The King of Comedy


The screenplay was written in 1972 by the late Paul D. Zimmerman, who was working as a film reviewer for "Newsweek" at the time. He won the British Film Industry's 1983 award for Best Original Screenplay for this movie.

-Thanks to Nicholas Lindell

More Trivia from The King of Comedy
Aspiring stand up comedian Rupert Pupkin is a nobody looking for his big break.

No one will give him a shot.

What they don't know is how far off the deep end he's willing to go to get it.

Rupert (De Niro) is obsessed with becoming a comedy great. Hopelessly inept (to say the least), he still lives at home with his mother and spends his days trying to arrange a meeting with his idol, talk show host Jerry Langford (Lewis). When he isn't doing that, he's in the basement, interviewing cardboard cutouts of his favorite talk show regulars in his makeshift television studio.

He finally catches Jerry on the street and 'rescues' him from Langford-obsessed basket case Masha (Bernhard). Rupert guilts Jerry into an interview to be on Jerry's show, an obvious brush-off on Jerry's part just to get rid of this annoying guy.

As expected (by everyone except Rupert), Rupert gets the run-around by Jerry's assistant Cathy Long (Hack), and naturally, Rupert is too delusional to get the hint. He goes so far as to convince former high-school crush Rita (Abbott), a pretty bartender, that Langford has invited them to his house outside the city and she accompanies him to visit Jerry. The reality of the situation makes itself painfully apparent upon arriving at the star's front door.

Ever-determined, Rupert does not give up and persists in stalking Jerry until he gets what he wants, in a delicate balancing act between the amusing and the terrifying. Eventually he teams up with Masha to kidnap the talk show host, in exchange for getting to perform his stand-up routine on Jerry's show. Using a gun-shaped cigarette lighter, the pair abduct the popular host.

The duo find themselves quite effective at this kidnapping business. Rupert gets his shot, while Masha gets what she's always wanted... Jerry Langford bound in duct tape.


Hilarious as it is frightening, Martin Scorsese's black comedy contains unforgettable performances from Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, and the scene-stealing Sandra Bernhard.

The audience finds itself moving quickly from laughter, to sympathy, to fear and back again.

Simultaneously, tragic and hysterical, an unsettling yet highly stimulating viewing experience.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Darkly humorous, great performances by De Niro, Lewis and Bernhard.

Weaknesses? Not for those who do not enjoy dark and disturbing humor.

Our rating: 9 out of 10

Review Written by Kimberley A. Wren:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Kimberley A. Wren
The King of Comedy