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  • TBC
  • Comedy
  • 1983
  • 108 mins

The King Of Comedy

The King Of Comedy


Scorsese took a break from the gangster films to make this brilliantly executed piece about a stand-up, who will stop at nothing to get his big break on TV

Critic's Review

Whenever Martin Scorsese makes a comedy it has an edge to it (remember the nightmarish situation in After Hours?) and King of Comedy is no exception. This is a movie which makes you shudder even as it is making you laugh. Robert De Niro stars as Rupert Pupkin, the would-be stand-up whose ambition is far more impressive than his act. He is obsessed with becoming a star, and goes to extreme lengths when talk-show host Jerry Langford (Lewis) refuses him a slot on his programme.

De Niro is both tragic and ghastly as the over-ambitious, psychotic Pupkin, trapped in a weird fantasy world, while Jerry Lewis is, ironically, funnier than he has ever been in what is technically the straight-man role. A deliciously dark commentary on the fine line between fame and infamy, which goes to great lengths to show just how far some people will go to achieve the former.

In a nutshell: Worlds away from the bravura flash of other DeNiro-Scorsese collaborations, this underrated, claustrophobic, chilling satire is particularly prescient of today's celebrity-fixated society. A modern classic.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Diahnne Abbott, Ed Herlihy, Sandra Bernhard, Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Lou Brown
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Writer: Paul Zimmerman
  • Producer: Arnon Milchan
  • Photographer: Fred Schuler

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