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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.


4,284 ( 413)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Rupert Pupkin
... Jerry Langford
... Rita Keane
... Masha
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 ... Chauffeur
... Young Girl
Katherine Wallach ... Autograph Seeker
Charles Kaleina ... Autograph Seeker
Richard Baratz ... Caricaturist


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


Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but by 11:30 tonight, the whole world will know he's . . . THE KING OF COMEDY . . 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?


Martin Scorsese has said that he thought Robert De Niro's best performance under his direction was in this film. See more »


Rupert is talking to Jerry in Jerry's limousine. Rupert bandages his hand with Jerry's handkerchief. In the next sequence in the car the bandage is missing. Following this Rupert's hand is again bandaged. 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 »


References Randy (1980) See more »


Sweet Sixteen Bars
Written by Ray Charles
Performed by Ray Charles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Felonious Fifteen Minutes of Fame
6 November 2007 | by See all my reviews

Rupert Pupkin was a lost soul who wanted his shot at being in the limelight, and he was willing to go through some very unconventional methods to have it.. Such a compulsive nature is not that unusual, especially considering the fact that Pupkin is a New Yorker!! Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro's character) was very impervious to the fact that being a famous television personality requires a lot of patience and perseverance!! The expedition of being a celebrity dictates that you devote a good portion of your time to obligatory publicity ,and that you have a thorough comprehension of the industry's rigid guidelines with regard to standards and practices!! The aggregate requirements to stardom seem very mundane to Rupert Pupkin, Rupert Pupkin's idea of add water and stir success is something that professionals such as Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis' character) know is not possible!! In the pursuit of such a seemingly glamorous fate, Rupert Pupkin becomes the proverbial recipient of polite shove offs, a stilted Park Ave decorum, and a patronizing demeanor from hatchet men who dish out an underlying belittlement of a Brooklyn simpleton, Rupert Pupkin, and his desire to be a high profile comic!! All of this sparks a perennial state of agitation for Pupkin with his amateurish drive to be an overnight television icon!! The acting in this movie is terrific, Sandra Burnhard, Robert De Niro, and Jerry Lewis are all sensational in this film!! Martin Scorsese, who is one of the greatest directors in the history of movie making, does a remarkable job with this movie!! Surprisingly enough, I found this film to be my favorite Scorsese film out of all of them!! The itemizations and peculiar depictions of pejorative emotional reactions in this movie had a succinct and sorrowful element of reality to them!! Scorsese is very well known for so many excellent movies, and, he is best known for masterpieces such as "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull". Like most Scorsese films, "King of Comedy" illustrates aspects of human behavior that are generally misunderstood to the American public!! The intense grasp on such deliberate proclivities with all of the main characters in this film is phenomenal!! "King of Comedy" effectuates the intuitiveness of Mr Nobody (Robert De Niro) to be neurotic about getting national attention by way of being on a nighttime talk show!! Coercive disruption of this nature is generally not taken lightly in the real world, but, for innovative movie material, HOW ORIGINAL AND CREATIVE!! The grade this movie gets for originality with relation to the plot, would be an A++!!! New York City emanates such a compounded exuberance in this film, which becomes very conducive to the wry component of erratic behavior that this movie orchestrates!! All in all, "King of Comedy" emerges as a resounding winner in the cinema industry!! Word to the wise, please do not try this reckless stunt at home, if you did, the only famous place in New York you will wind up in is New York's world renowned mental health facility called Bellvue!!

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