Tuesday, November 21, 2006
KKKRAMER KOMMITS KAREER SUICIDE
When I awoke this morning, the last thing I expected to see was Michael Richards — better known as Cosmo Kramer from TV's SEINFELD — neck deep in a shitstorm of his own making, the kind of incident that made me shout at the TV, "Career OVER!!!" The morning news showed bootleg footage of a stand up performance in LA wherein Richards lashed out at a couple of black hecklers, and... well, read it for yourself:
Michael Richards, Seinfeld's Kramer, apologizes for racial slurs
LYNN ELBER, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - He called two black hecklers the "n-word" and enthusiastically referenced a time when blacks were often victims of civil rights abuses, but Michael Richards said his verbal barrage during a stand-up routine was fueled by anger and not bigotry. "For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap. I'm deeply, deeply sorry," the former "Seinfeld" co-star said during a satellite appearance for David Letterman's "Late Show" in New York. "I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this," Richards said, his tone becoming angry and frustrated as he defended himself.
Richards described himself as going into "a rage" over the two audience members who interrupted his act Friday at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. His explanation was reminiscent of Mel Gibson's assertion that he wasn't anti-Semitic after he let off a barrage of Jewish slurs during a traffic stop last summer: despite what came out of his mouth, that's not what is inside him.
Industry colleagues were in no hurry to accept Richards' apology. "Once the word comes out of your mouth and you don't happen to be African-American, then you have a whole lot of explaining," comedian Paul Rodriguez, who was at the Laugh Factory during Richards' performance, told CNN. "Freedom of speech has its limitations and I think Michael Richards found those limitations."
Veteran publicist Michael Levine, whose clients have included comedians George Carlin, Sam Kinison and Rodney Dangerfield, called Richards' remarks inexcusable. Comics often face hecklers without losing their cool, he said. "I've never seen anything like this in my life," Levine said Monday. "I think it's a career ruiner for him. ... It's going to be a long road back for him, if at all."
His Laugh Factory tirade began after the two clubgoers shouted at him that he wasn't funny. A videotape of the incident was posted on TMZ.com. Richards retorted: "Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f------ fork up your a--." He then paced across the stage taunting the men for interrupting his show, peppering his speech with racial slurs and profanities. "You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now, mother------. Throw his a-- out. He's a n-----!" Richards shouts before repeating the racial epithet over and over again. Moderating his tone at one point, Richards tells the audience, "It shocks you, it shocks you" and refers to "what lays buried."
While there is some chuckling in the audience throughout the outburst, someone can be heard gasping "Oh my God" and people respond with "ooh" after Richards uses the n-word. Eventually someone calls out: "It's not funny. That's why you're a reject, never had no shows, never had no movies. `Seinfeld,' that's it."
Richards deserved the chance to apologize, Jerry Seinfeld said on the "Late Show." "He's someone that I love and I know how shattered he is about" what happened, Seinfeld said. At one point, however, Richards grew flustered and expressed second thoughts about appearing on the program when his use of the term Afro-American" caused some audience members to laugh. "I'm hearing your audience laugh and I'm not even sure that this is where I should be addressing the situation," he said.
Richards, 57, who played Seinfeld's eccentric neighbor Kramer on the hit 1989-98 sitcom, hadn't spoken publicly about his remarks before "Late Show."
Now I'm hardly surprised when I hear shit like this, but what the fuck was he thinking? It's stupid enough to call Black people niggers and not expect to get your ass kicked, but to do so ON FUCKING STAGE?!!? And bringing up lynchings in such a manner is not the kind of thing that one blurts out in the heat of the moment; that's an intentional dredging up of one of this nation's most painful and protracted campaigns of terror, and Richards obviously knew what kind of reaction it would provoke. I saw the footage of this for myself at http://www.tmz.com/2006/11/20/kramers-racist-tirade-caught-on-tape/ and at first wondered if he was drunk or high on something, but now I'm convinced that he's simply your garden variety racist idiot. I'm not that shocked by what he said, but the fact that it was all captured thanks to the magic of those enterprizing bootleggers is the icing on the cake, and Richards' rantings will no doubt be sampled in rap recordings for at least the next year. I can just imagine the sound of the bass-driven SEINFELD theme looped over a phat beat as the voice of Kramer rains abuse upon "niggers," only to be far more eloquently clowned by professional Black wordsmiths.
I also found Richards' apology on Letterman to be hilariously insincere, and he was so clearly gobsmacked by the enormity of his gaffe that he looked like he'd been hit by a freight train.
Sadly, Mel Gibson could not be reached for comment.
Posted by Bunche (pop culture ronin) at Tuesday, November 21, 2006