"You want to play games, I can play games."
Description: The beginning line in a tirade towards a female talent scout delivered by stand-up comedian Steven Gold (Tom Hanks) in the film Punchline (1988).
Steven Gold is a student at a New York medical school. His father wants him to be a heart surgeon, but all Steven really wants to do is be a comedian ("The love of my life is a lady named comedy"). Consequently, Steven spends most of his time making people laugh at the Gas Staion, a local comedy club.
One day, he meets Lilah Krytsick (Sally Field) a housewife and mother, who aspires to be a comedienne. She is a funny lady but her timing and her delivery stinks ("Oh okay, so I'm not funny, SHOOT ME!"), and so Steven, now flat broke and having dropped out of medical school, takes Lilah under his wing and begins to tutor her in the ways of funny - by selling her a batch of jokes fo $500.00.
"Hello, my name is Lilah Krytsick, and on our wedding night, my husband gave me something very long and hard... a new name."
Steven, too, is a funny guy but he has a tendency to express his dislike of everyone else in the world, and this habit sometimes alienates his audience.
On one occassion, while Steven does his act on stage he gets angry at a talent scout in attendacne and unleashes his venom. Steven’s entire put-down reads:
"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 want to play games, I can play games. I can play ventriloquist with my underwear. I can play darts while maintaining an erection. I can gargle dish water and fart ‘O Canada’ at the same time. I can play the piano without being popular. I once had this dream I was dancing on a street corner with a jackhammer up my ass. Now let’s see. It’s either a sex dream or I need more fiber in my diet. If any of this is turning you on, just let me know.”
Eventually, Lilah become a rising star in the comedy circuit, while Steven, who starts to feel the pressure of wanting to be a success, begins a slow spiral out of control when he melts down one night on stage and delivers the worst comedy performance of his life.
Note: The movie taglines reads: "Dying is easy, but comedy is hard."