As you’ve surely heard and seen by now, Micheal Richards, the washed-up actor/comic formerly known as Kramer on Seinfeld, went on a racist tirade against two audience members who were talking at one of his comedy gigs. The whole thing was caught on tape and distributed by TMZ. What struck me was not his use of the forbidden “N” word, which is of course taboo and totally lame, but the fact that he made a lynching reference, saying “50 years ago we’d have had a fork up your ass.” Um, ok, so 50 years ago you would have had those guys tortured and killed for daring to talk over your shitty act? 14 year-old Emmett Till got murdered for whistling at a white woman 50 years ago. I’m sure you thought that was justified too.
Maybe if Richards had some decent comebacks he wouldn’t have resorted to the lowest common denominator and used a person’s race as an self-incriminating insult. As countless commentors on YouTube have pointed out, comics should be used to dealing with hecklers and talkers and losing your cool is unacceptable. Losing your cool and spouting epithets is a sure way to cement your status a a punch line for years to come.
Richards apologized on David Letterman last night, where his former co-star Jerry Seinfeld was already scheduled to appear. He said he’s not a racist and claims to have gone back on stage and apologized. A guy who was there says Richards never apologized, and is understandably upset about it in the video below:
You can watch the outburst yourself if you login to YouTube.
And here’s Richards’ apology, which just seems pitiful, but that doesn’t give him a pass for making a lynching reference: