Tom Hanks Archives
Punchline

Character: Steven Gold
Directed by: David Seltzer
Written by: David Seltzer
Produced by: Daniel Melnick, Michael I. Rachmil
Other cast: Sally Field, John Goodman, Damon Wayans
Release date: October 7, 1988
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Running time: 2h 8min

Lilah Krytsick is a mother and housewife who's always believed she could be a stand-up comedian. Steven Gold is an experienced stand-up seemingly on the cusp of success. When the two meet, they form an unlikely friendship, and Steven tries to help the untried Lilah develop her stage act. Despite the objections of her family and some very wobbly beginnings, Lilah improves, and soon she finds herself competing with Steven for a coveted television spot.

Taglines

→ It only hurts when you LAUGH!
→ Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.

Trivia

♦ Tom Hanks and Sally Field did stand-up routines in comedy clubs to prepare for this film.
♦ About two months before the film started principal photography, Tom Hanks wrote and performed a five-minute stand-up comedy routine at the Los Angeles Comedy Store in California. Hanks once said of this: “It was pure flop sweat time, an embarrassment. That material lasted 1 minute 40 seconds, and it had no theme”.

Character’s Quotes

• We are all Gods animated cartoons.
• I’ve been coming down here for 18 months. 18 months! And I have not missed a night. I take the money that my father sends me and I pay for a shrink, and I buy groceries. Now I owe my shrink, and I’m behind in my rent. My roommate’s a bastard – he’s changed the locks in in my front door – I can’t get in! He won’t give me a key until I pay him. You wanna play games? I can play games! I can play games. I can play ventriloquist with my underwear. I can play darts while maintaining an erection. I can gargle dishwater and fart O Canada at the same time! I can play piano without being popular. I once had this dream – I was dancing on the streetcorner with a jackhammer up my ass – now that was either a sex dream or I need more fiber in my diet. If any of this is turning you on, just let me know.
• If you’re sending someone down, you better send him fast – ‘cuz funny Steve’s going under.
• Don’t be scared, ‘cuz I’m Funny Steve… with a lampshade on his head. Singing and dancing, for your entertainment, his own rendition of “Singin’ in the Rain”!