The AFI Film Premiere of “The Comedian”

Taylor Hackford, Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito (Photo by Rachel Ganz for The LA Beat)

Taylor Hackford, Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito (Photo by Rachel Ganz for The LA Beat)

“The Comedian” is an extraordinary film directed by Taylor Hackford with an amazing cast of actors including Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito, Leslie Mann, Harvey Keitel and  Patti LuPone. Robert De Niro plays the lead character of “Jackie,” a declining 67 year-old stand-up comedian in New York City. His fans only care about his role in an old TV show he from years ago.

Danny Devito plays Jackie’s younger brother who owns a small delicatessen with his controlling and bitchy wife ( Patti LuPone). When Jackie is forced to do community service in a soup kitchen after beating up an obnoxious drunk heckler, Jackie encounters the lovely young “Harmony” ( Leslie Mann), and they develop a strong friendship and romantic bond. Unfortunately, Harmonys’ father ( Harvey Keitel), a despotic and controlling real estate tycoon, is opposed to their relationship.

Jackie reinvents his career with brazen success and creativity as the audience is drawn into the drama of his soap opera life. We won’t reveal the ending, because you must go see this film. Its fabulous!

There was an amusing onstage chat with Taylor Hackford and all of the leading actors. A young man in the audience asked Danny Devito for his advice on  how to handle the daily stress of being a blossoming  actor. Danny immediately  yelled out, “Drugs!” The audience laughed and cheered. Leslie Mann then added, “Alcohol. Lots of drinks.” Danny Devito smiled brightly and yelled out, “Try a casual  rendezvous!” The spontaneity  and openness of the dialogue between the actors onstage and anyone bold enough to stand up and ask for advice was awesome!

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