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Richards "Feels Jewish"; This Jew Feels Squeamish

11/29/2006 9:13 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

My jaw continues to hang open in amazement at Michael Richards.

News came last week that Richards also went on an anti-Semitic hate harangue at a club in the spring, but Richards claimed he had a defense, albeit a lame one.

Per the AP,


"Last week, crisis-management expert Howard Rubenstein acknowledged that Richards had shouted anti-Semitic remarks in an April stand-up comedy routine -- well before his appearance earlier this month in which he harangued hecklers with the n-word. But he defended Richards' language about Jews, saying that the comic "is Jewish. He's not anti-Semitic at all. He was role-playing."

We'll leave aside for a moment the erroneous idea that Jews (or members of any religion for that matter) can't be self-loathing, and deal with the obvious issue at hand: Turns out, Richards isn't Jewish.

Again, the AP:

"Technically, not having been born by blood as Jewish and not formally going into a conversion, it was purely his interpretation of having adopted Judaism as his religion," Richards' spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "He told me, 'I'm Jewish,' when I asked him ... He really thinks of himself as Jewish."

The Richards scandal, at its root, is about feelings (hurt ones) and so it's understandable that he might base his faith on his "feelings" as well - but unfortunately, that's not how it works. Not in Catholicism, and certainly not in any Judaism I know of.

Hell, you even have to register to become a Democrat; you don't just walk into a voting booth and "emote liberality."

What's even worse than lacking any Jewish identity is the use of it in the defense of attacking it. Richards' anti-Semitism defense is, at its core, is the lamest, most bogus kind of extenuation: The "I'm Jewish, so I can call someone a cheap kike and get away with it." It's the, "I'm Latino, so I can make jokes about Mexicans" apologia.

These are the cheapest kind of jives, because if something is funny, it's funny. It might be ribald, or even racist, but at least it stands on its own. The comic who says, "Hey, wait a minute -- I'm Italian (or Polish, or black), so I am allowed to say this kind of stuff," is guilty of the worst sin in comedy: Cowardice.

Perhaps, because I often feel like a pilot and identify with their rakish caps, I'll pound on the door of the cockpit during my next flight, demanding "I can fly! Let...me...fly!"

After the air marshals take me away in chains, I'll have Howard Rubinstein explain to the Associated Press,

"Technically, not having any wings and not receiving any formal training as a pilot, it was purely his interpretation of having adopted aviation as his profession... he told me 'I can fly' when I asked him... He really thinks of himself as a pilot."

COMMENTS

No Avatar

1.

ZMT    

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS RIGHARDS' FAMILY TREE LIKE ? I DON'T BLAME THE JEWISH PEOPLE FOR NOT WANTING TO IDENTIFY WITH HIM. DOES ANY ONE CARE TO GIVE RAW DATA?

2801 days ago
2.

Mad Balls    

I think you guys at TMz.com have been doing beer bong mule trains with the boys at Cooler AOL . Seems this entry sucks BIGTIME . I would have to rank this up there with Coolers' springtime for Hitler - Mel Gibson Blog that drew all of 5 responses . Really ..has Christmas shopping till you drop made you that goofy ?!? Or is it the Eightballs you guys are doing off each others butts in the backroom ???? Come' on rumour is that ANNA is pregnant again !!!?!! jump all over that sick crap .I'll give you odds on the color of the baby . DICKHEADS .

2801 days ago
3.

So Claude    

So Claude, like the rest of the media, has chosen to add their two cents just because there's an alleged comment from some person who alleges that Richards said something anti-semetic months ago. So racism is only worth noting or writing about if it ant-semetic?

2801 days ago
4.

george vieto    

Another member of the Mad City Tour.

2800 days ago
5.

Critic    

Hey Richards - You're a rabid anti-dentite! Oh, it starts with a few jokes and some slurs. "Hey, denty!" Next thing you know you're saying they should have their own schools

2800 days ago
6.

Colleen    

I think this posting made a good point: just because you're a member of a certain group doesn't give you free reign to attack your own group. Racist/chauvanist/elitist humor is difficult to gauge. If a joke has some truth to it, should it be said? Wouldn't a black person be the best to tell a black joke? I don't know how some comedians ride that fine line. Dave Chappelle does it. Pure genius. Michael Richards comes across as a raging racist (which I believe he is). Why the difference? It's not color. It's hostility and passion. Michael Richards and anyone else that speaks with those words in that tone is letting something out that was harboring for too long.

It's sad that he has been exposed to all of the world via this website. Oh well. Americans of any race just do not tolerate this kind of blatant bigotry these days. He could always write a book about it like OJ, "If I did it: What I would say if I was hypothetically racist."

2800 days ago
7.

charles w duvall    

I think he is totaly a stupid person& not funny when he was on in my house I went outside or in anoyher droom

2800 days ago
8.

L. Beezie    

Hey...anyone ever heard of Carlos Mencia? He's made a career (and built a show) around making fun of people, 90% of it HISPANIC people!! Comedy is supposed to be funny...and pointing out little nuances of those of different (or the same) race as yourself is FUNNY! If you're going to be so sensitive, maybe you should stick to watching CSI and take COMEDY off your "must see TV" list!

2800 days ago
9.

josh    

Hes not the first to use a racial slur in stanp up and he certainly will not be the last. Get over it, it was a really bad shock joke.

2800 days ago
10.

Ed Sommers    

I don't buy the analogy that says "feeling" like a pilot = "feeling" like a Jew. A pilot needs to have specific knowledge and skills. Worldly laws require that pilots pass specific, practical (not faith based) tests, and that their skills be certified and recognized by objective entities. A practicing Jew needs to have a particular set of faith based beliefs. If Richards (or anyone) says he has those faith based beliefs, I guess they have them. If he didn't jump through the required hoops set up by the religion's rulemakers, then the rulemakers don't recognize him as a Jew. That fact doesn't prevent Richards from seeing himself as a Jew. He may not be your kind of Jew, but he's his kind of Jew. That's one issue. The bigger issue is all the hate that seems to erupt from his inner core. At one moment he professes to hate Jews (whether he's one of them or not); at another moment, he professes to hate blacks. He needs to get his act together, stop hating people for their labels and recognize that there are good guys and bad guys in every race, religion, nationality, sexual preference, eye color, height and weight, In the meantime, if he thinks he's a Jew, that's ok with me.

2800 days ago
11.

Jamie    

So..if I have $40 in my bank account,but I feel like a billionaire,does that make me Bill Gates? Just wondering...

2800 days ago
12.

Ed Sommers    

Jamie - If you want to be a faith based billionaire, you can be one with just $40. in your wallet. Call me crazy, but if I'd prefer to be a reality based billionaire!

2800 days ago
13.

bright-eyes    

I often hear black people ( and I'm not talking about comedians on television but co-workers and people around me calling each other n*ggers and black-asses. This turns me off. I once mentioned it to a friend of mine (black) and she said don't pay any attention it's just a black thing. If Richards is really Jewish, maybe he is in the same frame of mind.

2800 days ago
14.

Raq    

Uhm yea and how come nothing ever gets said when others cough KANYE WEST cough make racial comments. How come that doesn't spread all through the news? HUH

2800 days ago

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