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Martin Scorsese's satirical comedy/drama caustically explores the lengths to which a nobody will go to be as famous as his idol. Practicing his patter in his basement with cardboard cut-outs of his favorite celebrities, mediocre aspiring comedian Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) believes that one appearance on the evening talk show of the Johnny Carson-esque Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) will be his ticket to stardom. After he helps Jerry escape the advances of amorous fan Masha (Sandra Bernhard), Rupert takes Jerry's patronizing brush-off as a true promise for an audition and begins haunting Jerry's office. Provoked by Masha's needling and a rejection from Jerry's smooth production exec Cathy Long (Shelley Hack), Rupert makes a disastrous trip to Jerry's country house with embarrassed date Rita (Diahnne Abbott), then hatches an even more outlandish scheme to get ahead. With Masha's help, Rupert kidnaps Jerry and demands as ransom the TV appearance that he believes will turn his fantasy into reality.