“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Let me introduce myself. My name is Rupert Pupkin. I was born in Clifton, New Jersey… which was not at that time a federal offense.”
If you don’t know that image, you have missed one of the greatest films ever made – a searing look at the pursuit of fame and the price that celebrities pay for stardom.
Behold The Kings Of Comedy!
What an amazing event! The Tribeca film festival held the 30th anniversary screening of “The King Of Comedy” – and then hosted a “once in a lifetime” discussion afterwards…more on that in a moment, but first:
The King Of Comedy
Without a doubt, one of the best films ever made – released in 1982, and the points that the film makes about the relationship between star and fan is never more true today…especially when you consider “how” Rupert Pupkin becomes a “star”…
Here is the trailer:
Rupert Pupkin: “The more scribbled the name, the bigger the fame.”
Robert DeNiro has never been better! DeNiro stars as aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin – who wants to achieve success in showbiz, by ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
Look at the opening title: Talk Show Host Jerry Langford’s hands up against the glare of the cameras – and Rupert Pupkin’s determined look inside the limo – where he yearns to be…
Pupkin idolizes late night King Jerry Langford, played brilliant by legendary comic actor Jerry Lewis…but of course, what Rupert sees as a budding friendship is little more than a fan stalking a star…and the moments when you see Rupert “hosting” his own talk show – in his basement with cardboard cutouts of stars – simply brilliant:
It comes to a head when Langford has to tell Pupkin to leave him alone, which leads to this exchange:
Rupert Pupkin: I’m gonna work 50 times harder, and I’m gonna be 50 times more famous than you.
Jerry Langford: Then you’re gonna have idiots like you plaguing your life!
Sandra Bernhard’s Debut!
Comedian Sandra Bernhard makes an incendiary debut as a young socialite who is friends with Pupkin – and who has her own designs on late night Host Langford…
“You Should Get Cancer! I Hope You Get Cancer!”
The film really digs into the cult of celebrity – and the price you pay for fame….
When Jerry Langford is walking down the street, he is stopped by a woman talking on the telephone. When Jerry refuses to talk to someone on the phone, the lady says I hope you get cancer. This incident actually happened to Jerry Lewis. According to Scorsese, Lewis directed this segment himself!
And of course, things spiral horribly out of control – as Rupert Pupkin decides there is really only ONE way to become a star – and the film really captures the cult of celebrity and the downside of fame…
Rupert Pupkin: Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.
The King Of Comedy Reunion!
To acknowledge the 30th anniversay of this classic film, The Tribeca Film Festival held a screening, followed by a Q&A involving Scorsese, DeNiro and Lewis…
The reunion was a big big night for the Tribeca film festival – especially considering that “King Of Comedy” was a huge box office flop at its time of release – especially since “Raging Bull” had been the previous Scorsese/DeNiro collaboration – and was considered a masterpiece.
Now, “The King Of Comedy” has grown to become a true masterpiece as well…the only disappointment to the night was Bernhard’s inability to attend:
Bernhard did, however, send a video message to be played at the event…and if you want to hear how “tense” the relationship between Lewis and Bernhard is – here is a link to a great write up from Movieline that details it all…including a short clip from the event!
Congrats to the entire creative team behind this neglected masterpiece!