The King of Comedy (1982) Review


Rupert Pupkin sees himself as an amazing comedian something that could not be further from the truth. He wants nothing more than to be in the spotlight and in trying to achieve this he ends up kidnapping his idol Jerry Langford.


Talk show host Jerry Langford is very popular and has a rather crazy fan base that wait outside of his shows and pretty much attack him. All to just get close to him, when Rupert one night actually helps him he also thinks he is able to help himself and will get his big break on the show. But considering he has invaded Jerry’s personal space and inside his car Jerry would say pretty much anything to get rid of the madman.

Rupert does not realise any of this and takes Jerry’s word that he can appear on the show when this doesn’t happen and he is passed from person to person he takes it way too far and ends up kidnapping Jerry along with another psychotic female fan Masha who really does have plenty of her own issues!

I found this film a little bit strange in the sense that it is a Martin Scorsese film but it does not feel like it. Very different to the style and type he has in his filmography and this is both a good and bad thing. Good because it is different, bad because it is not what I was expecting at all. I fully realise that this is a contradiction but that is how I felt when I was watching this film.

Robert De Niro’s engaging performance was the best thing going for the whole film and without him leading it really would not have the same impact. He creates the character of Rupert who while we know has gone way too far we cannot help but sympathise with him and feel truly sorry for what he is doing. He is lost in his own mind and alternate reality. Surely everyone at some point has had a pretend life that they wish was actually real? I have to admit that my knowledge of Jerry Lewis is very limited and I probably haven’t realised how good his performance is because of that. Playing the fully straight character to De Niro’s king of comedy and the crazy turns he is about to take.

Very pleased to have caught up with this film even though it is clear that 2019’s Joker has totally ripped off the storyline from this film, which has actually influenced how I feel about that.

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