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Punchline (1988)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  7 October 1988 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 5,718 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 15 critic

Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. He and several others work regularly at the Gas Station, a New York comedy club. The ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Romeo
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Madeline Urie
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Arnold
Pam Matteson ...
Utica Blake
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Singing Nun (as George Michael McGrath)
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Albert Emperato
Barry Neikrug ...
Krug
Ángel Salazar ...
Rico (as Angel Salazar)
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Percy
Joycee Katz ...
Joycee
Mac Robbins ...
Billy Lane
Max Alexander ...
Mister Ball
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Storyline

Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. He and several others work regularly at the Gas Station, a New York comedy club. The wages are lousy and everybody hopes for the big break. Lilah Krytsick is housewife with an ambition to be a stand-up comedian, however she doesnt seem to have the talent. Steven takes her under his wings and teaches her the art of comedy and humour. But when a TV station arranges a comedy evening at the club, Steve sees his opportunity for fame and stardom. Their friendship seems quickly forgotten and now it's every man and woman for him- or herself! Written by Mattias Pettersson <seaman@sbbs.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 October 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La última carcajada  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$21,032,267 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Tom Hanks and Sally Field did stand-up routines in comedy clubs to prepare for this film. Stand-up comedian Susie Essman and comedy writer Dottie Archibald coached Field for her role. Archibald also served as consultant for the film, recruiting real stand-up comedians to appear in the film. Hanks enlisted stand-up comedian Barry Sobel and comedy writer Randy Fechter to help write his routine. One night, a young, up-and-coming Chris Rock shared a set with Hanks, and has stated since that Hanks was the funniest stand-up he had ever seen. During one of her routines, Sally Field shared a set with a then up-and-coming Adam Sandler, Sandler stated that Field's routine was the funniest that he's ever seen giving him a boost in his young career. See more »

Quotes

Steven Gold: If you're sending someone down, you better send him fast - 'cuz funny Steve's going under.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Why Gump, Why Now? (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Remember Tonight and Smile
Words and Music by Michael Pollock
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Rarely-Funny Comedians Struggle to Find What They're Searching For
22 July 2014 | by (Bradenton, FL) – See all my reviews

A moderately hard-edged drama about the private and public lives of comedians, with a special emphasis on the desperate lengths they'll go to for a laugh, or to get an edge on the competition. Sally Field is the focal figure, a mousey housewife who feels destined for greatness but can't locate her own voice, while Tom Hanks plays a big supporting role as a natural performer who's an irresponsible, selfish a-hole behind the scenes. It's an uneven picture that doesn't really click for a number of different reasons. Primary among them is this unspoken sense that a movie about comedians should be funny. Though the on-stage segments are indeed quite flat, big punchlines (if you'll forgive the pun) aren't really the point of this story. Less forgivable is the awkward, cloudy relationship between Hanks and Field that dominates the plot, and the constant shifts in tone from one scene to the next. I never got a real handle on where the film was going, what it wanted to be or to say. That writing jokes is hard, I guess? Sometimes the happiest guy in the spotlight is actually a poisonous, miserable bastard? A complicated, tentative take that's puzzling in its lack of a firm identity.


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