Time: 101 mins.
Genre: Black Comedy
THE KING OF COMEDY was Scorsese and De Niro's fourth film together and their first and only comic collaboration, which is a real shame considering De Niro has recently been showing a real talent for comedy. This film is, of course, given who's behind the camera, more on the dark and twisted end of the comic spectrum, but is very funny nonetheless. De Niro's character Rupert Pupkin one of the best film names ever is more than a little deranged, so the territory is not exactly new for either star or director. It's just this time around their sick, little world just happens to be more funny than dangerous. Though I guess that would depend which character you were. De Niro completely disappears into this nerdy, wacky, obsessive stand-up persona, so much so, at first you almost believe Rupert's fantasies are actually happening.
I saw this film for the first time several years ago and it struck me as one of those movies that should be more popular than it is. Maybe most people can't relate to a delusional kidnapper, but I don't see why not. He's only going after what he's always wanted one shot to prove that he's the latest and greatest stand-up comedian. See, Rupert knows that his material is good. All he wants is for Jerry Langford (Lewis), host of the most popular late night talk show, to listen to his material. He actually gets to meet Jerry when he helps him escape from Marsha, one of his more rabid fans. Jerry's not exactly thrilled with Rupert's presence either, but allows him to stay in the limo because he seems harmless.
Rupert cajoles Jerry into agreeing to listen to his audition tape, which isn't very hard since Jerry will say just about anything to get Rupert to leave him alone. Rupert, of course, takes him at his word and even begins fantasizing about their new "friendship." He even tries to convince an old high school acquaintance Rita (Abbott) that he's old friends with Jerry and is going to appear on his show. Rupert creates his tape and drops it off at the show. When he's brushed off by one of Jerry's assistants, Ms. Shaw, who thinks the material was good, but needs some refining, he goes crazy and refuses to leave, demanding to see Jerry.