Select language, opens an overlay
The King of Comedy

The King of Comedy

DVD - 2002
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Talk show host Jerry Langford is kidnapped on his way to the studio by an aspiring stand-up comic who is short on talent but long on ambition. The ransom demand: an appearance on Langford's show to perform his routine
Publisher: [Beverly Hills, Calif] : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2002, ©1982
Edition: Widescreen ed
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 109 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Other Standard Identifier: 0024543038948


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 17, 2020

One of Scorcese's more underrated films- mainly because it takes an unflinching and brutally honest look at the entertainment industry, and it's golem-like appendage called " fame ". DeNiro gives one of his more subtle performances- all the more amazing as he was reputedly doing a lot of narcotics at the time. Jerry Lewis basically doesn't act in the film- what you see is basically what you get in real life. The film is tough but very funny- the original progenitor of ' squirm and laugh ' comedy in the US.

Sep 10, 2020

I'm catching up with Martin Scorsese's movies, watching them in chronological order, and The King of Comedy is the first one I've genuinely enjoyed, a pitch-dark satire of American media-celebrity worship that is, OK, incredible but hits its targets so solidly that it's hard not to overate. Robert de Niro as Rupert Pupkin, a star in his own mind and no mean schemer, who is disarmingly sane within the parameters of his own imagined world and never betrays his self-image, gives such a tour-de-force performance that he brings off Pupkin's triumph--the monologue he has pressured out of TV talk-and-variety host Jerry Langford is not bad at all--believably triumphantly, with only his constantly raised arms hunching the shoulders of his suit betraying any insecurity, and that insecurity is part of the act. Jerry Lewis as Langford is rather a revelation: this man can really act (though his monologue in the film, available as a bonus, not in the film per se, is rather lame; I wish it had been left in the finished film as a warning of how bad Pupkin might be). Sandra Bernhard as the out-and-out celebrity stalker, Masha, nicely points up Pupkin's relative sanity and proves the one of the three principals who is most unnerving; an inspired performance, substantially improvised, Scorsese says in the making-of bonus. Scorsese subdues his dazzling technique in TKOC and borrows from Buster Keaton for the street-action sequences as well as from Lewis, he says, for proper comic timing. The dialogue is awesomely convincing, especially when the characters are going full tilt, and it was genuine inspiration that Scorsese has his own mother as Pupkin's entirely offscreen, harrying mom. In all, a fine exercise in playing skin-crawling situations for laughs at far more than with its edgy personae. --Ray Olson

May 31, 2020

"Joker" took a lot of inspiration from this film. Watch it!

Feb 29, 2020

"The King of Comedy" is not only a very unique film, but also very entertaining. And if you love the medium of film, then it's one you need to add to your list of "must-sees." While overall it's a pleasure to watch, there's a very creepy, unsettling undercurrent running throughout as Rupert Pupkin imagines his life as a celebrity; really engrossing & simultaneously off-putting material. I saw a review in which the writer mentioned that "The King of Comedy" is a sort of companion to "Taxi Driver" and I have to agree as both films explore an uneasy underbelly of American culture. "The King of Comedy" is the best (and most watchable) work I've seen in dealing with narcissism and our celebrity-obsessed culture. It's a shame the film was not popular upon release as the writing is stunning & piquant and the actors are uniformly excellent.

Feb 14, 2020



An excellent rendition of an hilarious episode, thoughtfully conceived and executed!



A pungent black comedy about a loser showbiz hanger-on who figures out a crackpot plan to get on the most popular talk show in the USA. The end is a knockout! Too dark and cynical for many viewers, and some of them can be read below. It's really not very exaggerated, though. Lewis and De Niro turn in great performances.

Jul 27, 2019

One of Scorsese and De Niro's most offbeat and overlooked films. Due for a second look.

Mar 01, 2019


Dec 28, 2018

Hello!!????... This film's title is really "The King of Comedy" !!?? REALLY!!??

Surely it producers made a misleading and totally gross error with giving this film a title like this.

'Cause I think that a more appropriate title like "The King of Stupidity" would've been a lot more fitting as name for this idiotic rubbish.

Anyway - Not only was the direction of this film by Martin Scorsese absolutely amateurish, at best.

But, actor, Robert De Niro, playing the title character, was so lame and unconvincing in his part that he made my skin crawl with complete revulsion.

Aug 02, 2018

Enjoyable film by Martin Scorsese about a " wannabee " who kidnaps a star- this film is really a fraught drama with any laughter produced by the uncomfortable situations the mentally ill comic ( played by Robert DeNiro ) puts himself in. This isn't Scorsese's best but it is worth watching.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top