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The King of Comedy
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The King of Comedy More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Scorsese's Black Sheep... Fantastic

Author: Zykron G. Ghoderphest from United States
11 July 2004

The King of Comedy is clearly one of Scorsese's best movies. I mean... just look at it. Great plot, DeNiro's unique approach to comedy, near perfect casting, and fall-down funny humor... the film's great. The thing is, since it doesn't deal with gangsters or the mafia, people look it over. That's a real shame, considering that even though it's the least Scorsese-like Scorsese movie, it's one of his best.

Scorsese's directing style is still apparent, and it indeed feels like one of his films. But since it's a comedy... dealing with comedians... it's a different sort of plot for him.

In any case, check it out. Anyone who's a fan of Scorsese or Robert DeNiro will just love this. Sandra Bernhard's also pretty damn hilarious. Go see it.

Overall Score: A- Direction: B+ Style: B+ Acting: A Script: A+ Music: B+

Best line: "You wanna be waitin' here 'till next Shavuos?!"

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Taxi Driver, with Lot's of Milk and Sugar!! Yet Still Yummy!!

Author: David A Dein from The Garden State
6 August 2003

Ever since I saw Martin Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER I've had a problem getting into cabs especially in New York City. I always find myself asking, `Could Travis Bickle be driving me around?' What a scary thought. That fear has lingered into my adult hood. Now thanks to Mr. Scorsese I'm afraid of stand-up comics. Stop scaring me.

The King of Comedy tells the story of Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro, Flawless). Pupkin is a man with a dream, to become the newest King of Comedy. He will stop at nothing to get on the hottest late night talk show `The Jerry Langford Show' and after many months of trying he finally forces a meeting between him and the host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis, Funny Bones).

After the meeting Rupert thinks he's made a new friend. Too bad Jerry doesn't realize that. So Rupert begins to stalk Jerry, showing up at his office, and out his summer home. Then Rupert gets fed up with Jerry's games and decides to kidnap him. Will this get him a shot on the Jerry Langford show? That's up to you to find out.

THE KING OF COMEDY is Taxi Driver light. Rupert Pupkin is disturbed but not dangerous. This works really well, because it gives you an under dog to root for, even if the ends don't justify the means. But aren't all of us a little star struck. Don't we all at one time or another look up and see some hack on television, or a Michael Bay movie and say `Hey I Can Do That?' I think well all have a little Rupert Pupkin in us.

De Niro makes Pupkin come alive. Rupert Pupkin is a really annoying guy. He's the kind of guy who attacks famous people with banal chitchat. If I were famous I'd want to steer clear of a guy like this. I would assume De Niro has had exposure to people like this and that's why he can channel a character like this. It's a strong performance with subtle wit and amazing presence.

I especially liked the scene outside Jerry Apartment Building where Rupert doesn't want to stop talking to Jerry and Jerry just wants to get away from this nut. I loved the urgency in Rupert's voice like if he were to stop talking this night would end and that can't happen. It's almost a letdown when Jerry walks into his apartment. The mind game over. It's a shame.

Another bright spot in this film is an actress I usually have very little faith in Sandra Bernhard (Hudson Hawk). She plays Masha, another one of Jerry Langford's obsessive fans, and Rupert's partner in crime. There is a sequence in which she tries to seduce Jerry; it's a performance that is both painful and silly, and really astonishing. I was impressed.

THE KING OF COMEDY is a lot of fun. It's also quite painful, and beautiful at the same time. Director Scorsese does a bang up job, even going as far as inviting the likes of Dr. Joyce Brothers and Tony Randall in as guest stars. Offering us that little spark of reality. What a great movie THE KING OF COMEDY is.

Why not give it a try yourself.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant in the Details as well...

8/10
Author: StellaDallas from New York
15 October 2000

A sleeper, to be sure, but in addition to the already-mentioned fine performances by De Niro and Sandra B. it's the small details of casting which for me were the icing on the cake: De Niro's ex-wife Diahnne Abbott (also seen in a bit in Taxi Driver) as Pupkin's dream girl Rita, members of the Clash, singer Ellen Foley and producer/musician Don Letts as the street punks; best of all, veteran TV/film director Freddie de Cordova, real-life director of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson", as Bert Thomas. Genius!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A movie everybody should see.

Author: wishkah7 from Brooklyn, NY. (Where I'm from originally.)
11 September 2000

Robert De Niro did a spendid job playing the obsessive loner and loser Rupert Pupkin. Rupert is a man who idolizes and wants to be like Jerry Langford (Played by comedy great Jerry Lewis). So she teams up with Marsha (Sandra Bernhard) and they scheme together to try to become famous comedians like Jerry in the most funniest ways one could imagine!

The funniest parts in this movie were when Rupert was being chased by secruity guards, and also when Rupert and Sandra were arguing as they walked down the street and a bunch of street-scum punks look at them funny. In case nobody knew those punks were played by the 80's punk band, The Clash. (They sung "Rock the Casbah"!) Martin Scorese has always had cool soundtracks in his movies, and was 'hip' in his way of making movies!

Another cool thing about this flick was that Rupert was a realistic character, and someone who would do anything to be popluar. Rupert even ends up kidnapping Jerry Langford. In closing this movie is a must-see! The King of Comedy is very well worth seeing as well as your time. I've always liked enjoyable films such as these. This movie also made me believe that Rupert represents the obsessed fan in all of us. I give this 5 out of 5 stars!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Simple and tense

Author: Eight Two from sunny florida
18 June 2000

This is a wonderful film that anyone who's ever gotten a bit of a cold shoulder from a celebrity would like. Martin Scorsese uses remarkable degrees of tension as his paintbrush, making the emotions felt by Robert DeNiro's character so extreme, that you literally wince with anxiety when he oversteps his boundaries over and over again.

Essentially, this movie looks at how to be successful in show business without really trying. Rupert Pupkin is an obsessive fan who's not only obsessed with Jerry Langford, the Carson-like host of his eponymous television show, but obsessed with getting a little fame himself. He doesn't want to waste time honing his bits at small clubs and working his way up, he just wants to do his act (the act which he's done a million times in the privacy of his own room and he believes to be solid) on The Jerry Langford Show as soon as possible. And so, with the help of fellow obsessor Sandra Bernhard, he kidnaps Langford in an effort to secure a spot, however fleeting, in national spotlights.

Although found in the DRAMA section, "The King Of Comedy" is one of the damndest comedies I've ever seen. Rupert Pupkin's life, his habits, his desires, are all extremely funny. Because while some people might nod off during lunch to the fantasy of meeting a celebrity, Rupert takes his anxious wishes to action, going to ridiculous measures to make sure his rather intricate fantasy world (the fantasy world where he's a bigger star than Jerry, and he hangs out with Jerry on the weekends, etc.) doesn't come undone by the actual and very blunt rejection from Mr. Langford himself. Rupert just won't listen to anything anyone has to say unless it facilitates into re-affirming his fantasies. And it's this stubborn insanity/dedication that makes Pupkin (often misspelled and mispronounced) one of the great characters.

This film is tight, fitting in as many angles of the nooks and crannies of Rupert Pupkin's crazy, crazy mind as possible with it's allotted running time. Scorsese doesn't fuss with doing anything extra to get his point across; he knows what is needed and he accomplishes it.

Keep this in mind to rent next time you go to video store if you haven't seen it.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Must See

Author: DeeDee-10 from San Francisco
22 February 2000

OK, everything has been said about this film that can possibly be said. . . it's funny, pathetic, sad, hysterical. . . the repartee between De Niro and Bernhard is hilarious! And Bernhard singing Come Rain or Come Shine to a taped up Lewis is bittersweet; even so, I couldn't stiffle a laugh. How can you with Bernhard???

De Niro drove me crazy with his obsessiveness. However, he knew when to pull back and showed enough control to not alienate the character from us, the audience. Poor Pupkin -a real case!

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Ahead of it's time.

10/10
Author: Irishmonk from Canada
21 March 2009

King of Comedy was so far ahead of it's time when released in 1982 that no-one understood it, not even the critics. What seemed implausible and bizarre 25+ years ago is today's unfortunate reality. With our current celebrity universe packed with ridiculous no-hopers like Joe the Plumber and "OctoMom"--i.e. "stars" who attained their fame/infamy purely through outlandish behaviour--an obnoxious , no talent train wreck like Rupert Pupkin would be in constant demand for reality TV and talk shows everywhere. Hell, he'd probably even get married to Carmen Electra or Britney Spears-if only for a couple of days.

Scorsese captured lightning in a bottle with this film (even if he still doesn't realize or acknowledge it) and Robert DeNiro hit a creative peak with his depiction of the desperate unfunnyman Pupkin that he hasn't approached since.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant, underrated, hilarious gem.

10/10
Author: joe_lvn from United States
4 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My all-time favorite Martin Scorsese picture and one of the most intelligent, well-written, clever, well-directed, and especially well-acted films ever made. I loved it! I saw it when it first came out, and I can't figure out why it didn't do better at the box office. If there was any justice in the world, Robert DeNiro would have won Best Actor and the film would definitely have won Best Picture. I suppose true intelligence and wit scares Hollywood.

I truly believe that this is Robert DeNiro's finest performance. And Jerry Lewis was also great in a rather dark role. Everyone was great in this movie. Shelly Hack stands out in a very understated role.

In some way, I feel there's a little bit of Rupert Pupkin in all of us. And what's so great about this movie is that as we all root for Rupert, eventually the seemingly impossible becomes not only possible, but reality. Our dreams, whatever they may be, come true, vicariously, while watching this film. That may be the real reason I love this film so deeply.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

I wonder if David Letterman is able to laugh at this movie.

8/10
Author: Ham_and_Egger from Indianapolis, Indiana
9 June 2005

This is the greatest performance of Robert De Niro's career. Rupert Pupkin is exactly the opposite of every other character he's ever played. At first it's disconcerting, you keep waiting and waiting for Pupkin to cut loose, shed his skin, and become Travis Bickle or Jimmy the Gent. It was a real pleasure for me to discover this movie when I did, given Bobby D's present tendency to repeat himself over and over. I'd recommend that you give 'The King of Comedy' a look just to see what a mesmerizing actor De Niro once was.

The movie is a comedy so dark it almost isn't a comedy. It stares unflinchingly at celebrity, those who have it and those who aspire to it. In 1983 the idea of crazed stalkers hunting down celebrities must have seemed new and bordering on absurd. Jerry Lewis is terrific as late night talk show host Jerry Langford, who's fame doesn't prevent him from seeming more miserable than Rupert at times.

Sandra Bernhard is Rupert's equally disturbed female counterpart, Masha. If anything she plays her role even more convincingly than De Niro, though it doesn't call for the same amount of development.

I don't think anyone seeing 'The King of Comedy' for the first time could help but be surprised at the lack of notice it gets. If it's not the best of the Scorsese/De Niro pairings then it's close. In short, both the movie and Rupert's stand-up act are funny, but not ha-ha funny.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

DeNiro's the King of Comedy, but this is a serious movie.

10/10
Author: anonymous from Victoria, Canada
7 September 1998

A fabulous film about an obsessive character named Rupert Pupkin, portrayed wonderfully by Robert DeNiro. Rupert wants to break into the big time as a comedian, so he hounds Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) constantly to get on his T.V. show. Sandra Bernhart's scene with Jerry Lewis where she sings a love song to him while he's tied up is a show stopper. Probably my favourite DeNiro film.

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