12 user 1 critic

Laughter on the 23rd Floor (2001)

R | | Comedy | TV Movie 26 May 2001
Writing a weekly TV show for a famous comic is anything but easy.


Richard Benjamin


Neil Simon (play), Neil Simon (teleplay)
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Nathan Lane ... Max Prince
Mark Linn-Baker ... Val Skotsky
Saul Rubinek ... Ira Stone
Dan Castellaneta ... Milt Fields
Richard Portnow ... Harry Prince
Kristi Angus ... Darlene Drew
Ardon Bess Ardon Bess ... Cecil
Colin Fox ... Cal Weebs
Sherry Miller ... Faye
Frank Proctor Frank Proctor ... Walter Winchell
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mackenzie Astin ... Lucus Brickman
Marcia Bennett ... Cal's Secretary
Robert Bidaman Robert Bidaman ... Brad
Ian D. Clark ... Doctor
Philip Craig ... Dennis


Writing a weekly TV show for a famous comic is anything but easy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV's top comic has everything. Except his sanity.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »



USA | Canada



Release Date:

26 May 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Most Original Comedy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White | Color (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" opened at the Richard Rodgers Theater on 22nd November 1993 and ran for 320 performances until 27th August 1994. Nathan Lane and Mark Linn-Baker reprised their stage roles in this televised movie. The play opened in London's West End on 3rd October 1996 and ran for five months. It starred Gene Wilder. The play's setting is described in its intro as; "An office on the 23rd floor of a building on 57th Street, New York City. 1953". The play was Simon's 28th written stage production. See more »


Lucas' last name is Nader in the film, Brickman in the credits. See more »


[Re: Max's health]
Val: God forgive me for saying this word: Nervous breakdown!
Milt: That's two words. God will never forgive you!
See more »


Follows Broadway Bound (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Only some mild laughter in this ponderous television adaptation
1 June 2005 | by graham clarkeSee all my reviews

I have always found Neil Simon's earlier works far more satisfying than his middle and later periods. It's understandable that comic writers such as Simon and Woody Allen felt the need to develop, having become tired of churning out pungent one liners. The transition from pure comic, to serious writer, albeit with a comic base, is a tricky one. Both Simon and Allen have on occasion handled this fusion of elements well, but by and large the challenge has not been well met by either.

"Laughter on the 23rd Floor" being a reminiscence of Simon's television writing days on the legendary "Show of Shows" was largely a comic piece when produced on Broadway. Since most of the characters in the play are loosely based on a group of writers famed for their wit, the play should have been a hilarious riot. While it made for an enjoyable evening in the theater, one couldn't help feeling it had somewhat missed the mark.

For the television adaptation Simon has turned "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" into a supposedly deeper and more serious work, in his portrayal of comic Max Prince. Depicting the complexities that make up the psyche of a comic is not an easy task but Simon's depiction of Max Prince does not go far beyond the clichés one would expect. Nathan Lane pulls out all the stops, but at times he seems to be unwittingly doing a Zero Mostel imitation. The biggest let down is that despite a group of fine and seasoned performers and many one liners, even the comic bits are not as funny as they should be.

Those who have a particular fondness for the period of 50's television and the tremendous talents around at the time are likely to be disappointed.

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