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The King of Comedy

(Rated M)

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"Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime"

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Overview

Serially unsuccessful entertainer Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) is obsessed with becoming a comedy great. Endlessly passionate but an abject failure, he spends his days hosting an imaginary talk show in his mother's basement. After he meets his idol – actual talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) – he's quickly convinced the connection will provide his big break. But when Langford gives him the run-around, Pupkin begins stalking the man and soon teams up with his somewhat psychotic friend Masha (Sandra Bernhard) to kidnap the unlucky television star.

Why You Should See This Film

The opening film at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival, The King of Comedy is a pitch-black satire of celebrity culture and obsessive fandom. Although Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Orson Welles were all initially considered for the role of Jerry Langford, it’s a small miracle that the part eventually went to veteran Jerry Lewis. Alongside De Niro and a career-best Bernhard, he delivers a beautifully hilarious performance for the ages. One of the main thematic inspirations behind this year’s Joker, it also features delectable cameos from the likes of Victor Borge, Tony Randall and even members of The Clash.

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  • Year: 1983
  • Rating: M
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Cast: Robert De Niro, Sandra Bernhard, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott
  • Duration: 109 minutes
  • Language: English
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