Jerry Lewis did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a BAFTA, for portraying Jerry Langford in The King of Comedy.
Lewis of course deserves credit anyway because technically he does his talk show manner more like Johnny Carson, where is his normal hosting method still was bit closer to his wacky onscreen persona. In addition though we get some more scenes of the fantasy where Pupkin dreams himself to be Langford's superior confidant. Lewis is good in fulfilling the false fantasy as he portrays this Langford as somewhat needy in the way that Pupkin is as he in reality. Outside of the fantasy though Lewis shows Langford in a far different light particularly in regards to his interactions with Pupkin. There is one particularly strong scene in the film where it shows Jerry walking around in downtown Manhattan where he is frequently spotted. Lewis is terrific in this scene, which included even real calls out to Lewis himself, as he shows the manner in which Langford must go about the normal routine of walking down the street while being so well known. Lewis is good in his body language as he portrays a slight hurry in his step in order to never quite be caught though while still having an ease in his manner. In his interactions Lewis is great in portraying a detachment as he always seems to stare somewhere else while still smiling, and trying to be friendly enough. Lewis presents the manner in which Langford tries to be as courteous as he should be well still maintaining a healthy distance, which unfortunately does get him into trouble.
The worst person for Langford is Pupkin who refuses to leave him alone. It begins in a ride home where Pupkin keeps selling his right to be on Jerry's show. Lewis keeps that same general calm as he tries to get rid of Pupkin as calmly as he possibly can. This leads to problems though when Pupkin keeps hounding the staff of Jerry's show and eventually even goes to Jerry's home. The scene at Jerry's house is a great moment for Lewis as he shows rather bluntly that Langford now is fed up with Pupkin. Lewis actually manages to be a bit funny, in a purposefully painfully awkward scene, as he basically portrays such an intense rage in Jerry as he sees that a man's celebrity obsession has now even invaded his home. Lewis seems to suggest that Langford is about a step away from really hurting Pupkin but will keep it all pent inside as he struggles to calmly tell Pupkin to get out and never return. This naturally gets Langford kidnapped by Pupkin, so Pupkin and Masha can get what they want from him. Lewis again does well as he shows Langford just trying to calmly talk himself out of the situation. He effectively express the quiet fear in Langford as he attempts to keep Pupkin or Masha from hurting him. Lewis might actually be the cause of the funniest scene in the film which is when Pupkin forces Langford to deliver a message by cue cards. Lewis is hilariously deadpan, while staying true to his realistic depiction, in portraying Langford subdued exasperation as he tries to delicately explain Pupkin's mistakes with the cards. Lewis then is restricted to being taped to chair while Masha has a bizarre dinner with him and Pupkin gets to finally do his act on the show. Lewis does a great job of reflecting my own pained reaction at watching Sandra Bernhard's performance which properly culminates with him punching her out with a chance. Lewis only gets a single final reaction for Langford as he watches Pupkin's act. That's enough as the hate in his eyes sums up Langford's disgust at seeing Pupkin cheat his way to the top. Lewis does some very strong work in the film as he simply realistically portrays the reaction of a man in Langford's position and situation while managing to be naturally entertaining.