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Audience Laughs at "Kramer," Seinfeld Pissed

11/21/2006 12:50 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

In one of the most awkward moments in the history of late night television, a shamed Michael Richards appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to apologize for his racist, hate-fueled rant. It wasn't meant to be funny, but the audience laughed anyway.

Richards agreed to appear on the show, even after Letterman took a comedic jab at "the guy who played Kramer" on the Top Ten list, at the request of his good friend and former co-star Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry was there to promote "Seinfeld" Season 7 on DVD.

As Richards began explaining the "nasty things" said about "Afro-Americans," the audience couldn't help but chuckle. Seinfeld, immediately scolded the crowd, saying "stop laughing, it ain't funny." But the crowd couldn't help themselves.

The confused fans continued to chuckle, and Richards seemingly blamed Letterman for the awkwardness. "I've already heard you make some jokes about it and that's OK, but I'm really busted up about it."

Richards admitted that he may have acted without thinking. "I'm hearing your audience laugh ... and I'm not even sure that this is where I should be addressing the situation."

428 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

Patty    

#201 Your a Sorry excuse for a Human Being...You need alot of Prayers...its talk like that that theres Hate all over the world...you're the uneducated one ...I'm white and if you are too....I'm ashamed of you....not that you'd care...

2801 days ago
17.

Big-Sexxie    

You know the only reason he talked that way in the first place was cause he had security with him. I mean i understand that he was upset but common sense will tell you that in an event like that one he's gonna be out numbered and for that fact he has lost alot of respect from his viewers and he probably didn't have many of those any way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2801 days ago
18.

Rich M.    

What the man said was inexcusably wrong. Period. He came on a nationally-televised show to apologize. Perhaps the audience could have been advised before he appeared on camera of the reason WHY he was coming on and then they wouldn't have laughed, thinking it was an arranged "bit.?

I also concur with the premise that verbal bigotry works both ways - whites cannot hurl racial slurs towards minorities under any circumstances, but it's OK for blacks to denegrate whites without fear of criticism. Check-out an occasional black comedian on cable sometime and you'll see what I mean - the females are especially filthy in their anti-white diatribes, and their black audiences lap it up. Real "funny" stuff.

The country is PC to a fault, but it's a one-way street and that's wrong.

2801 days ago
19.

jimmy    

I firmly believe Richards is sorry for his outburst. I think he did is what most people (black, white, hispanic, japanese etc.) would do when provoked or humiliated, while unfortunatley holding a micro-phone, and that is to use words that cut deep. The most hurtful words that can come to a persons mind at that moment. That my fellow humans, is what is built into every single one of us. It's a sort of defense mechanism. Some will shout racisim, others will say the black dudes deserved it. I personally think Richards should thank his lucky stars those dudes weren't packin'.

2801 days ago
20.

Michael X. Maelstrom    

I think they are two seperate issues.

1. Richard's was in the free-association zone. Comedians and writers know that in this 'mode' you deliberately break down walls in an attempt to find comedy; the part of the brain that inhibits what you say is flicked somewhere between HALF-off and ENTIRELY-off. It's what being out on "The Edge" is all about.

And very few people can say anything in that mode (for long) without being offensive to someone, precisely because there are reasons that there are inhibitors on what we can say, in our brain.

Sometimes these things we inhibit don't really need to be inhibited (that's when it's funny, we recognize our own PC stupidity and laugh) but sometime as with the N word, there's a good reason we shouldn't say it.

The point is however that we ALL have inhibitors, if we flicked off our own inhibitors, we'd sound like racists/bigots/et cetera too. Believe it. So I don't believe for one minute _based on this misfire slash self implosion_ that Richard's is really a racist.

it's what comes out if you flick your inhibitors ENTIRELY off. Black, White, Brown, you name it, we all have inhibitors on what we ought say or think about other people.

We have to quit ACTING so sanctimoneous, who do we think we're kidding here? 8 times out of 2 it's an outright LIE to say you haven't inhibited yourself from saying precisely the sort of thing he said, at some time in your life.

That would be my point 1. This does not at all prove Richards is a racist.

Point 2. If you listen to the hecklers response in his "that was uncalled for" you SHOULD be able to hear in his intonation how HURT he actually was. How deep it cut him. That is all any of us should need to hear to understand that this word causes REAL hurt and that that is why we need inhibitors on the word.

Yeah, it's unfair, how come we Whites can't say the word but Blacks can? I've had that thought myself sometimes, but as long as it upsets Black people, as long as it keeps being used to denigrate Blacks, it's almost impossible to use it without causing real hurt.

So pretending it doesn't or saying it shouldn't or saying you didn't mean it to, isn't the point, is it?

Fact is, if you listen closely to the hecklers tone, you will HEAR that it caused real hurt, and that is what makes it wrong.

In Conclusion: Two different subjects. 1. Richards is NOT de facto a racist.

at least not over these remarks, if there's a history of racism we don't know about that's another story (I seriously doubt it, we'd have heard by now) but here, we have a comedian who flicks his inhibitors off routinely, so this IS going to happen as a result.

1b. People will say things that they are told they shouldn't.

In fact, if you tell people they CAN'T say something, they'll say it just because they can't stand the feeling of being controlled, it doesn't mean you believe what you're saying, it means you have flicked your inhibitors off. Most teens do it, Comedians do it, and anyone that has had one too many drinks or drugs, does it. Once those inhibitors are off, the excrement flows.

2. It's NOT just a word, and for now, we whites have no control over it in our language, GET USED TO IT. Black people control the word; when it no longer hurts them and when they decide we can use it, then we can. But not before.

Why? because the word has a history, it's associated with oppression, it's associated with being belittled, it's associated with pain and suffering, it's associated with being treated like you're 3rd rate garbage. You say it, you're invoking the memory of ALL that in the person you say it to.

Inhibiting ourselves from saying it/Not saying it/ is the right thing to do, not the PC thing, not the wimp thing, but _the RIGHT thing to do_.

Imo.

regards,
michael x maelstrom.

2801 days ago
21.

Chris Jacobson    

The audience was laughing at the awkward pause where neither Richards or Letterman were saying anything. TMZ needs to get their facts straight. The 'issue' wasn't being laughed at, IT WAS THE PAUSE! Hell, I even laughed when I saw it for the first time. Dead air awkwardness FTW! :)

2801 days ago
22.

Judi    

I don't think the Letterman show was place to make the apology/ First of all the whole audience started to laugh while Letterman just sat there. I guess it gave Letterman good ratings. But it was Jerry who told the audience to shut up and that it was NOT funny. He was actually pathetic trying to say he was sorry. I don't know if the word Pathetic is what I'm going for here. He was having a hard time trying to say he was sorry. I don't know the man personally as I can only assume that no one else know this man personally either. So is he a racist? I don't know. I know when my husband ticks me off I say Irish slurs all the time. Do I dislike my husband? NO! He just ticks me off sometimes so I hit it where it going to hurt him I guess. We all say things we don't mean when were mad. I guess that's what I'm trying to get across here. I hope for the sake of everyone we move on. He made his apology. I don't know I read these blogs. It's really hard to believe how some people can be so evil. I guess maybe it's in the genes. The language is another thing that is gross on here. I don't know why it's allowed. I guess they allow just about anything these days hey?

2801 days ago
23.

Michael X. Maelstrom    

I think they are two seperate issues.

1. Richard's was in the free-association zone. Comedians and writers know that in this 'mode' you deliberately break down walls in an attempt to find comedy; the part of the brain that inhibits what you say is flicked somewhere between HALF-off and ENTIRELY-off. It's what being out on "The Edge" is all about.

And very few people can say anything in that mode (for long) without being offensive to someone, precisely because there are reasons that there are inhibitors on what we can say, in our brain.

Sometimes these things we inhibit don't really need to be inhibited (that's when it's funny, we recognize our own PC stupidity and laugh) but sometime as with the N word, there's a good reason we shouldn't say it.

The point is however that we ALL have inhibitors, if we flicked off our own inhibitors, we'd sound like racists/bigots/et cetera too. Believe it. So I don't believe for one minute _based on this misfire slash self implosion_ that Richard's is really a racist.

it's what comes out if you flick your inhibitors ENTIRELY off. Black, White, Brown, you name it, we all have inhibitors on what we ought say or think about other people.

We have to quit ACTING so sanctimoneous, who do we think we're kidding here? 8 times out of 2 it's an outright LIE to say you haven't inhibited yourself from saying precisely the sort of thing he said, at some time in your life.

That would be my point 1. This does not at all prove Richards is a racist.

Point 2. If you listen to the hecklers response in his "that was uncalled for" you SHOULD be able to hear in his intonation how HURT he actually was. How deep it cut him. That is all any of us should need to hear to understand that this word causes REAL hurt and that that is why we need inhibitors on the word.

Yeah, it's unfair, how come we Whites can't say the word but Blacks can? I've had that thought myself sometimes, but as long as it upsets Black people, as long as it keeps being used to denigrate Blacks, it's almost impossible to use it without causing real hurt.

So pretending it doesn't or saying it shouldn't or saying you didn't mean it to, isn't the point, is it?

Fact is, if you listen closely to the hecklers tone, you will HEAR that it caused real hurt, and that is what makes it wrong.

In Conclusion: Two different subjects. 1. Richards is NOT de facto a racist.

at least not over these remarks, if there's a history of racism we don't know about that's another story (I seriously doubt it, we'd have heard by now) but here, we have a comedian who flicks his inhibitors off routinely, so this IS going to happen as a result.

1b. People will say things that they are told they shouldn't.

In fact, if you tell people they CAN'T say something, they'll say it just because they can't stand the feeling of being controlled, it doesn't mean you believe what you're saying, it means you have flicked your inhibitors off. Most teens do it, Comedians do it, and anyone that has had one too many drinks or drugs, does it. Once those inhibitors are off, the excrement flows.

2. It's NOT just a word, and for now, we whites have no control over it in our language, GET USED TO IT. Black people control the word; when it no longer hurts them and when they decide we can use it, then we can. But not before.

Why? because the word has a history, it's associated with oppression, it's associated with being belittled, it's associated with pain and suffering, it's associated with being treated like you're 3rd rate garbage. You say it, you're invoking the memory of ALL that in the person you say it to.

Inhibiting ourselves from saying it/Not saying it/ is the right thing to do, not the PC thing, not the wimp thing, but _the RIGHT thing to do_.

Imo.

regards,
michael x maelstrom.

2801 days ago
24.

el    

His rant was DISGUSTING... and the person who called him a CRACKER was just as DISGUSTING! This is what's wrong with the world. Everyone complains about one another yet they are guilty of the same crime!!

2801 days ago
25.

James    

Richards was wrong and unprofessional to react in the manner he did. However, audience members , no matter what their ethnicity, need to remember that if the show is not to their delight, then they need to respectfully walk out instead of talking over the performance while others try to enjoy it.

2801 days ago
26.

Rick James    

I don't see what all the fuss is about. Yea the man should have held his composure some more, but why is it ok for black comics to say something "across the line " about whites but not ok for a white man to say it? anyone ever seen Eddie Murphy do stand up. That double standard rule is crap. Heaven forbid someone say something to "offend" someone else.....Screw it man get the @#$& over it and move on.

2801 days ago
27.

Critic    

I sense great vulnerability. A man-child crying out for love. An innocent orphan in the post-modern world.
I see a parasite. A sexually depraved miscreant who is seeking only to gratify his basest and most immediate urges.
His struggle is man's struggle. He lifts my spirit.
He is a loathesome, offensive brute. Yet I can't look away.
He transcends time and space.
He sickens me.
I love it.

2801 days ago
28.

james    

k I agree he said somethings that was not right, but I also see a ton of blacks use the N word and its kool ...........now thatss not right either but because a white guy used it everyone makes a big case out of it.....?? cmonnn on peeps lets get real and accept it

2801 days ago
29.

Rick James    

Oh yea, and those of you that have a mental capacity that is greater than that of a GNAT. Would realize that racism begits racism

2801 days ago
30.

george vieto    

Stupid question of the week. Will Joan "Can We Talk Psychobabble" Rivers and the other rejects from the Sylvia Pinal School of Advice for Women tell Michael Richards to go to hell or go run up Ancon Hill with Iris Avila? Stay tuned.

2801 days ago
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