The King of Comedy

The King of Comedy quotes

25 total quotes (ID: 863)

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Rupert Pupkin


[on tape] Now, Jerry. Before I begin, I just want to thank you for listening to this material and for the opportunity that you've given me. You know, lots of people think that guys like you, you know, people who have made it, lose their feeling for struggling young talent such as myself. But now I know from experience that those people are just cynics, embittered by their own failure. I know, Jerry, that you're as human as the rest of us, if not more so.


[to Jerry] Jesus, they certainly don't give you very good protection, do they? Look at you here. Who the hell is watching you? Any one of these freaks could just walk right up to you and do whatever he wants.

[to Rita, about Marilyn Monroe] She wasn't a great actress but she had a real gift for comedy. She died tragically, you know, alone, like so many of the world's most beautiful women. I'm going to see that doesn't happen to you, Rita.

[to Rita] You going to spend the rest of your life in that place? Is that what you really want, talking about nothing with nothings? I thought you wanted something a little better than that and that's what I'm offering. Every King needs a Queen, Rita. I want you to be mine. What do you say?

This wasn't an easy decision for me, Jerry, believe me. For one thing, I knew it meant we could never be friends again and that hurt me It's hard to lose a friend, even one who has let you down. You always hope you can patch things up. You know, a guy like me doesn't make friends that easily. Why didn't you just listen to the tape when I asked you? Then I wouldn't have to be doing all this. Was it really too much to expect -- a few minutes of your time to listen to something I'd worked on my whole life?

A lot of you are probably wondering why Jerry couldn't make it this evening. Well, he's tied up -- and I'm the one who tied him. [laughter] You think I'm joking, but that's the only way I could break into show business -- by hijacking Jerry Langford. [laughter] I'm not kidding. Right now, Jerry Langford is strapped to a bedstead somewhere in the middle of this city. [laughter] Go ahead. Laugh. But the fact is ... I'm here. Tomorrow you'll know I wasn't kidding and you'll think I was crazy. But I figured it this way: better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime!

[to Pupkin, about Langford] All of a sudden, with a gun on him, he wants to make up and be friends. And, once he's out the door, what happens then?

[to Langford] I've got so much to tell you I just don't know what to begin with. Are you okay? [Langford mumbles, as he is bound and gagged] Good. Tell me if you're not. I guess you're wondering why I do stuff like this. I think it's because I'm a Leo, but my shrink says I'm pathologically rebellious and self-destructive. You don't think I'm self-destructive, do you? [Langford mumbles again] I knew you wouldn't. That's 'cause you're the only person in the world who really understands me.

Rita Keane: [to Pupkin] You call me up all junior and senior year. Night after night after night, right? And every time I'm wondering 'when is this guy going to stop talking and ask me out?' Well, now I know the answer. August twelfth, nineteen seventy-six. It only took you ten, eleven years to work up to it.

Official: We are met here in these extraordinary circumstances to join this man and this woman in holy wedlock. But, before we begin, let me voice a personal word of thanks to you, Rupert and to you, Rita, for choosing me to perform this prestigious ceremony. Because we are on prime time, I am going to discard my customary remarks in favor of a few personal reflections. When I was principal at Clifton High and these two were students, I had very little faith that Rupert here would amount to very much. But like his teachers and his fellow students, I underestimated this fine young man. Some say that this misjudgment is directly tied to my recent dismissal as head of the Clifton School System. But let me take this opportunity to set the record straight. Knowing that Rupert and Rita here were most certainly destined for a great career and a lifetime of happiness, I voluntarily stepped down. I would only here add my own wishes to those of millions of viewers for their continued health, wealth and boundless success. We'll be back to marry them in a minute, right after this word.

Wilson Crockett: I just don't buy the idea that there are that many people out there crazy enough to spend their lives in prison for a few minutes on television.

Pupkin: What are you going to do with Jerry's autograph?
Young girl: I don't know. Maybe I'll sell it.
Boyfriend: I'll tell you what she's going to do with it. She's going to pin it on her bulletin board and have an orgasm.

Pupkin: I'm grateful for this chance to talk to you ... I hope I'm not boring you.
Langford: I'll let you know.
Pupkin: Really? Fine. I'm Rupert Pupkin, Jerry. I know that the name itself doesn't mean very much to you but it means an awful lot to me, believe me. Maybe you've seen outside your show and wondered who I am. Well, right now, I'm in communications but, by nature, I'm a stand-up comedian. I know what you're thinking -- 'Oh no. Not another one.' And I wouldn't take up even one minute of your time if I wasn't absolutely convinced of my talent. I'm really good, Jerry, believe me, I'm dynamite. Now you're probably wondering if I'm so good why haven't you caught my act somewhere, right?
Langford: Well ...
Pupkin: Well, up to now, I've been biding my time developing my act slowly and carefully so that when my big break finally comes, I'm ready -- like you were that night Paar got sick and you sat in for him. I was there that night, in the theater. That was the most important night of my life, until tonight, of course.
...
Pupkin: Well, that night you did Paar, I walked out of the theater like I was in a dream. All of a sudden, I knew what I wanted. I started catching your guest appearances on Sullivan and taping them and, when you got your own show, it got to be a kind of regular thing. I studied how you built to your one-liners, nice and relaxed like you were chatting, and how you delivered the jokes without leaning too much on them, without saying "here's the punchline, folks." And I watched the way you played off dead audiences, how you let those long silences build until people couldn't stand it and then the way you got them off the hook with that slow smile. You were my college of comedy, Jerry, like a kind of teacher, a friend. I know it sounds crazy, but when you watch someone every night ... But that's all in the past. What I'm trying to say is this. I'm ready now. I've finished the course. And I'm thinking as we sit here talking "Is this it? Is this that one big break?" Is it, Jerry?
...
Langford: Look, why don't you call my office.
Pupkin: Could I?! Oh, I knew you'd say that, Jerry. You don't know how many times I've had this conversation in my head. And this is the way it always turns out. That's why I had to sort of invite myself into the car tonight. I know it's kind of presumptuous and I really appreciate the time you've given me. But breaks like this don't just happen. You have to make your own breaks.

Pupkin: I've been giving a lot of thought to your situation, Jerry, ever since I saw you starting to lose ground in the ratings. And I think I know what the problem is. Too many of the same faces.
Langford: Yeah?
Pupkin: Sure, people are getting tired of these people who live off game shows and talk shows and can't really do anything. They've seen 'em and heard 'em till they can't stand it anymore.
Langford: You know, maybe you're right, Rube.
Pupkin: I'm sure I am. When a show runs out of surprises, it loses its audience.

Rita: Jesus Christ, Rupert Pupkin!
Pupkin: The two of us are often confused. He's the one with the famous father.