- Tony Randall, playing himself, to the director of the talk show, played by Martin Scorsese
Premiere - 11/01/1994
"...Ahead of its time....[Watching De Niro] is an entertainment in and of itself..."
New York Times - 02/18/1983
"...A total surprise and completely satisfying. Yet it's also bristly, sometimes manic to the edge of lunacy and, along the way, terrifying..."
New York Times - 12/25/1983
Included in The New York Times "10 BEST FILMS OF 1983"
Variety - 02/09/1983
"...DeNiro turns in another virtuoso performance for Scorsese....Diahnne Abbott is excellent..."
USA Today - 12/20/2002
"...[A] modern-day classic..."
Sight and Sound - 08/01/2004
"[R]arely less than riveting....Scorsese never lets the tone topple into farce, refraining from stylistic fireworks to let the performances command the spotlight."
Martin Scorsese's THE KING OF COMEDY is a brutally funny depiction of the dangers of celebrity fandom. Robert De Niro plays the ridiculously inept Rupert Pupkin, 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 cardboard 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 (a scene-stealing Sandra Bernhard), to kidnap Langford in exchange for a chance to let him deliver his routine on the air. De Niro and Lewis deliver scorching performances that are at once tragic and hysterical, making for an unsettling yet highly stimulating viewing experience. Paul D. Zimmerman's script takes the time to truly crawl inside the mind of a lunatic, exposing celebrity worship as the ludicrous problem that it is. THE KING OF COMEDY stands firmly as one of Scorsese's most terrifying films.
A savage critique of celebrity fanaticism gone off the deep end, THE KING OF COMEDY is a truly unsettling portrait of a delusional man who becomes infatuated with a talk-show host. When he realizes that his hero wants nothing to do with him, he kidnaps him in one final attempt to make it on the air. Hysterical and biting, Martin Scorsese's film contains unforgettable performances from Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, and Sandra Bernhard.