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The King of Comedy

18th Hall of Fame
The King of Comedy

Being the king of creepiness shouldn’t at all be a compliment, but with ‘The King of Comedy’, Martin Scorsese schools us yet again, staging another unsettling insight into the mind of a sociopath, proving that being a cab driver or deranged comedian is – or at least can be – one and the same. Robert De Niro as Rupert Pupkin is the most uncomfortable, unnerving and unbalanced individual resembling a human being I have seen in a long time. He lacks a lot of what makes a being human, but what he misses in that department he makes up for in intelligence – and that’s what makes him so freaking frightening. He is too polite, too pushy and too pandering to the point of supreme psycho-pathetic extremity.

This level of weirdly sympathetic but preposterous, psychopathic behavior in a character only ever comes once a decade – or maybe even less – within cinema. De Niro creates an unmatched deranged dexterity that really draws me in and takes me out of my comfort zone; and I don’t like it! Or maybe it’s more likely that I just don’t like that I like it. F_ck… maybe I’m the crazy person here. Anyways, Martin Scorsese really is the master and you might ask “at what” and I might say “at everything”. Because, if there is someone in cinema that can change his genres like he changes his underwear, then it has to be Scorsese. That man has proved time and time again that he can still surprise you and surprise me he did.

No wonder it bombed at the box office or was butchered by the audience at the time – no one was ready for the ravage one of the greatest cinematic duos of our time was about to pull off. People were feeling like they were being pulled off, but perhaps they just didn’t take their time to pull over and think for a second before they dubbed it a cinematic wreck. People just weren’t ready to get so uncomfortable in their comfortable seats eating away at their popcorn while Scorsese served up a moral pop quiz. No one wanted to follow a f_cked up human being like Pupkin so closely, but not looking closely would make you lose track of the greatness within. There is so much to take away from this movie I don’t know what to talk about here, honestly.

WARNING: "ending spoilers" spoilers below
I know Scorsese didn’t write the script, but he really picks movies that has those monumental endings, which pulls the rug from under you and let the curtain fall before you have time to digest it. Scorsese is like a cinematic con artist, playing tricks on our minds and morals. I loved how the ending of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ made us ashamed and disgusted at ourselves for having such a great time with such a grim person for three hours straight. In ‘The King of Comedy’ we smile awkwardly as Rupert Pupkin succeeds in his quest to become a great comedian… for one night only. And Scorsese continues to implement the backstory of our main character into the comedy within the comedy. We sympathize with this sick bastard somehow and even when he gets out of jail after serving time for his wrongdoings, people still cheer him on. I mean, I cheered him on… I think.

This is a disgusting, uncomfortable, uncompromising look into a mind we don’t belong in, but in a world we do live in. Things like fandom, stardom, obsession, mental states, media culture and crime are just some of the themes that gets air time in this De Niro Show, directed by Martin Scorsese (no really, he was the director of the show within the show also, in a lovely little cameo)… and we are going to end off in his words, because while disturbing, “I actually think it’s pretty funny…”