The King of Comedy ★★★★★

Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.
-Rupert Pupkin

Vito Corleone, Travis Bickle, Jake La Motta and... Rupert Pupkin. Those names are not mentioned together nearly often enough. The King of Comedy is one of Robert De Niro's greatest performances and his most underrated collaboration with director Martin Scorsese. Sure people here praise the film, but it's overwhelming how many people have never seen this.

De Niro's performance is so genuine that there's several scenes in the film that I find incredibly hard to watch. It's like seeing a real person filled with desperation for validation and receiving nothing but rejection time and again. At first it just looks like Pupkin is simply obsessed with talk show host Jerry Langford, played by Jerry Lewis in a surprisingly great performance, but it's not the famous comedian he's obsessed with but rather fame itself.

We see through his fantasies that he doesn't want to be AS famous as Langford, but he wants to be his better. When De Niro is having "dinner" with Lewis, that scene speaks volumes about Pupkin and not just his frame of mind, but what he truly desires. I think that's what turns off some people from the film, Pupkin's delusional state and desires are too real. It's a dark satire, but not dark in the traditional sense that you usually find in entertainment.

Also... considering I think the film is a masterpiece in satire with Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard as it's costars, that speaks volumes of Martin Scorsese's directing.

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