7.8/10
86,536
299 user 113 critic

The King of Comedy (1982)

Trailer
1:25 | Trailer
Rupert Pupkin is a passionate yet unsuccessful comic who craves nothing more than to be in the spotlight and to achieve this, he stalks and kidnaps his idol to take the spotlight for himself.

Director:

Martin Scorsese
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Popularity
1,880 ( 1,077)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 8 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
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:

Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but after 11:30 tonight no one will ever forget him. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin Scorsese is quoted as saying about the screenplay, "I thought the movie was just a one-line gag: You won't let me go on the show, so I'll kidnap you and you'll put me on the show." See more »

Goofs

The TV sets in the store display window near the end, where Jerry Langford angrily watches the end of Rupert Pupkin's TV appearance, are all tuned to channel 3. There is no TV station in New York City on channel 3 (two major stations, WCBS and WNBC, are on channels 2 and 4 respectively). However, channel 3 was (and is) commonly used for connecting video devices such as home computers and videotape recorders to TV sets. The film crew most likely rigged a videotape player to the TVs to mimic a network broadcast, thus requiring them to be tuned to channel 3--a small detail that most audience members wouldn't have noticed. 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!
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Connections

Features Permanent Vacation (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Rainbow Sleeves
Written by Tom Waits
Performed by Rickie Lee Jones
See more »

User Reviews

 
The world that we live in...
22 June 2004 | by akpiggottSee all my reviews

I hate the celebrity culture. I hate the fact that people become famous, just for the sake of being famous. I hate the fact that just because a celebrity gets married or has a child, that's front page news. I hate reality TV. I hate shows like "Pop Idol" (or "American Idol"), where normal people seem to think they are destined for A-list status. The fact that this film (The King of Comedy) is as old as I am, is either an all too worrying statement on society, or proves that it was way ahead of its time. Maybe that's why I love it so much.

De Niro has always amazed me, but the fact that he seems to understand this character so well is a little overwhelming. Whether he is delivering cringeworthy gags to a cardboard audience, or embarrassing himself, obliviously, in front of Jerry Lewis, his consistency is amazing. His motives are understandable to anyone who's ever had a dream. Perhaps it's De Niro's early ambition as an actor, that fuelled this shamefully overlooked performance.

Jerry Lewis is perfect as the disgruntled TV host. A man who lives a double-life of hilarious TV personality, with a bitter persona off-screen. You can certainly relate to this man's motivations, his love for his work, but his resistance to allow it run his personal life.

The only character I can't totally emphasize with is Sandra Bernhard's Masha (her actions aren't justified as well as De Niro's Rupert). But maybe that just goes with my aforementioned hatred for celebrity culture. The scary thing is, I know that people like this exist, and I didn't for a second, question the feasibility of her performance.

As usual, Scorsese shows brilliant control, despite this being one of his most modest works.

"The King of Comedy" should be looked upon, now more than ever, as a very important film, that has a lot to say about the world we live in and the obsessions that we consume. 9/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1982 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

The King of Comedy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$137,624, 21 February 1983

Gross USA:

$2,536,242

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,536,242
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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