5.8/10
7,349
30 user 16 critic

Punchline (1988)

Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. He and several others work regularly at the Gas Station, a New York comedy club. The ... See full summary »

Director:

David Seltzer

Writer:

David Seltzer
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Field ... Lilah Krytsick
Tom Hanks ... Steven Gold
John Goodman ... John Krytsick
Mark Rydell ... Romeo
Kim Greist ... Madeline Urie
Paul Mazursky ... Arnold
Pam Matteson Pam Matteson ... Utica Blake
George McGrath ... Singing Nun (as George Michael McGrath)
Taylor Negron ... Albert Emperato
Barry Neikrug Barry Neikrug ... Krug
Ángel Salazar ... Rico (as Angel Salazar)
Damon Wayans ... Percy
Joycee Katz Joycee Katz ... Joycee
Mac Robbins Mac Robbins ... Billy Lane
Max Alexander ... Mister Ball
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Storyline

Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. He and several others work regularly at the Gas Station, a New York comedy club. The wages are lousy and everybody hopes for the big break. Lilah Krytsick is housewife with an ambition to be a stand-up comedian, however she doesnt seem to have the talent. Steven takes her under his wings and teaches her the art of comedy and humour. But when a TV station arranges a comedy evening at the club, Steve sees his opportunity for fame and stardom. Their friendship seems quickly forgotten and now it's every man and woman for him- or herself! Written by Mattias Pettersson <seaman@sbbs.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 October 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Punch Line See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,032,267
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Hanks and Sally Field did stand-up routines in comedy clubs to prepare for this film. Stand-up comedian Susie Essman and comedy writer Dottie Archibald coached Field for her role. Archibald also served as consultant for the film, recruiting real stand-up comedians to appear in the film. Hanks enlisted stand-up comedian Barry Sobel and comedy writer Randy Fechter to help write his routine. One night, a young, up-and-coming Chris Rock shared a set with Hanks, and has stated since that Hanks was the funniest stand-up he had ever seen. During one of her routines, Sally Field shared a set with a then up-and-coming Adam Sandler, Sandler stated that Field's routine was the funniest that he's ever seen giving him a boost in his young career. See more »

Goofs

When Sally Field comes home with a new haircut, she covers her face with a paper napkin. In varying scenes, she has it covered in different ways, and in some she does not have the napkin at all. See more »

Quotes

Albert Emperato: You don't want carpet! You want an area rug!
See more »


Soundtracks

Saber Dance
(uncredited)
(from ballet "Gayaneh")
Music by Aram Khachaturyan
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A great drama about comedy
12 August 2001 | by JaymaySee all my reviews

This is a wonderful movie. Every time I see it on cable I'm reminded how well-crafted it is. The writing is solid, the characters are real, and the desperate world of the stand up comic, whose life is nothing without the laughter, is captured very well.

Anyone who's worked professionally in comedy knows that comics are, as a rule, not happy people. Look at Jim Carrey or Woody Allen when they aren't in front of a camera and you'll see real pain in their eyes, just below the surface. Tom Hanks, as Steven Gold, captures that kind of character perfectly.

This was the performance that marked the turning point for Tom Hanks. There would be no oscars for him if it weren't for Punchline, because this was the movie that proved he could flip between comedy and heartfelt drama on a dime.

Sally Field does very well, and John Goodman gives one of his best performances ever.


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