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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 just craves his privacy.

Director:

Martin Scorsese
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4,776 ( 162)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Rupert Pupkin
Jerry Lewis ... Jerry Langford
Diahnne Abbott ... Rita Keane
Sandra Bernhard ... Masha
Ed Herlihy Ed Herlihy ... Ed Herlihy
Lou Brown Lou Brown ... Band Leader
Loretta Tupper Loretta Tupper ... Stage Door Fan
Peter Potulski Peter Potulski ... Stage Door Fan
Vinnie Gonzales Vinnie Gonzales ... Stage Door Fan
Whitey Ryan Whitey Ryan ... Stage Door Guard
Doc Lawless Doc Lawless ... Chauffeur
Marta Heflin ... Young Girl
Katherine Wallach Katherine Wallach ... Autograph Seeker
Charles Kaleina Charles Kaleina ... Autograph Seeker
Richard Baratz 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:

It's no laughing matter. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1982 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

King of Comedy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer Paul D. Zimmerman wrote the screenplay in the late 1960s, with Dick Cavett in mind as the talk-show host. See more »

Goofs

In Rupert's fantasy of Jerry inviting him out to his house, Jerry replaces Rupert's audition tape into its envelope twice in successive shots. 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

Referenced in Uvda: Episode #20.1 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Rupert's Theme
Written by Bob James
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Companion Piece to Taxi Driver
3 December 2000 | by Eclectic CriticSee 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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