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Mum's the Word on N-Word for Funnymen

12/3/2006 2:02 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Has Michael Richards' racist rant made the n-word forbidden comedy fruit? How taboo is it, really? Is it taboo enough for the biggest, brashest African-American comics to ban it from their own acts?

TMZ contacted Dave Chappelle, DL Hughley, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer and Katt Williams through their reps, and their response was uncharacteristically laconic. Last week, comedy vet Paul Mooney, who was a writing partner of Richard Pryor, and who appeared on "Chappelle's Show," said he was forsaking the word in his comedy henceforth -- but since then, none of his younger colleagues have taken a similar pledge.

One source, who has worked with almost all of the comics, tells TMZ that Richards' screed will probably end up being a boon to all of them, providing them not just with material, but stoking interest in their acts -- and whether they'll use the word and how often. The renewed focus on the n-word and its implications will, says our source, no doubt give the word itself added piquancy on stage, "until it becomes calloused and overused again."

109 COMMENTS

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16.

Lee    

Amp said: "This whole slavery thing has happened hundreds of years ago, you are part of the society now so act like it."

This has been said over and over again since Richards' incident - slavery was a long time ago, but black folks have NOT had equal rights in America for hundreds of years - not even fifty years. Apparently you're forgetting segregation, Jim Crow laws, the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights act of 1964...not surprisingly, the economic factors built up by hundreds of years of inequality did not go away over night, though many would like to assume Lyndon Johnson totally evened the playing field with his signature. Blacks do have tremendous opportunity now, but you can't underestimate the fact that there are still plenty of men in Government and running businesses that were raised in a time when racism was the law of the land in some parts of this country.

Not to discount problems that do exist and need to be purged from the black community, the white folks need to also dispel this notion that racism and inequality is just a distant memory that is never relevant today. It's convenient, but it's B.S.

2778 days ago
17.

GoAway    

You are an IDIOT Ellis/#7 and I will be the first to say it for my comic brothern...We can say N*GGA and you can't (that is with the same feeling and meaning). Hell, I don't care if you use the damn word, it will NEVER mean the same coming out of your mouth as it will mine! And you can take that sh*t to the bank!

2778 days ago
18.

Ellis    

Yo Black and Proud. When you sit in front of your TV watching Katt Williams and guffawing like the single digit IQ person that I imagine you are, think about changing that channel to something that might improve your lot in life. Imagine, you calling me an idiot. Now turn that hat around and put on PBS.

2778 days ago
19.

brian scott miller    

Another Smoke screen issue to blind America!
We've come a long way in trying to live up to the Original Ideals of America , "All Men are Created Equal", and we still have a long way to go.
Maybe this was a good thing to happen, to remind us of our responsibility to try to be better people, but change will only come from example. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" is still the best advice I have ever heard.

2778 days ago
20.

joshrandall    

Using the word N*gger is one of the m,ain reasons negro comedians are funny Lets keep using it! Its fun!And all you n*ggers got to stop complaining about slavery;w/o slavery your ass would be in Africa!!! No clean water,fresh food,clothing,money,cars,music,heat,A/c,living in misery,unfathomable fear and violenece. Its a privilege for a 4th world people such as blacks.who could live in Africa for 100,000 years w/o inventing the wheel,to actually live among white people,who are the most evolved and intelligent race on the planet. Go back to Africa and take the jews with you!:)

2778 days ago
21.

Ellis    

When I see these scumbags the thought that comes to mind.................

Lowest common denominators one step removed from walking on all fours.

2778 days ago
22.

Stacy    

I was reading all this and having a good "back and forth" with all the opinions when # 15 made me laugh out loud. I would bet $100 that the author was not black. Saying they were black though, made it all OK according to these standards.
I stand strongly that no one or everyone should have access to all the words in the world.
The issue was the violence and context of what was said. It did imply lynching! It was sick and vulgar. If a child misbehaved, would you wish that they befriended a Catholic priest? If a woman misbehaved, would you wish her a redneck husband? Yes, of course my examples are prejudiced. That's the point, plain and simple. To wish harm in any fashion is wrong and to justify it is just saying that we are NOT as developed in our humanity as we pretend to be.
Your actions are completely up to you. They are a choice. If there were no such thing as racism, what would have been said? You shut up, I have you :-( The race of the gentlemen just made it easier to hurt them. It's all stereotypical CRAP!

2778 days ago
23.

Nick    

The problem is not the word but rathe how the person uses the "word". The double standard does not come from the word being said, but rather the context that the speaker puts it in. Using it in casual conversation makes the word hold less of a hurtful meaning because it is being used playfully. However, when someone uses the word in an evil and malicious manner to hurt someone (the way Richard's did), then I think the power of the word is amplified and causes people a great deal of suffering. It is in this context that the word should NEVER be used.

However, if you forbid the word from being spoken, all you are doing is elimintating one more word to have in playful conversation, as well as one more word to be used in hate speach.

The problem is that you have eliminated the word, but you have done nothing to change the hearts of the people that use the word. The darkness is still inside of people and it will have to find a different way to manifest itself than using the N-word.

We can't run from problems, and sweeping it under the rug won't change anything.

Speak responsibly and teach love. Restricting speach will restict society's ability to grow naturally.

2778 days ago
24.

p1tey1    

I think people give that word WAY too much power. Its a f***in WORD!!!!

I'm Black, and I wasn't offended when I saw the video of Michael Richards. I could see exactly what it was. It wasn't as much racial as it was a man who had been heckled and embarrassed and didn't know of any other way to respond. True he lost his cool and said some awful things, but I don't see why everyone is making such a HUGE deal of it.

I felt sorry for him, because he showed that he will crack under pressure and it made him look weak, and like a small man. But I'm not angry.

And I hope Black comedians continue to use the word N*gger. Because its just a word and should be treated as such.

2778 days ago
25.

Sandra    


Excuse me, but I was born 65 years ago.And I went to school with Black kids, in fact we would walk each other home..We NEVER called each other the words ALL you young people have made up..

We WALKED hand in hand from school..I'll never forget the first time I walked up to my "black" friends home, yummy I could barbecued ribs...Sure smelled good, my mother didn't have much to feed us.

2778 days ago
26.

michael beals    

I'm a father with two son's 17 and 20 I've been married for 24 years and have lived
in Alaska for the last 10 years before that Texas and between the years of 1963 and 1967 lived outside LA California. Viewing Fox TV this morning Michael Richards again was being chastised for the comments he had made.
Look lets put an END of this obvious grandstanding by TV attorney GIVE Equal
time for a real opinion my a real person someone that has been around.
Mr. Richards lost his place with his act on stage BECAUSE of TWO so called
gentelmen could not enjoy them selfs without having to make comments of there own. Look the facts are facts.
Give me the chance to air my comments regarding the REAL problem..
ONE OF THOSE REAL PROBLEMS ARE SO CALLED TV ATTORNEYS
I'm very much like millions of others in this world today sh*t happens come on?
It's what you do about it when it does happen and Richards did what he could.
I'll fly anywhere anytime to see Mr. Richards show regardless.

Thank You

Michael Beals
44485 Sterling Hwy
Soldotna Alaska 99669
www.timberwolflodgeak.com

2778 days ago
27.

GoAway    

Wow, still waiting for my comment to post to Mr. Ellis. Maybe it was too deeep for TMZ?

2778 days ago
28.

GoAway    


Yo Ellis, like I said...you are an IDIOT. I will continue to maintain that, as you have chosen to maintain that I have a single digit IQ. Since we don't know each other, it's safe to say that we might both be wrong. That's neither here nor there. Point being, we both watch whatever we want on TV wether it's KAT (how do you know about him anyway?) or PBS. Don't be fooled, my IQ has nothing to do with where I stand on this issue. Again...I can say N*GGA and you can't (that is...with the same feeling or meaning) so get the F*** over it! Life's too short dear.

2778 days ago
29.

Kris    

NO - it's not just a word, and YES it does matter who's using it, in the same way (well, not quite) as if a man or woman uses the "C" word, or if a gay or straight man uses the word "faggot" etc. IT DOES MATTER!

It's all about context. No one's saying that whites don't have any problems, or that the so-called "race card" excuses all behaviour. The a**hole cops who beat up Rodney King should have got time. Ditto the clowns who beat up the truck driver guy. Being black OR white doesn't exclude you from being an idiot! Personally, I think that at least 75% of the human race is scum, and race has nothin' to do with it!! For example, I HATE gansta rap and how it portrays women, men and the black community - and I don't give a sh*t who's spraying this garbage. It's weak and offensive.

However - and I'm far from a radical - the bottom line is that blacks CAN use the 'N' word and it does mean something different, because when whites use it, it invariably has historical connotations of violence, oppression and hate. Ditto with men and the "C" word, or use of the words "whore", "ho", "bitch" etc. A woman (friend) can use those word around me (usually in a playful context), but if a bloke tried it he would find his testicles severed and jagged up his nose.

Words cannot be disassociated from their historical contexts, like it or not, but I guess that's what black folks tried to do by "reclaiming" the "N" word through comedians, rappers etc. Doesn't really work for me. I hate it, and it doesn't matter who's using it, I suddenly see images of people with pillowcases on their heads holding pitchfolks.

**************************************************************
I can only assume that the following comment was a joke:

"Its a privilege for a 4th world people such as blacks.who could live in Africa for 100,000 years w/o inventing the wheel,to actually live among white people,who are the most evolved and intelligent race on the planet."

REALLY? You might want to open a book once in a while. The Ethiopians (among others) had mighty Christian empires when most of Europe was still wallowing in the dirt.

"Evolved and intelligent race"? Hmmm, that explains World War I and II when "we" managed to wipe out a few dozen million people.

Guess what everybody? We ALL came from Africa! Try studying a little science and genetics once in a while. And hey dickhead - YOUR ancestors would have been in Africa 100,000 years ago. Duh.

And where the hell did "the Jews" come into this discussion?? WTF??

**************************************************************
Sorry for the rant, but this is obviously April Fool's day and I missed it.

2778 days ago
30.

Kris    

Dragonslayer: amen to that! Your post was much more articulate than my insane rant.

2778 days ago
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