The Comedian (2016 film)

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The Comedian
The Comedian film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTaylor Hackford
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Art Linson
Produced by
CinematographyOliver Stapleton
Edited byMark Warner
Music byTerence Blanchard
  • Cinelou Films
  • Linson Entertainment
  • Anvil Films
  • The Fyzz Facility
  • Mad Riot Entertainment
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • November 11, 2016 (2016-11-11) (AFI Fest)
  • December 9, 2016 (2016-12-09) (United States)
Running time
120 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$9.3 million[1]
Box office$1.7 million[2]

The Comedian is a 2016 American comedy-drama film directed by Taylor Hackford and written by Lewis Friedman, Richard LaGravenese, Art Linson, and Jeff Ross. The film stars Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone, Greer Barnes and Harvey Keitel.

The film had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 11, 2016, and was released by Sony Pictures Classics on December 9, 2016. The film opened to negative reviews from critics.


Jackie (Robert De Niro) is a comic icon, attempting to reinvent himself despite his audience only wanting to know him as a television character he played earlier in his career.

He attends a comedy club for nostalgia night at Governor's Comedy Club in Levittown, New York (near Hicksville, New York), hosted by Jimmie Walker. After accosting an audience member, Jackie is sentenced to 30 days in jail. During his 100 hours of community service he meets Harmony Schiltz (Leslie Mann), who works at a soup kitchen as part of her community service.



At one point it was hoped that Martin Scorsese would direct the film. However, this did not come to pass. Instead, Mike Newell joined on as the film's director,[3] only to be replaced a few months later by Taylor Hackford.[4] Jennifer Aniston was at one point attached to play Harmony Schiltz but was later replaced by Leslie Mann.[5]

Principal photography on the film began on February 21, 2016, in New York City,[6] and other locations including Manhattan.[7]


In October 2016, Sony Pictures Classics acquired U.S distribution rights to the film, with plans to release the film in December, in order to qualify for awards.[8] The film had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 11, 2016.[9] It hit theaters in a limited release on December 9, 2016, with a wide opening on February 3, 2017.[10][11] It was originally scheduled to open on January 13, but was pushed back to February 3.[12][13]


Box office[edit]

In North America, The Comedian was released alongside Rings and The Space Between Us, and was projected to gross $1–3 million from about 800 theaters in its opening weekend.[14] It ended up debuting to just $892,021, finishing 21st at the box office. Deadline Hollywood attributed the film's poor opening to negative critical reception and lack of award buzz, similar to Gold the week prior.[15]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 24% based on 109 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Comedian boasts an incredibly talented cast, but they're put to poor use in an aimless rom-com whose handful of memorable moments never add up to a compelling story."[16] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 40 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[17]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Hollywood Film Awards Hollywood Comedy Award Robert De Niro Won [18]


  1. ^ "FILM TAX CREDIT – QUARTERLY REPORT - CALENDAR YEAR 2018: FIRST QUARTER" (PDF). New York State: 7. March 31, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Comedian (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (May 20, 2015). "Robert De Niro's 'The Comedian' Taps Mike Newell to Direct". Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  4. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 7, 2015). "Taylor Hackford Stands Up To Direct Robert De Niro In His Passion Project 'The Comedian'". Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (January 19, 2016). "Leslie Mann Replaces Jennifer Aniston in Robert De Niro's 'The Comedian'". Variety. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  6. ^ "On the Set for 2/26/16: Dwayne Johnson & Zac Efron Start Shooting 'Baywatch', Peter Dinklage & Julia Ormond Wrap 'Rememory'". SSN Insider. February 26, 2016. Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  7. ^ "'The Comedian', starring Robert De Niro, filming underway in New York City". OLV. March 9, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  8. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 5, 2016). "Add Robert De Niro To Oscar Short List; Sony Classics Lands 'The Comedian'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (October 14, 2016). "Robert De Niro's 'The Comedian' to Premiere at AFI Fest". Variety. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  10. ^ McGovern, Joe (November 21, 2016). "The Comedian trailer: Robert De Niro yuks it up as a broken-down insult comic". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  11. ^ Cabin, Chris (November 21, 2016). "'The Comedian' Trailer Finds Robert De Niro Being Funny or Something". Collider. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  12. ^ A. Lincoln, Ross (December 23, 2016). "'The Comedian' Set For Wide Release February 3". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (December 23, 2016). "Robert De Niro's 'The Comedian' Gets Release Date". Variety. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  14. ^ "'Rings' Hopes To Choke 'Split' In Genre Scrimmage Over Super Bowl Weekend – Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. February 2017.
  15. ^ "'Split' Dings 'Rings'; Auds Keep Distance From 'Space'; 'Comedian' Bombs: Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. 6 February 2017.
  16. ^ "The Comedian (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  17. ^ "The Comedian reviews". Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  18. ^ "Robert De Niro to Be Honored With Hollywood Comedy Award". Hollywood Film Awards. October 31, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.

External links[edit]