March 20, 2023

Lavish Lizard

Once Upon A Time In Old Hollywood

Robert De Niro In The King Of Comedy

3 min read

Robert De Niro in the King Of Comedy

I saw The King Of Comedy at the Pembroke Mall theater located in Virginia Beach, VA. The year 1982 yes that long ago. The King Of Comedy did not do well at the box office. I noticed very vividly half the theater was empty. This very black comedy had a budget of $20,000,000 and grossed a mire $2,000,000; So it lost a gigantic amount of money, and because of which the De Niro Scorsese relationship between the two might have been severely bruised. I think perhaps may have been one of several contribution factors why they stopped working together. As per Scorsese which included a very bad script and a grueling schedule.

The King Of Comedy last De Niro Scorsese collaboration till Goodfellas 1990

So I was at the theater by myself. I always liked Robert De Niro a big fan since I saw him in The Godfather Part ll. So let’s check this film out. Now for a lacking a better word. The King Of Comedy was a very very bizarre and almost fantasy like film in some respects. Robert De Niro’s performance was in the top 5 best of his roles I’ve ever seen, and why was this you ask. I didn’t realize what he was doing until I watched the film again years later then it hit me. The director Martin Scorsese said this was Robert De Niro’s best performance under his direction.

A more serious Lewis

Robert De Niro’s character was a struggling stand up comedian. He’s working as a New York City messenger living at home with is mother. Robert De Niro’s character Rupert Pupkin trying to make it on the Jerry Langford show. A late night talk show modeled after Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. We have Jerry Lewis in the role of Jerry Langford. We all remember Jerry Lewis as a funny comedian making very funny films, with his partner Dean Martin as part of one of the greatest comedy teams of all time. Their careers beginning in the mid 1940’s to the mid 1950’s; However Lewis takes on a totally different role, and more of a type of part I wish I had seen more of Jerry Lewis say in the late 1960’s and the 1970’s more darker comedies or serious dramas. I really enjoyed this film because you see a very different Jerry Lewis.

We all know everything is inept about De Niro’s character including is stupid name Rupert Pupkin. The most interesting thing I discovered. Robert De Niro was in a sense playing three different versions of Rupert Pupkin. The first was the dumb comic wanna be doing everything he could to get his monologue tape in front of Jerry Langford. He went as far as to crash his Hamptons estate. The second version of Pupkin is the serious kidnapper who would really kill Jerry Langford if he dose not comply with his demands.

Pupkin arrested after performance

We can see it’s very clear now in the third version of the Pupkin character. This guy has become now the confident well scripted stand up comedian. The audience is laughing at his jokes with breaks for applause. The King Of Comedy is one of these films I saw in the theater with a lot of empty seats. Robert De Niro was as big a star in the early 1980’s’ and Martin Scorsese was at the top of his game as a director.

It was maybe a bad script, bad story, Bad director, bad choice of actors who knows. The King Comedy is a film you really need to watch maybe one time and move on. It’s fine for De Niro fans, or old comedy Jerry Lewis followers. You have some cameos from Liza Minelli, Tony Randall, Joyce Brothers, and Victor Borge. I strongly agree that De Niro deserved an Academy Award nomination. Then again maybe everyone didn’t see what I saw. The King Of Comedy pops up on TMC occasionally. If perhaps when it dose check it out

Robert De Niro in the King Of Comedy

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