The King of Comedy (1982)
Why So Serious?
Martin Scorsese cast legendary comic Jerry Lewis, best known for his slapstick gags and Rat Pack connections, as talk-show host Jerry Langford. He wasn't top of the list mind, with Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin all previously considered.
It seems Scorsese made the right choice though, as Lewis is sensational in this underrated gem. It was a no-brainer that Lewis would nail the confident TV comedian when he's in his element, but the performance becomes A-list when he's hounded by De Niro's delusional wannabe stand-up ever more aggressively, and the tension gradually mounts.
The King of Comedy
is an effective example of the diversity that Scorsese and De Niro are capable of, and Marty has claimed that he didn't feel Lewis got the credit he deserved for this movie.
If they played it for laughs...
Langford would have ended up giving Pupkin his slapstick secrets in the form of a comedy-inducing serum, before the pair go on to outshine even Morecambe and Wise in the TV double act lark.