The King of Comedy (1982)

 


 

. . and when it's all over one of them won't be laughing See »

Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin wants to achieve success in showbiz, by resorting to stalking his idol, a late night talk show host who craves his own privacy. Full summary »

Genre: Comedy,Drama,Crime

The King of Comedy (1982)
   
Release Date: 19 December 1982 (Iceland)
Country: USA
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast:
  • Robert De Niro
  • Jerry Lewis
  • Diahnne Abbott
  • Sandra Bernhard
  • Shelley Hack
  • Ed Herlihy
  • Lou Brown
  • Loretta Tupper
  • Peter Potulski
  • Vinnie Gonzales
  • Whitey Ryan
  • Doc Lawless
  • Marta Heflin
  • Katherine Wallach
  • Charles Kaleina


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33 Responses to The King of Comedy (1982)

  1. mensahcarrelle
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    One of his greatest& most underrated performances

    Love is a like a flu : you catch it up in the street and it ends up in bed

  2. kenneymljken
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    Something that has always perplexed me about “The King of Comedy” is the character of Rupert Pupkin’s mother. Early in the film she vexes Rupert with her interruptions while he is indulging his fantasies of talk show stardom. Then when he is finally allowed to perform his comedy routine on television, he claims that his mother is deceased. What is the truth?

    Given Rupert’s fragile mental condition, my first guess would be that his mother is indeed dead, and that her voice and fleeting image are hallucinations. Then again, Rupert is an opportunist and would likely not hesitate to lie in order to enhance his material, even at his mother’s expense.

    Obviously it is meant to be ambiguous but I would still like to know what others think.

  3. robhiphop
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    I’ve just published an extensive 2,500 word review of The King of Comedy on my blog.

    I’ve attempted to sum up pretty much everything I think about the movie.

    Anybody who’s interested can check out the review here:

    http://robertod.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/kill-the-american-dream-the-king-of-comedy-review

    Any and all comments welcome.

    THE GRAND INQUISITOR

    Movies, Culture, Opinion and more…

    http://robertod.wordpress.com/

  4. antpaste
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    …but as far as I’m concerned, Jerry Lewis’ chilling performance as Jerry Langford stole the entire picture. I was discussing this film with my brother, who is very knowledgeable about film in general and Martin Scorsese in particular. My brother said that the Langford character was a thinly disguised portrait of Johnny Carson.

    One thing I did notice was that every time Langford entered into his private life, whether he was walking down the streets of Manhattan, in his apartment, or in his mansion, he was always alone. His only companion seemed to be a beautiful but equally distant little Maltese.

    "See, Paw? I told you he shouldn’ta worn pumps when he was a baby."

  5. beflin
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    There are just TOO many awkward, painfully embarrassing moments of conflict in this movie to mention. I have never wanted to be in show business. It has NEVER been a dream of mine (except, I did once play violin, and I wish I could have performed solo for a crowd on specific occasions).

    However, one can completely relate to Pupkin’s dreams of grandeur in ANY field.

    I have to shield my eyes in shame when I watch this movie.

    I do not understand the comments of some of the other critics on this board regarding Jerry Langford. I don’t see that character as cold or heartless or cruel at all. I completely take his side about guarding his privacy. He clearly states his view of his business while in bondage: that in his position he is simply overwhelmed with a deluge of aspiring actors and comedians trying to appear on his show, with workers behind the scene whom one cannot always keep one’s eye on, who may be budding backstabbers.

    Langford was as gracious as possible about telling Pupkin to get out of his house by offering to call a taxi for him – instead of the police!

    Nevertheless, the dilemma for Rupert, and any character like Rupert, remains:

    when – if ever – should one give up on one’s dreams? Nobody who ever achieved what they call "success" EVER knew whether they would succeed or not. They had to believe in "never give up". So, why shouldn’t Rupert? Why shouldn’t everyone else? Nobody knows the future.

  6. Malick663
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    I thought this was one of the most brilliant touches of the film. Rupert was obviously someone who was picked on and had a horrible time at school. The fact that his fantasies of making it big involve a big ceremony where the principle of his school apologize on behalf of everyone that hurt him and to show them that he wasn’t the loser they remember him being is brilliant. Pupkin’s drive for fame was for all the wrong reasons, but that one in particular was such a human and believable aspect that he would aspire for.

    FYC: http://i41.tinypic.com/345lr47.jpg

  7. snowball-2
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    I don’t think that the character is supposed to be sympathetic. In fact, one of the criticisms that I have of this movie is that Rupert’s negative traits are too easily apparent.

    For one, he won’t do things the way he’s supposed to. He doesn’t go to open-mic nights, he doesn’t try to get some club to put him over. He comes up with material, and wants to take it straight to late-night television. This indicates that he is more interested in being famous than being a competent stand-up comedian, and that doesn’t make him very sympathetic.

    Later, the booking agent tells him in the NICEST possible way that he is going about this all wrong. Instead of following her good advice, he ignores and repudiates her.

    Also, clearly the Sandra Bernhard character is not supposed to be sympathetic. She’s a crazy woman. As the movie goes on, though, we see Rupert is more identifiable with her than any of the other "sane" characters.

    I think that the movie might have been more effective if Rupert was not such an easy, awkward target. If he was a character that maybe actually did have talent, or maybe it was shown that he had attempted to make it the right way at first, then the story might have had more resonance. Instead, Rupert is an anti-social caricature that doesn’t have our sympathy and certainly doesn’t deserve it.

  8. derekisdman
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    I definitely think it was when Jerry was reading the cards and rupert had the one upside down. Basically that whole way he presented the cards. Hilarious.

    Say hello to my little friend!

  9. cararose188
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    It said in the credits that he was the TV Director, but where in the film do you actually see him?

  10. jimmylh-geo
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    At the end of the movie where it looks like Rupert got out of jail and was on tv again, was it real or another one of his daydreams? The first time I watched it I thought it was real but after seeing it again today I’m thinking it was not.

  11. jef5703
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    Does anybody know anything about the scene in the Chinese restaurant where Pupkin is having dinner with Rita? There is a man who mocks Pupkin in the background of the scene, and then suddenly gets up and takes a phone call. Does this have any relevance or symbolism?

  12. eight_days
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    I’ve just seen this film for the first time and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m sure this has been discussed to death already, but was it really just Taxi Driver under a different name? The two cover a lot of similar themes; a schmuck becoming a legend for just one night, a girl said schmuck is willing to go to extraordinary measures to impress, a well-known public figure the schmuck is obsessed with who rides in a car with the schmuck while trading ideas on life, etc. Did anyone see it similarly?

    "Don’t cry, it is to be. In time, I’ll take away your miseries and make ’em mine…D’Evils."

  13. sloanrules
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    hmm, i thought she was amazing in this movie… definitely shoulda been nommed for an Oscar anyway, i dunno… i guess im dumb, i thought she was brilliant…

  14. dizexpat
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    The King of Comedy made people uneasy in 1982.

    Bear in mind–less than one year before the film was released John Hickley’s obsession with Jodie Foster–primarily from her role in Scorcese’s Taxi Driver— caused him to mimic the behavior of Robert DeNiro’s character in that film and shoot Ronald Reagan.

    Just a few months before that event a deranged fan shot and killed John Lennon.

    Ironically, the attempted assassination of Reagan caused the postponement of the Oscar ceremony, hosted by Johnny Carson, that would win for DeNiro his Academy Award for his role in Scorcese’s Raging Bull.

    It’s possible to watch The King of Comedy today without thinking of those events but they were foremost in people’s minds at the time in which the film was released. Without a doubt the critical and audience reaction to a film directed by Scorcese and starring DeNiro as a deranged and obsessed fan who kidnaps his idol was influenced by those events.

    This unease was certainly behind Johnny Carson’s decision not to appear in a role that had obviously been written for him.

    "By the way, don’t touch the figs."

  15. Rupert_Pupkin1
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    We’re talking about an actor in their 20s or 30s that can deliver dialogue at a quick pace and look like a loon. Impossible casting?

    What about:

    Adrien Brody

    Billy Crudup

    Jake Gyllenhaal

    ‘I know, Jerry, that you are as human as the rest of us, if not more so’

  16. Malick663
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    I honestly think this film is a masterpiece in every sense of the word and should be held in acclaim as much as Marty’s big 3. It’s one of those films where I rarely see people talk about, but when I do they have nothing but great things to say about it.

    FYC: http://i41.tinypic.com/345lr47.jpg

  17. pika317-1
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    that line made me smile

    seemed to make the whole thing worth it for him

    his routine was more than a comedy routine, it was almost a life story

    and even if the part with the book and show were imagined,

    the part where he goes to the bar and watches it at the bar seemed to be all he wanted

    impress the girl he liked, and get noticed by random people who liked his act

    thought a lot of things from this movie were great

    from the imaginary sequences to the craziness of the fans

    to the realism of being a tv star

    underrated movie

    to say the least

    8/10

  18. Joe_Garelli
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    I found it odd that there was no mention of Masha being arrested at all because she was Rupert Pupkin’s accomplice and held Jerry Langford hostage at her parents townhouse, surely Jerry would have remembered where the house was and told the police and FBI about Masha and her name and she would have gone to prison for kidnapping Jerry along with Rupert.

    Although Masha would get into trouble stalking Jerry and calling his apartment and jumping into his limo too, all of the various things that she had done without Rupert helping her.

    I find it odd that Masha seemingly gets away with what she has helped Rupert to do because she has it coming and was crazy herself, running down the streets of New York City after Jerry in her underwear and acting more unstable than Rupert was, and Masha might have wanted to get arrested because she would have been famous for kidnapping her idol and almost getting sexual with him, at least in her own mind.

    But Masha seemingly getting getting away and not getting caught is absurd, especially since it was her house and car that were used to hold Jerry, and she had stalked him before, Masha was less of a threat and more of a pain in the ass than Rupert was but she would likely continue to stalk Jerry if she was not arrested, Masha was the real nutjob and also pathetic, at least Rupert becomes famous, Masha just remains a loser with a horrible haircut.

  19. jeffheslop
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    I think so. Anyone else agree?

  20. BenLinusisLost
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    how much sex, nudity and profanity does this movie have? If any?

    And second-ly, i know you are the marriage expert, oh wait i forgot, your wife is dead!

  21. greg888
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    At the very end, when Rupert comes to the bar to show Rita his appearance on the Langford show, Rita’s hair is long again. Remember? She had just cut her hair for the visit to Jerry’s home. Just wondering why the decision was made to have her with long hair again at the end (suggesting she’s wearing a wig to work).

    "Danny’s not here, Mrs. Torrance"

  22. joliet_jane
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    For famous people, King of Comedy must be a horror movie. This is one of those bizarre "life imitating art" things:

    A few years ago Conan O’Brien was stalked by a Catholic Priest (no s***, dude!). He followed him, harassed his parents, and sent him threatening letters, one of which said:


    TO CALL MYSELF A SORT OF RUPERT PUPKIN (REMEMBER DeNIRO HERE) IS PERHAPS NOT FAR OFF THE MARK.

    Ghastly.

    Story and letters here:

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/1108071conan1.html

    Isn’t it weird too that around the time the "I’m With COCO" rallies happened, Martin Scorsese was a guest on his show?

  23. joliet_jane
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    The ending must either be completely fake or a prelude to doom for Rupert.

    For every crazy fan there are a dozen more. They’ll come after him and Masha, saying "How dare you lay a finger on him!" It’s a well-known fact that John Lennon’s murder will never be paroled because Lennon’s fans want to take his life. Rupert cannot get away from those who are his match.

    They might do it because they really respect Jerry, or because they just want to get into his pants, or have fantasies of closeness with him (exactly like Rupert does when he pretend to protect him at the start of the movie), but they’ll do it either way.

  24. Ada_Inma
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    I noticed Rita looked very sad or nostalgic in some conversations with De Niro, or simply whe she looked at him..the look of her eyes showed sadness and a deep feeling.Then i knew ,Diahnne was separated from De Niro in that time,when they filmed the movie.They married in 1976 or 1977 but 3 years after,they separated and when this movie was filmed they were getting ready to sign the divorce papers..In the movie you can see a scene where they are marrying¡¡¡ That hurts,man..:(

    Anybody else felt the actress played Rita seemed too much umconfortable talking or acting? even in scenes where she should show happiness or relax..It is like she wants to tell him something or was begging with the eyes..

    Jimmy Doyle and his orchestra

  25. Beeleave
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    …a talentless classless hack who stole Tonight from Carson like Pupkin did Jerry in The King of Comedy (1982). Mumbles his jokes, repeats back his interviews, with NBC giving him all the "respect" he deserved every step of his "career."

  26. LynchScorsese
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    Can someone tell me why this movie had it’s premiere in Iceland?

  27. GG_Pan
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    Off the top of my head, there’s:

    -Pupnik

    -Pumpkin


    "You don’t have to do this."

  28. bmovies
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    How would they diagnose him?

  29. franzkabuki
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    Not that it´s of any great importance, but there was one odd thing I noticed that kinda reeks of a possible "goof" – when Pupkin arrives at Langfords summer house with Rita, the first thing he says to the servant is "you must be Jonno, right?". I mean, how did he know the servants name – as far as I remember, Langford did not mention his name at any time prior to the visit, and – why would he have done that, anyway? He never invited Pupkin so he had no reason to talk about his staff, even off camera. The only sensible explanation I can think of, would be that there might have been a cut scene with Pupkin calling the summerhouse in advance. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to dish ´em out.

  30. Katz5
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    Years ago I heard about a possible remake with Jim Carrey and Jack Black.

    I usually oppose remakes but this sounded intriguing to me. Who would play Rupert and who would play Jerry?

    Dude means nice guy. Dude means a regular sort of person.

  31. bigboss888
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    1.Mean Streets

    2.Taxi Driver

    3.King Of Comedy

    4.Raging Bull

    5.After Hours

    I seen GoodFellas to many times

  32. Anonymous
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  33. suckerdwsp316
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    wtf ???? this movie has been credited as being released in 1983 since… 1983!!! who the *beep* changed the release year on imdb?? who??? whyy??? wtf!!!!!

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