Edit
The King of Comedy (1982) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (10)
Much of the scene where Rupert (Robert De Niro) shows up at Jerry's house was improvised. Kim Chan improvised his lines when Jonno calls Jerry. The part where Jonno has troubling opening the front door was not planned. Chan really could not open the door, and Jerry Lewis improvised his reaction.
163 of 164 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Martin Scorsese has said that he thought Robert De Niro's best performance under his direction was in this film.
240 of 243 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Martin Scorsese said later that making this film was an "unsettling" experience, in part because of the embarrassing, bitter material of the script. Scorsese said that he and Robert De Niro may have not worked together again for seven years because making The King of Comedy (1982) was so emotionally gruelling.
152 of 154 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When Jerry Langford is walking down the street, he is stopped by a woman talking on the telephone. When Jerry refuses to talk to someone on the phone, the lady says, "I hope you get cancer". This incident actually happened to Jerry Lewis. According to Scorsese, Lewis directed this segment himself.
138 of 140 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Robert De Niro used anti-Semitic remarks to anger Jerry Lewis while filming the scene where Rupert Pupkin crashes Jerry Langford's country home. Lewis, who had never worked with method actors, was shocked and appalled, but delivered an extremely credible performance.
220 of 225 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the scene where Robert De Niro and Sandra Bernhard argue in the street, three of the "street scum" that mock Bernhard are Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, and Paul Simonon, members of the British punk rock band, The Clash.
167 of 171 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Jerry Lewis played a character with the same first name as his own. Jerry Langford was originally named Bobby Langford in the script. But Lewis suggested that the character be named after him, so that they could film reactions from real passersby who recognized him. None of the other people in that scene were actors or actresses except for the cabbie, and the woman on the payphone.
108 of 112 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Jerry Lewis found Martin Scorsese's working method initially frustrating, as he was made to wait around for the first three days of shooting. Lewis told Scorsese that he was a professional and was going to get paid for all the time he was made to wait, and that if Scorsese wasn't going to use him, then he could tell him that he wasn't needed.
75 of 77 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
While being profiled for "E! True Hollywood Story", Jerry Lewis was surprised at the critics praise of his performance. Lewis disregarded the praise, and said that he was just playing himself.
73 of 75 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Sandra Bernhard was allowed to improvise most of her lines, as she had no formal acting training, and Martin Scorsese wanted her to be as natural as possible.
80 of 83 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Robert De Niro and Diahnne Abbott were married in real-life at the time.
84 of 88 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When Rupert is talking to Rita in a restaurant, a man in the background is imitating Rupert's hand gestures. The man is played by Chuck Low, who also appeared in Goodfellas (1990) as Morrie Kessler.
72 of 75 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Jerry Lewis suggested that his character be killed by Rupert at the end of the film, but Martin Scorsese rejected his idea.
71 of 74 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Jerry Lewis improvised his "I'm just a human being" monologue to Rupert. Lewis and Sandra Bernhard mostly improvised the scene in which they are alone together.
65 of 68 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the scene where Jerry hits Masha, Jerry Lewis originally wanted Sandra Bernhard to fall through a glass table, but Bernhard and Martin Scorsese refused, for fear she might be seriously injured.
53 of 55 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, and Orson Welles were considered before Jerry Lewis. Carson was the only one that was actually offered the role before Lewis, but he turned it down.
47 of 49 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In preparation for his role, Robert De Niro studied Richard Belzer's stand-up comedy acts.
60 of 65 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The talk show segments were filmed on videotape (like a real talk show) and later transferred to film. An unedited version of Jerry's monologue in its original video format can be seen as part of the DVD's special features.
28 of 29 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
DIRECTOR_CAMEO(Martin Scorsese): Man in van, as Jerry Langford is walking across the street and is greeted by a woman at a phone booth, where she wants him to talk to her nephew Morris, Scorsese can be seen in the driver's side of a green van.
27 of 28 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Martin Scorsese said he wanted there to be no difference between fantasy and reality in the film.
47 of 51 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Meryl Streep turned down the part of Masha, played by Sandra Bernhard.
40 of 44 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Martin Scorsese has stated that he "probably should not have made" the film.
86 of 100 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Liza Minnelli filmed a scene where she played herself on Jerry Langford's talk show and sang "New York, New York," but it didn't make the final cut. Minnelli only appears in the finished film as a life-sized cardboard cutout, a guest on Rupert Pupkin's basement talk show. Her name still appears in the closing credits.
37 of 41 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Writer Paul D. Zimmerman wrote the screenplay in the late 1960s, with Dick Cavett in mind as the talk-show host.
23 of 25 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Opening film at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.
31 of 35 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
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."
21 of 23 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Robert De Niro wrote Martin Scorsese a letter before filming expressing his reluctance to the casting of Jerry Lewis as Langford, feeling Lewis might be tempted to ham it up, and not be able to deliver a believable dramatic performance. Martin Scorsese argued that Lewis' own experience as an old-school Borscht Belt and Catskills-based comedian, and the pathos that lied within his manic film comic persona would help him understand and portray the angst of Jerry Langford. Scorsese ultimately proved to be correct, as Lewis received plenty of accolades and critical acclaim for his remarkably understated, restrained performance.
18 of 20 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
According to Martin Scorsese, the visual style was inspired by Life of an American Fireman (1903).
25 of 29 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Jerry Langford's lawyer was played by Martin Scorsese's real-life lawyer.
26 of 31 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Frederick De Cordova, who played talk-show Director Bert Thomas, was Executive Producer of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) from 1971 to 1992.
19 of 22 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
According to Martin Scorsese, the scene when Rupert (Robert De Niro) and Rita (Diahnne Abbott) show up unannounced at Jerry Langford's (Jerry Lewis') house took five days to film.
19 of 22 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Entertainment Tonight called The King of Comedy the flop of the year at the end of the year in 1983.
24 of 29 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the original script, when Rupert and Rita meet in the diner, there is a stranger sitting behind Rupert who flirts with Rita. Later, this stranger propositions her successfully. Although he is glimpsed in the film, it is not clear what he is doing. Another change is that in the script, when Rupert is being interviewed by the authorities who are looking for Jerry, Rupert is beaten, this does not happen in the film.
23 of 28 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
With a budget of nineteen million dollars, this was a huge flop at the box-office. It only earned two and a half million dollars.
17 of 20 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In his monologue on the Jerry Langford show, Rupert Pupkin says that he is from Clifton, New Jersey. This is possibly an allusion to Andy Kaufman's abusive comedian persona, Tony Clifton, whom Pupkin resembles with similar hair, mustache and cheap blue suits.
41 of 55 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
DIRECTOR_CAMEO(Martin Scorsese): A television executive.
27 of 35 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
A digitally restored version of the movie was presented as the closing night feature of Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 27, 2013.
23 of 30 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Donald E. Westlake shelved his novel "The Comedy Is Finished" for the rest of his life without publishing it, because he felt its premise was too similar to this.
25 of 34 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The Clash, one of Martin Scorsese's favorite bands, makes a brief appearance at a phone booth.
15 of 19 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The looming directors' strike caused the film to go over budget.
17 of 22 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Rupert Pupkin's (Robert De Niro) mom was played by real-life mother of director Martin Scorsese who also appeared in Goodfellas (1990) also directed by Martin Scorsese.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In The Making of 'Cape Fear' (2001), when J. Lee Thompson expresses how pleased he is that Martin Scorsese remade his 1962 film, he singled out this movie as Scorsese's "masterpiece".
11 of 14 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Robert De Niro's real-life friend, Chuck Low, can be seen in the background acting out De Niro's gestures during the scene in the Chinese restaurant.
8 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
George Kapp (Mystery Guest) was a real New York City high school chemistry teacher in the 1960s and 1970s.
12 of 17 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
William G. Schilling filmed a role in the scene where fans approach Jerry as he walks down the street. But his scene was deleted.
10 of 14 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Michael Cimino and Milos Forman were both interested in directing at different times.
10 of 15 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
15 of 25 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Martin Scorsese had suffered from poor health both before and during the film's production. He had previously worked on three films close together, and not long afterward, found himself hospitalized due to exhaustion and pneumonia. He had not recovered when shooting began. The intensive filming schedule meant Scorsese could spend the remainder of his time recuperating.
11 of 18 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
At the time of release, the pride and joy gag would have been universally recognized by American audiences because these two products were heavily advertised. Joy is a brand of dishwashing soap and Pride was a furniture polish. Since Pride has been off the market for many years and Joy no longer does as much advertising, this joke may be lost on audiences too young to remember these products.
8 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Nicole Kidman is a big fan of the film, and has claimed in interviews that it is her favorite comedy.
12 of 22 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The film playing in Jerry's apartment just before he get's Masha's phone call is Samuel Fuller's Pickup on South Street (1953).
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Shavuot, mentioned by Masha (Sandra Bernhard), is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (usually sometime in late May or early June).
14 of 28 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Jeannie Berlin unsuccessfully auditioned for the part of Masha.
10 of 23 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The first film released by Regency Enterprises.
7 of 15 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The only film Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese have made together in which De Niro has facial hair.
21 of 62 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
According to Martin Scorsese, there was a long search to find the right actress to play Masha.
6 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the opening crowd scene, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (uncredited extra in crowd scene) can be seen next to Robert De Niro just before Jerry gets into the limousine.
4 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
This was Sandra Bernhard's second appearance in a live-action movie, after Nice Dreams (1981), and the first one where she has dialogue.
4 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Cameo 

Charles Scorsese: The father of Director Martin Scorsese as the First Man at Bar where where Rupert Pupkin is watching his own performance on the television.
39 of 40 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Cathy Scorsese: The daughter of Martin Scorsese as Dolores.
21 of 21 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Victor Borge: As himself, a guest on the Jerry Langford Show.
11 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Tony Randall: As himself, an emergency guest host of the Jerry Langford Show.
13 of 17 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Lou Brown: As the band leader of the Jerry Langford Show.
11 of 14 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Frederick De Cordova: The film and television Producer as the Producer of The Jerry Langford Show.
9 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Ed Herlihy: As himself, the announcer of The Jerry Langford Show.
8 of 12 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Joyce Brothers: As herself, a guest on The Jerry Langford Show.
8 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Edgar J. Scherick: The film and television producer as a television network President.
6 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Mardik Martin: A friend of Martin Scorsese as Second Man at Bar, where Rupert Pupkin is watching his own performance on the the television.
7 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page


Recently Viewed