5.8/10
7,458
29 user 16 critic

Punchline (1988)

A medical school dropout and a housewife/mom try to make it as stand-up comedians. They become friends and help each other out at an NYC comedy club.

Director:

David Seltzer

Writer:

David Seltzer
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Field ... Lilah Krytsick
Tom Hanks ... Steven Gold
John Goodman ... John Krytsick
Mark Rydell ... Romeo
Kim Greist ... Madeline Urie
Paul Mazursky ... Arnold
Pam Matteson Pam Matteson ... Utica Blake
George McGrath ... Singing Nun (as George Michael McGrath)
Taylor Negron ... Albert Emperato
Barry Neikrug Barry Neikrug ... Krug
Ángel Salazar ... Rico (as Angel Salazar)
Damon Wayans ... Percy
Joycee Katz Joycee Katz ... Joycee
Mac Robbins 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:

It only hurts when you LAUGH! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 October 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Punch Line See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,032,267
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the role of Romeo, the comedy club owner who is both needed and resented by the comedians, David Seltzer cast longtime friend Mark Rydell. Although Rydell began his career as a performer, he had distinguished himself in the last decade prior to this film as a director. Rydell said: "I've always admired David Seltzer, and when he called he got me at a weak moment and I surrendered. He's a very sensitive writer. I loved his movie, Lucas (1986) and when I read his 'Punchline' script, I thought, 'Why not?'." Rydell had not acted since Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973) with Elliott Gould, but he came to "Punchline" as a performer. Rydell added: "I try not to think as a director when I'm acting. The skills are antithetical. The director is always in some way judging what is going on, whereas an actor, to do his job right, must be able to surrender completely to the experience". See more »

Goofs

When Steven and Lilah are riding the #7 subway, the Manhattan terminus of the line is shown as Lexington Ave. The actual terminus should be 42nd St./ Times Square. See more »

Quotes

Steven: Don't be scared, 'cuz I'm Funny Steve... with a lampshade on his head. Singing and dancing, for your entertainment, his own rendition of "Singin' in the Rain"!
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Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A "Must See Performance" by Hanks
20 November 1998 | by PhilauraSee all my reviews

Tom Hanks performs the "Singing in the Rain" umbrella/street dance number like you'd never imagine it could be. I loved him in this movie. Probably more than the vast majority of his others. His portrayal of an emotionally tormented and lost young man blessed with a tremendous and natural talent for comedy - dark as it may be - broke my heart. I wasn't crazy about Sally Fields as his leading lady - the match up just didn't work for me. But as individuals they were both excellent.

I would recommend it highly. It's not really a comedy as the title might suggest. It is, as I said dark, but with some very warm feelings about giving. I gave it an 8


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