Friday, February 5, 2016

704. The King of Comedy

The King of Comedy
Directed by Martin Scorsese

I am more stunned that I liked this movie than when I found out Ray was a fan of A Christmas Story.  After all, I haven't been able to classify recent Scorsese films as "enjoyable" (though I still admit they are masterpieces) and it has Jerry Lewis in a lead role!  Jerry Lewis!

Rupert Pupkin aspires to be a famous stand up comedian and believes his big break has come when he meets Jerry Langford, a well known talk show host.  Obviously, Langford quickly identifies him as an unstable hanger-on. Rupert then hatches a scheme to kidnap Langford with another handy stalker in order to secure an opening spot on his late night show.

Obviously, the acting is spectacular and Jerry Lewis is actually tolerable here.  According to Lewis, he was simply playing himself.  I would like to believe him, although I can't picture the character Jerry Langford ever playing the Nutty Professor.  I like that the filmmakers allow the audience to decide how much of the movie is real and how much is just Rupert's fantasy.  Personally, I would like to believe it was all real, although I will stop there because I don't want to venture into spoiler territory.

This film really makes you brood on the concept of "celebrity."  It really is strange how we simultaneously despise these people and worship them.  I mean, I have never heard one person say they like any members of the Kardashian family, yet our culture is obviously obsessed with them and seemingly always will be.

Possibly my favorite Scorsese and definitely a must see movie.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Jerry Lewis directed the sequence where he is stopped in the street by a woman, as it was based on a real incident in his life.

Only film that Scorsese and De Niro did where De Niro had facial hair.  For some reason, this is important to me.


  1. Please excuse a small 'I told you so'. We have been very much in tune in loathing every Jerry Lewis character and film, and I have a couple of times said something along the lines of "ah, but he was pretty good in 'King of Comedy' "
    I think this a great film with fantastic grotesque characters commenting on a grotesque culture. As a fully signed up loather of all 'selb culture, I saw every point the film wanted to make.
    I have to confess that I only ever saw all of the story as 'real' (as opposed to Rupert's fantasy). You say some of it can be seen as fantasy? I will soon pop over to IMDb to see if there i comment on that.

    1. I think a lot of people view the ending as Rupert's fantasy! But people always want to say parts of movies were just characters' dreams or something. It is more fun to take it literally.

  2. I'd only ever assumed it was all real until I read this, but the fantasy notion would explain the ending which I otherwise found to be quite unsatisfactory. One to watch again, methinks...

    1. I kind of went thinking that it might be part fantasy, maybe because that's what everyone said about Taxi Driver.