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Michael Richards’ Meltdown

20 November, 2006, Monday

There has always been something a little off about him.  

Even though I can vividly recall many of his characters from way back on the show Fridays, and I’ve seen every Seinfeld episode, I just could never cozy up to the guy.    

In interviews that I’d seen or read, he didn’t project any discernable sense of humanity to connect with.    And all his jerking movements and mugging faces pushed him even further away into some strange, almost cold-blooded lizardian world.

But when I watched the video of him losing his shit at a comedy club by exploding in a fury of shocking racial epithets,  it –quite ironically– brought out his humanity.      Granted it wasn’t a pleasant or attractive display of humanity, but it most definitely showed an actual human being in an all-too-human moment of failure.

He became enraged because a table of African Americans were chattering during his act.    He called one of them a “nigger”, the crowd became outraged, and he never regained control.

And I can relate to that a little bit.   I’ve been to clubs and films where some dumb drunk fucking asshole was yammering loudly or talking on a cell phone.    It pisses me off, and it clearly pissed Michael Richards off and he reacted. 

Is he a racist?    I don’t know.    Maybe.  If he is, I do not care in the slightest.     The same way I would not care if he thought that all women were stupid and good for nothing except cooking and cleaning and should have their mouths open only when there’s a penis inside it (ooh – did I take that too far?  Hmm..).   

After the meltdown, with Richards still on stage, flailing desperately to find some way to recapture the crowd, the video showed many people getting up to walk out.   

The man whom Richards’ had called ‘nigger’, yelled that the remarks were  “uncalled for”  and launched an attack right back at Richards:  “…You aren’t funny – that’s why you’re a reject.  Never had no shows.    Never had no movies.   Seinfeld, that’s it!”

One wonders if that didn’t sting, because Richards assumed a mock sarcastic tone, and replied, “Oh I guess you got me there.   You’re absolutely right, I’m just a wash up.”

A few minutes later, he makes what looks like an attempt to turn the fracas into a bit of Lenny Bruce social commentary by saying, “There are still those words, those words…”   but he never finishes the thought and gives up.   He drops the mic on the floor and walks off the stage.

And as he disappears from view into the darkness of the crowd, the audio picks up, quite clearly, the voice of a female audience member who, inadvertently, gives us some insight as to why Michael Richards might be cranky and irritable when she says:   “Don’t go, Kramer.” 

Now see, if she’d had a dick in her mouth….

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