The Comedian (2016) Movie Review

By: Alex Phuong (Four Beers) –

Robert De Niro has been one of the most respected actors for decades. He has received two Academy Awards for his supporting role in The Godfather: Part II and for his leading role in Raging Bull. He has also earned nominations since the 1970s, and his most recent nomination was for playing Bradley Cooper’s father in Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Therefore, it is a bit bizarre for such a talented actor to appear in a raunchy comedy given his personal talents. The Comedian (2016) might be a comedy about an aging comedian, but it is more disturbing rather than funny.

A Toast

The best (and worst) part of this movie is its screenplay. The plot actually makes sense in terms of what the filmmakers want to do with this film. They intended to make a raunchy comedy filled with crude humor and jokes that only mature audiences would understand. In fact, four screenwriters worked on this film to ensure that it would appeal to people who enjoy watching inappropriate behavior. Art Linson and Richard LaGravenese wrote the more dramatic scenes while Jeff Ross and Lewis Friedman included humor and comedy. Overall, the film does have an actual plot that is accessible to general adult audiences, but this type of film is an acquired taste since only some people enjoy watching crude material.

Beer Two

Robert De Niro’s performance is mediocre at best. His performance suits his character since Jackie Burke is an aging comedian who gets into bizarre situations, but that fact almost insults De Niro’s talent. It is a bit unusual for an Academy Award-winning actor to appear in a film that hardly deserves any merit. De Niro knows how to immerse himself into the characters he plays, and he did play Jackie Burke as an original creation, but he just seems out of place in terms of his previous work.

Beer Three

The film, obviously, contains a strong amount of crude and unsuitable material. That is because four screenwriters managed to come up with rude and disturbing content, and weave it all together into an obscene mess. There were jokes about senior citizens, members of the LGBT community, and insults to people pursuing a career in comedy. There were numerous scenes that took place in comedy clubs, and the people performing stand-up comedy ended up making fools of themselves while the audiences detested their efforts. Overall, the humor is very adult, and would only satisfy adult audiences who like mature content.

Beer Four

The ending is one of the most unusual and inappropriate endings I have ever seen in a film. I will not spoiler it here, but it has to been seen to be believed. Of course, a viewer has to watch the entire film to reach the ending, but only if that person dares to sit through this mediocre film in its entirety.


The film is another typically raunchy comedy that contains the elements that make it what it is. It has profanity, adult situations, and violent behavior that is surprisingly funny given the context within such disturbing behavior. Robert De Niro has actually been in a number of raunchy comedies recently, like Dirty Grandpa, which starred Zac Efron. The film does make a point about how it wants to be a comedy about comedy, which gives the film a meta element to it, but it only appeals to people who actually enjoy this particular genre.

The Comedian (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever there is a scene in a comedy club

Take a Drink: whenever Jackie Burke’s bad behavior goes viral

Drink a Shot: whenever the characters reference the fictional TV show Eddie’s Home

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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