably deserves. My favorite Scorsese-flick will naturally always be the massively celebrated "Goodfellas" but yes, this is number two in my books (I love it even more than "Taxi driver", even though it's a perfect film too).

Both "Goodfellas" and "The King of Comedy" are in my all time favorite Top 10. Robert De Niro makes the very best comedic performance of his whole career as a wannabe-famous stand-up comedian Rupert Pupkin. Just observe his sensational, sharp and devoted acting in "King of comedy" and you will truly have the great pleasure of seeing a real genius at work.

Elderly Jerry Lewis is also marvelous as the melancholic and cheerless Jerry Langford. This is Lewis' best role as an aged actor and it has absolutely nothing to got to do with the vivid pre-Jim Carrey stuff he used to do in the 50's-60's. Although he made the biggest hits of his career back then "The King of Comedy" is one of his greatest achievements as a real, talented actor and not just a clown (Nothing wrong with the clown, though. I do love old Lewis comedies too).

People who claim this movie is not a comedy: I can surely agree but not without reserve. Of course this is not the traditional comedy, that goes without saying and the humor we have is very odd and black. However this is a film that really makes me laugh. Laugh a lot. Characters, acting and script are so bloody hilarious and the unbelievable story is incredibly funny I can't help of loving every single scene. This is exactly what I would call a perfect film. 10/10.

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