The King of Comedy

March 4th, 1983


The King of Comedy

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Still of Robert De Niro in The King of ComedyStill of Robert De Niro and Sandra Bernhard in The King of ComedyStill of Robert De Niro in The King of ComedyStill of Robert De Niro in The King of ComedyStill of Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis in The King of ComedyStill of Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis in The King of Comedy

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.

Release Year: 1983

Rating: 7.7/10 (25,267 voted)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Stars: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott

Rupert Pupkin is obsessed with becoming a comedy great. However, when he confronts his idol, talk show host Jerry Langford, with a plea to perform on the Jerry's show, he is only given the run-around. He does not give up, however, but persists in stalking Jerry until he gets what he wants. Eventually he must team up with his psychotic Langford-obsessed friend Masha to kidnap the talk show host in hopes of finally getting to perform his stand-up routine.

Robert De Niro - Rupert Pupkin
Jerry Lewis - Jerry Langford
Diahnne Abbott - Rita Keane
Sandra Bernhard - Masha
Shelley Hack - Cathy Long
Ed Herlihy - Ed Herlihy
Lou Brown - Band leader
Loretta Tupper - Stage Door Fan
Peter Potulski - Stage Door Fan
Vinnie Gonzales - Stage Door Fan
Whitey Ryan - Stage Door Guard
Doc Lawless - Chauffeur
Marta Heflin - Young Girl
Katherine Wallach - Autograph Seeker
Charles Kaleina - Autograph Seeker

Taglines: Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but by 11:30 tonight, the whole world will know he's . . . THE KING OF COMEDY

Release Date: 4 March 1983

Filming Locations: New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross: $2,500,000 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

In his monologue on the Jerry Langford show, De Niro's character 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, moustache and cheap blue suits.

Continuity: In the final scenes between Masha and Jerry, after she undresses, her bra straps go from crossed (which is the logical choice to go with her dress) to straight.

[first lines]
Ed Herlihy: And now, from New York, The Jerry Langford Show! With Jerry's guests Tony Randall, Richard Dreyfuss, Rodney Dangerfield, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lou Brown and the orchestra, and little old me Ed Herlihy. And now say hello to Jerry!

User Review

Scorsese and De Niro's underrated black comedy masterpiece.


'The King Of Comedy' is easily Martin Scorsese's most underrated and misunderstood movie. Scorsese and Robert De Niro's previous collaboration was the brilliant boxing biopic 'Raging Bull', generally regarded by most people as a masterpiece. Then the two made 'The King Of Comedy'... What a brave move! You couldn't find a more different movie, but one just as impressive and extraordinary. This movie is disliked by many, deliberately ignored by others. It's a very uncomfortable film. It's a (very) black comedy and is genuinely funny in places, but much of it is embarrassing to watch. Not because it is inept, but because of the believability of De Niro's obnoxious and irritating "loser" and wanna be comic Rupert Pupkin. De Niro has made a lot of disappointing movies in the last few years but 'The King Of Comedy' reminds you of just how brilliant he can be. I can't think of many actors who would be brave enough to play this part! Jerry Lewis is a performer I have always disliked, but he is excellent in this movie, probably because he is playing someone very close to himself in real life. The rest of the supporting cast aren't the most obvious choices, led by confrontational comedienne Sandra Bernhard and the "forgotten" Charlie's Angel Shelley Hack. Plus there are Tony Randall and a couple of other celebrities playing themselves, and a blink and you'll miss it cameo by The Clash (!). I really admire Scorsese for taking such a risk with this movie, which is one of the most original and provocative ever released by a major Hollywood studio. Bravo! This is must see viewing for not only all Scorsese or De Niro fans, but anyone who appreciates unusual or difficult movies.


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