NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Veteran actor Robert De Niro returns to the big screen this weekend, starring in “The Comedian.”

CBS2’s Mary Calvi sat down with the New Yorker who talked about preparing for the role as a stand-up comic and shooting in the Big Apple.

“I always love to shoot in New York,” he said. “It’s always good to be here shooting about New York, a story in New York, connected to New York.”

When it comes to comedy, there’s no place like our city, which the director called the capital of stand-up and a perfect location for his film.

“You see all the gloss but you can also see the underbelly, and you can sometimes see it on the same block,” director Taylor Hackford said.

At the Comedy Cellar on McDougal Street, you never know who’s going to show up. Famous comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer, and even De Niro were there three times a week for weeks leading up to the role.

“We went in incognito and watched five or six comics a show,” Hackford said.

“It’s just the timing, it’s playing off an audience,” De Niro said. “For example, we had extras there, and they’d laugh in the beginning of the joke, the first time they heard it, maybe the second time. But I realized the feedback was so important. So they all started laughing — even if it’s fake it doesn’t matter, it sounded real to me.”

“The Comedian” has an all-star cast, including Danny DeVito, Billy Crystal, Edie Falco and Leslie Mann.