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Martin Scorsese's The King Of Comedy is a funny depiction of the dangers of celebrity fandom. Robert De Niro plays the ridiculously inept Rupert Rupkin, an aspiring comic who idolizes talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). Still living at home with his mother, Rupert spends his days trying to arrange a meeting with his hero. When he isn't doing that, he's at home talking to carboard cutouts in his makeshift television studio. After Rupert convinces Rita (Diahnne Abbot), a pretty bartender, that Langford has invited them to his house outside the city, the reality of the situation makes itself painfully apparent upon arriving at the star's front door. Trouble is, Rupert's too delusional to take the hint. He eventually hatches a plan with an equally obsessed fan, Masha (Sandra Berhard), to kidnap Langford in exchange for a chance to let him deliver his routine on the air.
The King of Comedy, which flopped at the box office, is actually a gem waiting to be rediscovered. Like A Face in the Crowd (a not-so-distant cousin to this film), Network, and The Truman Show, its target is show business--specifically the burning desire to become famous or be near the famous, no matter what. Robert De Niro plays the emotionally unstable, horrendously untalented Rupert Pupkin, a wannabe Vegas-style comedian. His fantasies are egged on by Marsha, a talk-show groupie (brilliantly played by Sandra Bernhard) who hatches a devious, sure-to-backfire plan. Jerry Lewis is terrific in the straight role as the Johnny Carson-like talk-show host Jerry Langford. De Niro's performance as the obsessive Pupkin is among his finest (which is saying a lot) and he never tries to make the character likable in any way. Because there's no hero and no one to root for, and because at times the film insists we get a little too close and personal with Pupkin, some will be put off. Yet it's one of Scorsese's most original and fascinating films, giving viewers much to consider on the subject of celebrity. Its inevitable climax is clever and quietly horrific. --Christopher J. Jarmick --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Journalist Paul Zimmerman wrote the script for The King of Comedy nearly 40 years ago.
Its concept was so far ahead of its time that even celluloid sooth-Sayer and noted... Read more
This scathing comedy about fame, television and hangers on to both is one of the best film roles Robert DeNiro has taken on. Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by Larry VanDeSande
Martin Scorsese's brilliant satire about a wannabe standup/schmuck played with deliberate humorlessness by De Niro, who suffers from delusions of grandeur, determined to meet his... Read morePublished on Feb. 29 2004 by Nearly Nubile
How often do you see a film for the first time in which you get so embarrased for the star you want to press stop every 15 minutes! Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2004 by Carl Market
I think this is definatley the most underrated film for Marty/Deniro and possibly even for Deniro. King of Comedy is the portral of Rupert Pupkin who has dreams of late night... Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2004 by Scottie
"Better to be king for a night than a schmuck for a lifetime."
As Travis Bickle's universally known line of dialogue from "Taxi Driver" has a deep meaning ("Are you talkin' to... Read more
De Niro is great, and Lewis gives his best performance. Bernhardt is delightfully eccentric. Watch it twice--once you know how it turns out, the whole movie has a different... Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2003 by Scaramouche
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have their most under rated teaming here. The film had some scenes that I felt were perhaps more disturbing than those in the infamous Taxi... Read morePublished on July 31 2003 by J. Christal