ByCraig Whyel, writer at
Film & TV news, previews and commentary
Craig Whyel

Comedian/actress Sandra Bernhard was wrong back in a 2013 interview when she waxed philosophically that it was too late for a remake of the 1982 dark comedy “The King of Comedy.”

The Martin Scorsese-directed film, which starred Ms. Bernhard, Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis, was originally a bust at the box office but when on to enjoy cult status on video and subsequently enjoyed considerable critical acclaim.

The story revolved around an autograph hound/stalker (DeNiro) who fancied himself a budding comedian. To increase his chances at stardom, he and a fellow whack job (Bernhard) hatch a plan to kidnap a famous TV talk show host (Jerry Lewis) who is a soulless S.O.B.

It remains a disturbing commentary on the cult of celebrity.

This year news broke that The King of Comedy is being adapted into a Broadway Musical.

Whatever anyone thinks about the film, one thing is for certain: Hollywood LOVES remakes. If you added all the pending remakes over the next half decade you have a years’ worth of major releases in the offing.

Given the legend of The King of Comedy (which I strongly recommend if you haven’t seen it), the present day obsession with celebrity in the digital age, the relative low-budget with heavy slots for celebrity guest appearances and add that to afore-mention passion for redoing movies, it’s mind-numbing to wonder why a remake of The King of Comedy ISN’T in the offing.

To that end, with a fair bit of speculation on my behalf, I decided to play casting director and show you who I think the ideal principal cast would look like.

Essentially, The King of Comedy was about just three major characters.

Rupert Pupkin

Clueless and dangerous.
Clueless and dangerous.

Rupert Pupkin, played by Robert DeNiro was the lunatic slash budding comedian whose lurking tendencies seemed to embody his own subliminal desire to himself become famous.

My Pick: Steve Carell

The right kind of nuts.
The right kind of nuts.

Steve Carell would make a tremendous new Rupert Pupkin. His prior work as Michael Scott in The Office and as Brick Tamland in the Ron Burgundy: Anchorman films show a deep capacity to play dullards who are borderline psychotics with absolutely zero self-awareness…two components that would make him an excellent lead.

Jerry Langford

Kidnapped is not fun.
Kidnapped is not fun.

Jerry Langford was played by show business legend Jerry Lewis.

My Pick: Nick Offerman


While the prevailing wisdom might be to go with a more current “big name,” I think actor/comedian Nick Offerman would be excellent in the role.

Offerman’s work in Parks and Recreation, shows an intelligent but intense brooding man who also had a quick, cutting wit.

The character of Jerry Langford was effortlessly intimidating. With that in mind, double back to the patented Offerman stare just above. Did you see that?


Just barely with it...
Just barely with it...

Masha, Rupert’s co-conspirator, was played by the wildly eccentric Sandra Bernard.

My Pick: Kristen Schaal

Yep. She'd do just great.
Yep. She'd do just great.

The only actress/comedian who even comes remotely close to that type of performance is Kristen Schaal. She has capably turned in a number of roles as borderline or flat out psychos.

She even bears a very slight resemblance to Sandra Bernhard.

Agree, disagree or have ideas of your own, feel free to leave your comments below.

Thanks for reading.


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