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The King of Comedy (1982)

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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 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 ...
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 <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


. . and when it's all over one of them won't be laughing See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 December 1982 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

King of Comedy  »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tony Randall: As himself, an emergency guest host of the Jerry Langford Show. 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 »


[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!
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Jerry Langford Theme
Written by Bob James
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

16 October 2000 | by See all my reviews

This is one of the most memorable films I have ever seen. The first time I saw it in 1983, my dad took me to see it with my older cousin, who laughed hysterically throughout the film, then said afterwards how much he hated it. That was a memorable moment, but the film itself also made a very large impression on me. Despite the title, it is anything but a comedy, save for some amusing moments that could pass for dark comedy.

The story involves a 34 year old nerd (Robert DeNiro) who wants badly to be a standup comedian, but his only method of trying to attain this goal is by essentially stalking a popular talk show host played by Jerry Lewis. The performances are amazing, of course DeNiro can never fail at playing someone offbeat and deranged. Jerry Lewis is very good as the talk show host, and Sandra Bernhard is also well cast as a fellow stalker. The film is a tough watch as its tense and uncomfortable throughout, yet entertaining and intruiging enough so it never crosses the line into unbearable, which I imagine must have been exactly what filmmaker Scorcese was going for. Overall, the film is a combination of disturbing, entertaining, and unforgettable. What's more, it holds up extremely well seventeen years later, although it initially did not do well at the box office. Score: 9/10

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