For three decades, the 70s to the 90s, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro often collaborated with creating great films. In more than 20 years, they were able to produce eight films. All of those films also won many Oscar nominations despite winning only three of them. Before collaborating with Leonardo DiCaprio, people more often got to know both of them as a successful actor-director collaboration. And “The King of Comedy” is one of their underrated works from them.
“The King of Comedy” is the first comedy film from Scorsese and De Niro. Indeed, we often know them with films about gangsters and crime. These films became very dominant between both of them. But, “The King of Comedy” isn’t so separated from the elements of crime and dark comedy itself. It’s more like irony and sad from Robert De Niro’s Rupert Pupkin and Jerry Lewis‘ Jerry Langford. Probably, Scorsese has predicted how bad and toxic a fanbase and fanboy were. It’s about De Niro’s Pupkin, pioneering career as a stand-up comedian.
For Rupert, his work as a celebrity signature hunter was nothing special. However, he only has one dream, which is to become a famous stand-up comedian. One day, Rupert was on the set of Jerry a Langford talk show. An incident where one of Jerry’s fanboys is a bit crazy, Masha (Sandra Bernhard), is determined to get into Jerry’s car. At such a moment, Rupert tried to control the situation and finally managed to save Jerry. However, at the same time, he got into the comedian’s car.
For Rupert, this is fate. The road to success for him has begun. Rupert, the naive yet innocent, was very confident that Jerry could help him become famous by appearing on his talk show. But, it’s not as easy as Rupert’s dream would run smoothly. “The King of Comedy” is a description of various matters related to fame. Rupert Pupkin is the clearest picture in this film. He has a dream of becoming famous by using an easy shortcut. Rupert hopes Jerry can help him achieve this success and give him a guest chair.
Rupert insisted that Jerry be willing to admit his abilities. He hopes that Jerry can give a free position in his talk show. However, Jerry refused it continuously and Rupert still didn’t give up in met with Jerry and even met him directly at his residence. He just wanted to immediately appear at the big event where Jerry Langford guided him. Yet, Jerry is just a celebrity like celebrities in real life. He still has a life like an ordinary person but also he has strong reasons why he strongly rejects Rupert’s existence.
“The King of Comedy” has many pity and irony of the two characters, between Rupert and Jerry. Jerry is just an arrogant celebrity and also falls into the trap of popularity, making his life filled with pressure. Just like Rupert, the delusional, a man and his dream and delusion, want to take easy steps to achieve this fame even in a unique way but uses a little “violence”. This movie shows these two characters with the reasons of why, how, and what. It’s also very difficult when you ask me who deserves to be rooted.
Rupert Pupkin is a lonely guy, a 34-years-old man, who has a close life with nothingness. He still lives with his mother, has no friends, many women reject him, his career is very dark, etc. Apart from this is a dark comedy movie, this movie is also so depressing to look at, like seeing a reflection of ourselves. He is more like a naive guy, always thinking that everything will go easily. Only, Rupert never thought about the consequences and how the details. He only saw the results at the end of the rainbow, not the process.
I honestly thought the ending had a similar case with “Taxi Driver“. Both of them have a similar context about a guy who seems delusional about his existence. In this movie, there is also a similar feeling when I first watched “Taxi Driver”. It deals with psychology but “The King of Comedy” is more like an irony. Whether you think the ending shows reality, dreams, or is still delusional of the main character, was astonishing to say. Although like which, it didn’t feel an ambiguity like “Taxi Driver” playing with our minds.
Robert De Niro as a guy who has so many fantasies in his mind looks so sad. He portrayed a black tinge in this comedy movie directed by Scorsese. His smile was sad and sad in his face as if he had something behind those smiles like he just wanted to get it all out but could not. This movie also has many dreamy-like sequences where De Niro’s Rupert dreams of what if he is suddenly invited by Jerry. And there is a lot in this movie. Yet, “The King of Comedy” might be Scorsese’s forgettable in all of his movies but offers a sweet and bitter struggle of the characters in this movie.
4.5 out of 5 stars.