I’ve talked about this before on the podcast and Film Theory talking about the connections between The Joker and The King Of Comedy. If you haven’t watched it, go check it out. I’ll be honest, I had not seen The King of Comedy prior to hearing about this possible connection, or at least inspiration. So before we get into this, let’s watch the trailer for that movie.
Pretty intense the parallels you can take from just that short trailer and the Joker film. Both involve a shitty comedian that things they are better than they are. Both get on a talkshow to a host they admire. One through accident and one through…well taking over the show by force. Both people are in a pretty bad and dark place.
However one gets on the show because they want to, they want the attention and they force it. The other gets there because of a video that was shared on the show and them reaching out to bring him on. Those are two VERY different reasons for sure. If you look at the possible other circumstances as to why they both ended up on a talk show, then it all slams back into similarity again.
Both reasons may be based in the fantasy of the main characters head.
In King of Comedy, you are lead to believe that Rupert Pupkin got out of jail and then got a gig on the Jerry Langford TV Show he was obsessed with. There is also a line that this may have all be in his head and it never really happened. Especially when you take into account the ended of after he high jacks the show he goes on to be a great comedian. However it’s a Scorsese film so if being a dream or hallucination doesn’t call in line with his style.
Now with the Joker it’s not that it’s all a fantasy, but I would bet money that parts of it are. He’s seeing things he wants to see in his head. A review I watched online put it best, the parts where you see admiration or people reacting positively to Joker are in his head, the parts where people are not is the real world. Pretty messed up for sure, but it makes a lot of sense. We know for sure that parts of the movie is in his head, I mean just look at the Sophie storyline.
Ultimately I think there are some easy connections you can make here and I think bringing in DeNiro to play the talk show host was a nice homage back to King of Comedy. I don’t think the connection goes past that, cause you know, it can’t.