The Comedian

Watch The Comedian

  • PG
  • 1957
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 7.9  (277)

In the 1957 film "The Comedian," Mickey Rooney portrays a rising jester named Sammy Hogarth, who adopts a cynical perspective of the industry he's in. With no regard for consequences, he makes offensive jokes and behaves in a selfish manner that puts a strain on his personal relationships. Rooney's character debut's as the host of a TV variety show, where he quickly gains popularity with his biting humor and the boisterous laughter of the studio audience. However, backstage, Sammy's co-workers loathe his personality, and his father (Edmond O'Brien), who is a veteran comic, doesn't approve of his son's coarse language and callous behavior.

One of the few people who does not hold his tough exterior against him is a fellow comedian named Kipper (Mel Tormé). Sammy and Kipper's friendship dates back to their time on the vaudeville circuit, and Kipper sticks by his friend, even when Sammy's antics become difficult to tolerate.

On a personal front, Sammy is married to a former singer he met in a jazz club (Kim Hunter), but their relationship has turned sour. Sammy frequently cheats on her and belittles her ambition, which is to return to singing, even though it was what brought them together.

Through a political dinner function, Sammy meets a socialite named Carolyn (played by Vilma Kutavics) and decides to make her a part of his act. He seduces her and uses humiliating jokes about her family's name, which takes his career to new heights. Sammy's primetime TV show moves to Hollywood, but behind the scenes, Sammy's personal life begins to crumble.

"The Comedian" offers an inside look into the workings of the entertainment industry and the narcissism that fuels those who find success within it. Rooney is masterful in bringing Sammy's dark and somewhat pitiful character to life, giving the audience a firsthand look at what it is like to be consumed by one's own ego.

The supporting cast provides a solid foundation for Rooney to showcase his comedic and dramatic prowess. Kim Hunter delivers a nuanced performance that captures the pain and strength of a woman who must fight to be respected by her husband. Edmond O'Brien's portrayal of Sammy's father feels authentic and nostalgic, offering a glimpse into the world of vaudeville before it was replaced by television.

Mel Tormé is a standout in his role as Kipper. He is the only person in the film who sees Sammy for who he is, yet still cares for him. Additionally, Tormé's own background as a successful singer is evident in his performance, adding extra depth to his character.

The film is beautifully shot, with classic scenes of the chaos behind the scenes of a television program that includes using live animals in the act. Director Carl Reiner did a fantastic job of capturing the fast-paced life of Sammy and his colleagues. The filmscore by Buddy Bregman and Doc Pomus' "Ain't Gonna Be That Way" added to the overall storyline without overpowering the subtleties.

Overall, "The Comedian" is a film that stands the test of time, immersing its audience in both the humorous and often tragic aspects of the entertainment industry. The nuanced performances of Rooney, Hunter, O'Brien, and Tormé not only entertain but offer a valuable lesson on love, ambition, and human nature.

The Comedian is a 1957 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9.

The Comedian
Where to Watch The Comedian
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (277)