The King of Comedy – Helluva Movie

(For SI blog reader Kurf)

It’s past midnight, here on the East Coast.

And here we are, the gin-soaked desis popping the DVD into our Panasonic player to watch the Martin Scorsese-directed film The King of Comedy.

Featuring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis, the movie debuted in the U.S. about 27 years back.

We don’t know how well The King of Comedy did at the box office but the movie made it to many of the critics’ list of top movies.

We’ll update this post after finishing the movie.


Folks, The King of Comedy is one helluva movie.

Here’s a great line – and pretty prescient too (more on that later) – from the movie that in a sense sums up the film:

Better to be King for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.

Robert De Niro plays Rupert Pupkin a desperate, ambitious aspiring standup comedian obsessed with getting on the Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) late-night TV show.

As with most humans, overweening ambition outstrips limited talent in the case of Rupert Pupkin too.

Refusing to take no for an answer, the 34-year-old Rupert, first alone and later with Langford stalker Masha, resorts to some extremely unorthodox techniques to try and get on the Langford show.

Robert De Niro is superb as the will-not-take-no-for-an-answer wannabe comic.

While this 27-year-old movie is an interesting take on the lengths some people will go to to get an entree into the entertainment arena, recent events in the U.S. such as the hoax involving the missing boy and the gatecrashing into the White House dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a few months ago suggests if anything that Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Zimmerman were prescient and, maybe, ahead of their times.

Given the repeated fantasy elements shown in the earlier part of the movie, is the ending too merely an act of Rupert’s hyperactive, vivid imagination.

Hey, this is a movie and whichever way you look at it you can’t go wrong.

It’s all a fantastical act! Right?

In parting, we’d say you’d be a big schmuck not to watch The King of Comedy. The DVD can be rented from Netflix.

9 Responses to "The King of Comedy – Helluva Movie"

  1. sganeshkumar1989   April 18, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Robert de Niro,I believe,is the greatest actor alive.I’ve watched all the successful movies directed by Martin Scorsese with de Niro(Mean Streets,Taxi Driver,R5aging Bull,Cape Fear,Goodfellas and Casino).

    New York New York and King of Comedy were duds though,but it seems Scorsese found de Niro’s performance in King of Comedy to be the best.

    I’ve not seen it yet,but I’ll see it sooner or later;I though believe that it can’t exceed De Niro’s performance in Raging Bull.
    You must watch Raging Bull and then Goodfellas.

    If you want to know what great acting means,watch Raging Bull.

    Goodfellas,on the other hand,is a benchmark for Best directed film.

    • sganeshkumar1989   April 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      Surprised to see you publishing a comment without your response. πŸ˜€ Responds:

      Let’s blame it on the terminally sick, chronically indolent, perpetually indifferent night-shift coolie. πŸ˜‰

  2. The Mahatma   April 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    desis ?
    how many? how many girls and how many boys? Responds:

    We (the royal we) always use the plural. πŸ˜‰

    BTW, have you seen this film?

    • The Mahatma   April 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      No.. haven’t watched it.. and with the 1-disc-at-a-time plan, it is almost impossible to order older movies.. will wait for it to come on streaming. Right now I have the “Up in the Air” disc at home.

  3. STG   April 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    offtopic: Have you got around to watch English Patient? I bumped over that disc while searching something else and watched last weekend. Setup in Africa between pre and post second world war at the background. It tell the story about the aftermath of the illegal affair between a geographer who is working on creating map of north Africa and a married woman. Initially it start like a war film but eventually love takes the center stage towards the end.

    p.s. After watching, i was moved at the climax and queried wiki about this film only to get shocked since it bagged 9 oscars with box office success upon its release. Responds:

    Alas, no.

    Most certainly, a worth seeing film.

    Naveen Andrews has a role too.

    • STG   April 19, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      Naveen plays a role of Indian Sikh, mine field clearer. He has a little role but leaves traces on us when he denies Juliette’s love reasoning his risky work environment.

      It’s Ralph who set the screen afire and leaves you in tears. Responds:

      We’ll watch it in the near future.

      • The Mahatma   April 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm

        It’s Ralph who set the screen afire and leaves you in tears. ?
        you are certified gay πŸ™‚

        • STG   April 21, 2010 at 8:44 pm

          Is there something called “certified” gay?!

          btw i am aware of my sexuality since i was 19 and dedicated my life as a gay activist in acquiring (rather conquering) the basic rights and eradicating discrimination against us.

          the line you mentioned above credits to Ralph’s nuanced acting before and after the dismal of his illegal-girlfriend and the apt background score.

          however, doesn’t Ralph look like freshly baked hot cake in this film (i meant the flashback scenes)?
          p.s. hope my boyfriend doesn’t read this πŸ˜‰


          The ‘Mahatma’ will likely respond to this in a few hours.

          • The Mahatma   April 22, 2010 at 7:37 am

            straight men usually don’t cry for stuff like that.. and even if they did they wouldn’t admit it πŸ™‚

            Rock on.. I think Indians would be much more hostile towards homosexuals than Americans (Americans at least pretend that they are nice). It’ll take real guts to “come out” in India. Bravo!

            No, I didn’t think Ralph was hot (at least I won’t admit it πŸ˜‰ ). I found Kristin Scott Thomas to be extremely hot.. found those scenes as some of the most sensual I have ever seen (and I have seen plenty of “sensual” scenes).

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