Joe's Apartment

1996 film by John Payson

Joe's Apartment is a 1996 film about a recent college graduate who moves into an apartment inhabited by thousands of talking cockroaches.

Directed and written by John Payson.
Sex Bugs Rock 'n Roll. (taglines)

Joe F. Grotowski

  • [thinking about a letter he wants to write] Dear Mom, I arrived in New York, safe and sound. [a mugger jumps out from behind a bus, beats up Joe and takes some of his belongings] Dear Mom, I arrived in New York, safe and sound... (a second mugger a short distance away does the same thing) Dear Mom, I arrived in New York- [a third mugger does the same thing too] Dear Mom... [the last mugger holds a gun at Joe's head at gunpoint] please send money!
  • [finding a cockroach on a half-eaten sandwich] That is the biggest, greasiest bug I've ever seen. [The cockroach flies off and Joe shrugs before taking a bite out of the sandwich]
  • [trying to find the address where he is assigned to collect urinal cakes] East 161st Street and River Avenue? East 161st Street and River Avenue! [he finds it only to realize it's Yankee Stadium ]
  • [after saving Ralph's life from the cat] Yeah? Well, stop following me to work already! For god's sake.

Walter Shit

  • I need you to fill in for my drummer this Saturday. He's dead.
  • [after Joe fails to impress anyone with his drumming skills] I'm sorry, there's not gonna be any rock n roll tonight. This is all that's left! This is all that's left of the rolling thunder of America's heartbeat!
  • A rent-controlled apartment is one where the rent's been frozen since like the forties. But places like that are hard to find because no one ever leaves them. Unless their landlord's give them a little help.

Ralph Roach

  • Your apartment? I believe we were here first. And we'll be here last too. We've gotta long-time lease on this planet.
  • Giving up?! What made roaches outlast the dinosaurs? Because roaches never give up! They can stomp us, they can pop us, but they'll never ever stop us! And one day, the Great H bomb's gonna drop, and we'll have the whole stinkin' planet to ourselves!
  • [trying to distract a cat with a comedy act] Anyone here from New Jersey? What exit? Bada-bing!


Roach: [comes out of the pocket of Joe's shirt holding a condom] I think you'll be needing one of these, Joe! [Joe hastily pushes the roach and condom back down]


Walter Shit: You see? There's really no way to get a rent-controlled apartment.
Joe F. Grotowski: No way at all?
Walter Shit: Well, I mean, only if it's like, your mom's apartment, and, y'know, she, like, croaks! [Mrs. Grotowski walks out of the apartment building] Oh, how ya doin', Mrs. Grotowski! [Mrs. Grotowski coughs up her keys, which land in Joe's hand]
Joe F. Grotowski: Oh my God!
Walter Shit: Joe! Mrs. Grotowski doesn't have any family. You pose as her son, take her apartment!
Joe F. Grotowski: What?!? I... I couldn't...!
Walter Shit: [faking grief] Oh my God! Joe, it's your mother! And she's dead!

[Joe walks out of the apartment building wearing a suit for a job interview. Suddenly, a bucket of paint drops on top of him.]
Walter Shit: Congratulate me! This is the first of my works to use paint. I call this piece "Instant Minority." I did the whole block!
Joe F. Grotowski: But people are black, or white, or brown; NOBODY'S PURPLE!
Walter Shit: Periwinkle! You're now the world's smallest minority.
Joe F. Grotowski: Dammit, Walter, how'm I s'posed to get a job looking like this?
Walter Shit: Know how to play the drums?
Joe F. Grotowski: No.
Walter Shit: Perfect! Want a job? (man in beanie runs in front of them, turns, and fires ten shots from a handgun) I'm doing a musical performance at Gusto House. You can sit in for my regular drummer: he's dead.
Joe F. Grotowski: Uhh... sure... what? He's dead?
Walter Shit: [chuckling] Actually, it's a pretty funny story. You see, there's this crack dealer in our building, and so my drummer- [two cops run up and start firing down the street at the man in the beanie, drowning out Walter's story] slit his throat, you know, so badly that his own mom couldn't identify him at the morgue. [laughs] I'm going to miss that guy. So, is it a deal?
Joe F. Grotowski: Well...
Walter Shit: Excellent!

[After Joe unsuccessfully tries killing the roaches]
Ralph: [pointing a can of bug spray at Joe's face while he's tied down] Any last words, Joe?
Joe F. Grotowski: Don't kill me.
Ralph: [Disappointed] Those the last words, Joe?


  • Sex Bugs Rock 'n Roll.


Cockroach voices
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