In a previous post I argued that “Kramer” actor Michael Richards’s several-minute N-word-spewing tirade was an attempt at being funny gone terribly wrong and dragged out too long. He just appeared on the David Letterman show, and it seems my analysis was too charitable.
He did say “I tried to defuse it — you don’t have the whole thing” on the TMZ video, and he pointed out that “I push the envelope; I work in a veryÂ uncontrolled manner onstage, I do a lot of free association.”
But he was more revealing in saying “I lost my temper onstage” and “I took [the heckling] badly and went into a rage, and said some pretty nasty things to some Afro-Americans.”
Apparently Richards looks theatrical and over-the-topÂ even when he’s being serious. It is beyond nauseating he could keep going like that for several minutes, not trying to show people he was kidding but to further injure people with racist insults. This by his own admission.
Much of what Richards said on Letterman was incomprehensible, with the actor blurting out ideas he apparently connected with pro-black causes. There was “there’s a great deal of disturbance in this country about what happened with Hurricane Katrina,” and something about racism within the country being analogous to relations between “this country and another nation.” I think one stab at social commentary is enough for this week.
I suppose we can credit Richards with being man enough to admit what happened and apologize. It’s disappointing to hear he meant what he said earlier, though, even if just for a minute.
Robert VerBruggen blogs at http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com.