Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The King of Comedy (1982)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The King of Comedy (1982)

In Martin Scorsese's shocking, satirical black comedy-drama about the cult of celebrity and American media - via the character of an obsessed, mentally-unstable wannabe fan who fantasized about being a comic:

  • the character of pushy, would-be, slimeball comic and autograph collector Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro), and his hostile arguments with his off-screen mother (Catherine Scorsese), while he fantasized about being a popular comic and guest on a late night talk show hosted by his idol Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) - a Johnny Carson-like talk-show host
  • the very awkward scene of the uninvited arrival of Rupert and reluctant bartender/girlfriend and beauty queen Rita (Diahnne Abbot) at Jerry's country retreat home
Rupert Uninvited at Jerry Langford's Home with His Date Rita
  • the kidnapping of Jerry with the assistance of another love-struck, desperately-scary stalker-fan Masha (Sandra Bernhard), to force Jerry to telephone his producers (with a gun pointed at his head), read from a cue card script, and book him in the opening spot on the upcoming Jerry Langford Show (guest hosted by Tony Randall)
  • the sequence of the crazed Masha's "dream-date" with Jerry (intercut with Rupert's performance on Jerry's show), including her sexual writhing on a table in front of an immobile, duct-tape bound and gagged Langford in her parents' candlelit Manhattan apartment, and her coming-on to him: ("Let's do something crazy tonight. Just get insane. I want to be crazy. I want to be nuts. I want some fun. God-damn it. My doctor says don't have any fun. You can't have fun, No! You're not allowed to have a good time. You can't get crazy. See? I have to be in control. And I like being in control, but, you know, for one night, I'd like to see myself out of my head. Wouldn't you like to see me out of my head? Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't that be fabulous? I'm having a good time. I'm having fun. Fun is my middle name. That's right. Having some fun. I've never had this much fun before. That's right. Good ol'-fashioned, all-American fun! (She stripped down to her bra and panties) I can't believe I'm going to kiss you") - although Jerry was able to convince her to take the tape off; after he was freed, she began to ask: "Jerry, you seem a little bit..." - but she was interrupted by a slap across the face before he ran off (she followed in her underwear onto the street, screaming out: "Jerry, come back here!")
Masha's Seduction of Duct-Taped, Kidnapped Jerry Langford
  • the montage finale in which the delusional and obsessed Rupert performed the opening stand-up comedy monologue on Jerry's show, introduced as "the newest King of Comedy": ("Now, a lot of you are probably wondering why Jerry isn't with us tonight. Well, I'll tell ya. The fact is, he's tied up - and I'm the one who tied him. (laughter) Well, ha, ha, I know you think I'm joking, but believe me, that's the only way I could break into show business - by hijacking Jerry Langford. Right now, Jerry is strapped to a chair somewhere in the middle of this city. (laughter) Go ahead and laugh, thank you, I appreciate it. But the fact is, I'm here. Now, tomorrow, you'll know that I wasn't kidding and you'll think I was crazy. But look, I figured it this way: better to be King for a Night than Schmuck for a Lifetime!!! (laughter) Thank you, thank you")
  • in the conclusion, Rupert published a best-selling book: "King For a Night"; after getting out on bail after serving two years and nine months of a six-year sentence, he hosted his own talk show - (with the announcer saying: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, the man we've all been waiting for, and waiting for. Would you welcome home please, television's brightest new star. The legendary, inspirational, the one and only king of comedy. Ladies and gentlemen, Rupert Pupkin! Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen! Let's hear it for Rupert Pupkin! Wonderful! Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen! Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen! Let's hear it for Rupert Pupkin! Wonderful! Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen!")
Rupert's Best-Selling Book
Speechless in the Conclusion
  • the final concluding shot of a speechless Rupert smiling into the camera, nodding and basking in the moderate applause, as the camera slowly moved in toward him

Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) Fantasizing About Being a Comic and a Talk Show Guest

The Kidnapping of Jerry - Held at Gunpoint

Jerry Forced to Read a Cue-Card Script That Demanded An Appearance by Rupert on Langford's Show

Rupert's Performance on Jerry's Show


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