With respect to all this "did Ricky Gervais go to far" rumination and such: not that I actually give a shit (I think I've gone the extra mile in establishing my credibility in this matter, really), but has it ever occurred to anybody that the whole snake-eating-its-own-tail business does, eventually, yield something in the way of what you might call diminishing returns? And, also, if it's all such nonsense and meaningless and hypocritical and everything else, why do we (or "we"—and good God, do I hate that formulation) continue to watch, or to prop up the edifice, or whatever the hell it is that "we" supposedly do?
I dunno. It's more fun to return to the below-cited The King of Comedy, and to contemplate the image of a momentarily serene Masha (Sandra Bernhard), ironically amused at her friend Rupert's entrance and almost assured ejection from 1633 Broadway, then the Paramount Building. And to note that that Chock Full o' Nuts is now a Duane Reade. And that the OTB place is now Emmett O'Lunney's. Emmett is one of the scions of O'Lunney pere, of the joint now over on 45th Street; Emmett's brother Kevin used to run Kevin St. James on Eighth near 46th, where they made this not entirely "authentic" but nevertheless massive and very tasty chicken parm dish that was the staple of many a Premiere lunch. That stretch of Eighth Avenue was a big portion of a piece I wrote for the VIllage Voice a long time ago, about the "vanishing New York" of a prior Scorsese picture, Taxi Driver. I actually got a couple of the locations wrong; I placed the porno theater where Travis tries to chat up the concession girl one building south of where it actually was. Still, it was nicer to think that the place eventually turned into Little Annie's Half-Moon Saloon and then the much less skeevy Collins Bar, rather than just got sucked into a larger retail space that sold, well, porn. In any event that whole block is boarded up now; the Disney hotel or whatever the hell they planned on putting up there seems to be on recession hold.
But 1633 Broadway's still there, but it's no longer the Paramount Building, as it is seen to be in The King of Comedy. For a while I think it was, in fact, the Hachette Filipacchi building. I worked in there twice, the first time in 1993. Across the street—directly where Masha's gaze is going to—is the Winter Garden Theater. Cats was playing there when I'd gotten a gig at Stereo Review. It had been there since autumn of nineteen fucking eighty two, which I think means the show took up residence there not too long after shooting on The King of Comedy wrapped. I remember looking down from my office at the Cats marquee and thinking two things. One was, "Our future babies/We'll take to Abie's Irish Rose/I hope they'll live to see/it close." The other was, "I'll probably drink myself to death before this fucker closes." I did not. And now Mamma Mia is playing there, and I've resolved to outlive its run. And my second tenure in that building was at Premiere, from 1996 to 2008. And now Hachette Filipacchi's not even in that skyscraper anymore; much streamlined (as they say), the concern has moved from 1633 Broadway over into the Time-Life building, up 50th Street a bit.
In the book Scorsese on Scorsese, recalling the shooting of this picture, Martin Scorsese says, "We were shooting in New York and there were maybe five trailers, which you had to park in a certain way because the teamsters wanted this and the police wanted that. Finally, if you wanted to move, the entire company had to go along like a caravan through the city streets in the daytime. [...] We didn't get a break from anybody there, or at least that's how it felt. If we wanted something, we had to pay for it and pay a lot. It was like making a film with a dinosaur: the tail was so big it was wagging and slamming into everything, perhaps not intentionally, but destroying things[...]" Not to tell tales out of school, but I believe that at the time Scorsese's office was in the Brill Building, a few doors up from what would have been the Broadway entrance to the Chock Full o' Nuts; one can imagine him holing up there, not having a great time, maybe even trying to hide ("[B]y the second week of shooting I was begging them not to let me go on. I was coughing on the floor and sounding like a character from The Magic Mountain!") between setups.