33 user 22 critic

Punchline (1988)

2:10 | Trailer
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.


David Seltzer


David Seltzer
1 win. See more awards »





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


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


It only hurts when you LAUGH! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The actor who plays Ernie the Bartender at the Gas Station is a young Casey Sander, who went on to play Mike Rostenkowski, Bernadette's father on The Big Bang Theory (2007). See more »


When Sally Field comes home with a new haircut, she covers her face with a paper napkin. In varying scenes, she has it covered in different ways, and in some she does not have the napkin at all. See more »


Stand-Up Comic: [doing an impression of Ghandi's mother] Please, sweetheart... just a sandwich?
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Why Gump? Why Now? (1994) See more »


Saber Dance
(from ballet "Gayaneh")
Composed by Aram Khachaturyan
[Played as Lilah and the girls frantically prepare for the church dinner]
See more »

User Reviews

Tom is no stand-up
9 November 2019 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Lilah Krytsick (Sally Field) is a middle age New Jersey housewife struggling to do stand-up comedy. Her marriage to husband John (John Goodman) is under stress. Med student Steven Gold (Tom Hanks) is late for his oral exam and gets expelled for cheating on his written exam. He's been spending all his nights doing stand-up. Madeline Urie (Kim Greist) is a talent agent. Romeo is the club owner.

Tom Hanks is no stand-up comic. He's playing one but he's not actually one. It's the difference between getting real laughs and getting extras to laugh on cue. There's a reason why crashing and burning in front of his father is his best set in the movie. On the other hand, Sally Field is great and fits well especially as a bad comic in the beginning. Her life is much funnier than her 'good' jokes. It's also very bittersweet. Luckily, this is her movie more than his. Real comics inevitably complain about the lockers which is beside the point. It's like complaining about the big apartment in Friends. I do like the aborted romance and the conflicted family life. Instead of Hanks, this movie needs a real comic who could sell the stand-up and then hope that the acting will follow. It's a tall order.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Spanish | French

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 »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$160,742, 2 October 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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