The King of Comedy

1983

The King of Comedy

Critics Consensus

Largely misunderstood upon its release, The King of Comedy today looks eerily prescient, and features a fine performance by Robert DeNiro as a strangely sympathetic psychopath.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 53
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Movie Info

Martin Scorsese's satirical comedy/drama caustically explores the lengths to which a nobody will go to be as famous as his idol. Practicing his patter in his basement with cardboard cut-outs of his favorite celebrities, mediocre aspiring comedian Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) believes that one appearance on the evening talk show of the Johnny Carson-esque Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) will be his ticket to stardom. After he helps Jerry escape the advances of amorous fan Masha (Sandra Bernhard), Rupert takes Jerry's patronizing brush-off as a true promise for an audition and begins haunting Jerry's office. Provoked by Masha's needling and a rejection from Jerry's smooth production exec Cathy Long (Shelley Hack), Rupert makes a disastrous trip to Jerry's country house with embarrassed date Rita (Diahnne Abbott), then hatches an even more outlandish scheme to get ahead. With Masha's help, Rupert kidnaps Jerry and demands as ransom the TV appearance that he believes will turn his fantasy into reality.

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Cast

Robert De Niro
as Rupert Pupkin
Jerry Lewis
as Jerry Langford
Ed Herlihy
as Himself
Whitey Ryan
as Stage Door Guard
Doc Lawless
as Chauffeur
Lou Brown
as Band Leader
Marta Heflin
as Young Girl
Katherine Wallach
as Autograph Seeker
Charlene Kaleina
as Autograph Seeker
Scotty Bloch
as Crockett's Secretary
Richard Baratz
as Caricaturist
Catherine Scorsese
as Rupert's Mom
Charles Low
as Man in Chinese Restaurant
Leslie Levinson
as Roberta Posner
Margo Winkler
as Receptionist
Sel Vitella
as Man at Telephone
Tony Boschetti
as Mr. Gangemi
Loretta Tupper
as Stage Door Fan
Shelley Hack
as Cathy Long
Matt Russo
as Cabbie
Thelma Lee
as Woman in Phone Booth
Joe Strummer
as Street Scum
George Kapp
as Mystery Guest
Victor Borge
as Himself
Marvin Scott
as Newsman
Ralph Monaco
as Raymond Wirtz
Ellen Foley
as Street Scum
Martin Scorsese
as TV director
Tony Randall
as Himself
Tony Devon
as Plainclothesman
Edgar J. Scherick
as Wilson Crockett
Peter Fain
as Plainclothesman
Ray Dittrich
as Giardello
Jay Julien
as Langford's Lawyer
Scotty Block
as Crockett's Secretary
Jeff David
as Announcer
Mick Jones
as Street Scum
Diane Rachell
as Mrs. McCabe
Jimmy Raitt
as Stage Manager
Charles Scorsese
as Man at Bar
Kim Chan
as Jonno
Mardik Martin
as Man at Bar
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News & Interviews for The King of Comedy

Critic Reviews for The King of Comedy

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (10)

  • Scorsese is capable of building tension, but what is he trying to achieve? A comedy about the nature of fame? But he evokes only the most nervous of laughter.

    Oct 17, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Scorsese infuses this tale with the passionate energy of New York street life and an outsider's wonder at the powerful workings of show business and studio craft.

    Jun 27, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Brilliantly keeps viewers unmoored, the result of its consistently off-kilter tone.

    Jun 21, 2016 | Full Review…
  • The King of Comedy fancies itself a scathing social satire about the lust for celebrity carried to extremes. But ultimately, director Martin Scorsese's movie is a severely misconceived and distasteful study of delusional behavior.

    Dec 18, 2015 | Full Review…
  • It is frustrating to watch, unpleasant to remember, and, in its own way, quite effective.

    Jan 25, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The uncenteredness of the film is irritating, though it's irritating in an ambitious, risk-taking way.

    Mar 31, 2008 | Full Review…

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