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Kramer Turns Racist Rant Into a Joke

11/17/2009 2:40 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Three years ago today, Michael Richards took the stage at the Laugh Factory and unleashed the racist tirade that would change his life forever -- but now he's turning the whole thing into a joke ... arguably inappropriate.

Richards made light of the rant on this weekend's episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." During one of the scenes, Richards -- playing himself -- blows his top at an African-American character, saying, "If only there were a horrible name that I could call you ... that would make you as angry as I am."

A group of spectators who witness the tirade instantly whip out their cell phones and begin to record. Richards, realizing the similarity of events, screams and bolts.

Couple of problems here: First off, the original tirade was shot on a DIGITAL CAMERA -- not a cell phone.

Second: Is Richards mocking himself ... or the digital-recording culture that exposed his greatest mistake? In other words, is Richards and "Curb" trying to make a bad joke out of a serious situation?

Jason Alexander -- No Butts About It

9/19/2009 9:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It can be hard for people of a certain body type to find jeans that fit at the Gap -- and Jason Alexander and his "Gap ass" are no different.

Jason Alexander

Kramer's Coming Back Atcha -- You Ready?

9/11/2009 2:39 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It's been almost three years since his infamous n-bomb tirade at the Laugh Factory -- but it seems Michael Richards is finally gearing up for his big comeback ... that is, if you'll let him.

Michael Richards: Click to watch
Kramer was all smiles when we saw him last night in NYC, and why not? He was just on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and is reuniting with his old "Seinfeld" pals on an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

These could be the first steps out of that deep, dark black hole his career has been in for the last three years -- so we gotta ask ...

Judge on Seinfeld Case: Lawsuit's About Nothing

9/11/2009 1:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
A lawsuit claiming Jerry Seinfeld's wife, Jessica, stole the idea for her best-selling cookbook was tossed out by a Federal judge yesterday.

A woman named Missy Chase Lapine sued the Seinfelds claiming they took her idea for a cookbook about sneaking healthy foods into kids' meals.

But -- yada yada yada -- the judge tossed it out.

Mrs. Costanza -- Where's the Beef?

3/9/2009 8:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Estelle Harris, aka George's mom from "Seinfeld," was just looking for a hunk of meat this weekend at a Ralphs supermarket -- but instead she ended up giving us a "Seinfeld" scoop.

Brit: I Don't Need No EPT, Y'all!

1/17/2008 2:38 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Cancel the national emergency -- Britney Spears is not pregnant. Two is enough!
Click to play!
TMZ caught Britney out at Ralph's grocery store last night where she told us that pregnancy test she was holding in photos seen yesterday wasn't for her -- but for "a friend." Do her other personalities count as friends?

Later on, Brit went to the trendy clothing shop Kitson -- at 1:30 AM! She had the owner of the store, Fraser Ross, open it up just for her. She walked in wearing a short red dress, but walked out with a dress shirt and tie thrown on top.
Click to play!
But the ripped stockings were a nice touch.

Martha's Dishes Made My Kids Sick!

A Pennsylvania couple is suing Martha Stewart Living and K-Mart, claiming the domestic diva's "Everyday" dinnerware -- with the lovely name "Flowers and Buds Border" -- contains lead and is responsible for poisoning their children. Get the lead out!

In the lawsuit, filed on behalf of their two kids Michael and Matthew, Sandra and Raymond Dombroski allege the boys were poisoned by lead in the dinnerware, which caused the boys to suffer "mental, emotional and cognitive impairment, learning disability" as well as speech problems and physical impairment and a host of other problems. That's not a good thing! Flowers and Buds dishesThe Dombroskis say that the lead problem is a result of "negligent, reckless, intentional and outrageous conduct of MSLO..." (that's Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia), and they've served up a heaping lawsuit asking for compensatory and punitive damages.

A spokesperson for MSLO told TMZ "We take consumer product safety very seriously. We do not comment on pending litigation."

Gene Wilder's

'Seinfeld' Connection

3/16/2007 12:41 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Young Frankenstein" funnyman Gene Wilder appeared at a book signing in NYC for his new novella, "My French Whore," looking something like "Seinfeld's" Mrs. Costanza, actress Estelle Harris.

Gene Wilder
Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Drops N-Bomb,

Faces Fallout

12/6/2006 2:20 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Damon WayansDamon Wayans became the first famous offender of the Laugh Factory's ban on the use of the n-word, and was fined and banned from the club for three months as a result, Wayans' publicist tells TMZ.

After the Michael Richards incident on November 17, the club decided to ban use of the word and fine comedians $20 for every offense. Wayans took the stage Sunday during a showcase of African-American comedians called "Chocolate Sundaes." Wayans opened his routine with the line, "Give yourselves a big round of applause for coming down and supporting 'N***** Night.'" According to the L.A. Times, Wayans used the word 15 more times during his 20-minute appearance.

That's a $320 contribution to the Laugh Factory's swear jar. Wayans' rep had no further comment other than to confirm the fine and the temporary ban.

Andy Dick drew fire earlier this week for using the n-word during an appearance at the Improv.

Kramer Rant Boosts DVD Sales

11/29/2006 5:50 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
SeinfeldIt seems that there really is no such thing as bad press -- even press generated by racist tirades.

Sales of season seven of "Seinfeld" are up 75% over season six and 90% over season five -- after one week of sales, according to website DVD Empire. Meanwhile, reports a staggering 178% increase over season six. Sales are up despite Jesse Jackson calling for a boycott.

Seasons five and six were released on the same day last year. TMZ's video of Michael Richards' hideous harangue was first seen on November 20 -- one day before season seven was released. Richards went on "The Late Show with David Letterman" that same night to apologize.

To paraphrase Seinfeld ... is there anything wrong with that?

Hottest Videos -- Week of 11/19

11/25/2006 2:01 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Michael Richards
Whats the deal with Michael Richards? The former "Senifeld" star unleashed a tirade of racial slurs toward a group of African-American audience members who heckled the "comedian." Warning: This video is profane and racial.
Jay-Z / Beyonce
Maybe Beyonce hates the crowded conditions of the Area nightclub, or perhaps she was just tuckered out from slaughtering defenseless animals for her fur coats. Whatever the reason, it didn't stop her man Jay-Z from having fun while Beyonce sat in the car for 40 minutes, presumably adjusting the stereo pre-sets.

Richards' Rant -- Not The First Time

11/22/2006 4:10 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Michael RichardsDid Michael Richards attack the Jews? Two Los Angeles residents have come forward and said that's exactly what happened last Spring at L.A. comedy club, The Improv.

Carol Oschin and J.P. Fillet say they were at The Improv on April 22 when Richards took the stage. They say that in the middle of Richards' skit, a man in the audience said something to the comedian, when Richards allegedly launched into an anti-Semitic rant. According to Oschin, Richards screamed at the audience member, "You f***ing Jew. You people are the cause of Jesus dying."
Offended couple - click to play

Oschin says the rant continued and Richards stormed off the stage. Oschin and Fillet say that, at first, they thought Richards' tirade was part of his act, but claim that it quickly became apparent it was not.

Richards' publicist, Howard Rubenstein, confirmed to TMZ that Richards did make derogatory comments about Jews, but says it was part of his act. Rubenstein says Richards told him, "I'm not anti-Semitic. I was playing a role and poking fun at the rednecks."

'Kramer's' Racist Tirade

Caught on Tape

11/20/2006 10:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Michael Richards exploded in anger as he performed at a famous L.A. comedy club last Friday, hurling racial epithets that left the crowd gasping, and TMZ has obtained exclusive video of the ugly incident.

Richards, who played the wacky Cosmo Kramer on the hit TV show "Seinfeld," appeared onstage at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. Kyle Doss, an African-American, told TMZ he and some friends were in the cheap seats and he was playfully heckling Richards when suddenly, the comedian lost it.

The camera started rolling just as Richards began his attack, screaming at one of the men, "Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f***ing fork up your ass."

Richards continued, "You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now motherf**ker. Throw his ass out. He's a nigger! He's a nigger! He's a nigger! A nigger, look, there's a nigger!"

The crowd is visibly and audibly confused and upset. Richards responds by saying, "They're going to arrest me for calling a black man a nigger."

One of the men who was the object of Richard's tirade was outraged, shouting back "That's un-f***ing called for, ain't necessary."

After the three-minute tirade, it appears the majority of the audience members got up and left in disgust.

Attempts to reach Richards' reps were unsuccessful.

Richards Racial Rant -- Play Video

Five Secrets to Comedy

1/29/2006 7:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
For every 'Seinfeld,' there are 100 like 'Emily's Reasons Why Not.' Why do most shows go so wrong, and a select few become iconic? TMZ has the secret to five great comedy TV shows, courtesy of two truly iconic funny people: 'Saturday Night Live' legend Cheri Oteri, and writer Alan Zweibel ('SNL,' 'The Garry Shandling Show,' 'Curb Your Enthusiasm').

Homer: The Committed Imbecile

When the animated series about a yellow family with funny hair premiered on FOX in 1989, no one expected it to live through the millennium. Seventeen seasons later, it's clear there's something quite genius about 'The Simpsons.'

The secret here is that the characters, although animated, are completely relatable. "It's fun to watch Homer speak directly from the empty place in his mind," Oteri says. "Everyone wants to say their stupid thoughts, but stops themselves." To Zweibel, the people of Springfield makes no apologies for the bigoted beings that they are, and because it's a cartoon, laughing at the screen doesn't seem so dirty.
We Interrupt This Program to Annoy You
'Monty Python's Flying Circus' first aired on the BBC in 1969 and in America in 1974, and the beat goes on: A new PBS series, 'Monty Python's Personal Best,' is set to air next month.

Oteri says the secret is that Python takes a polite look at the absurd: "It's like the Queen asking someone to pull her finger." Zweibel says when you look at Python over the years, it's clear the writers had an uncanny ability to tap into issues of the moment and make them hysterically silly -- creating what he calls "controlled anarchy."

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That
Regifting, man hands, close talkers, a puffy shirt and the Soup Nazi riveted legions of 'Seinfeld' fans for nine years, and it's as strong as ever in syndication.

Oteri says there is a brilliant core to the comedy. "We always hear, 'don't sweat the small stuff.' But they blew the small stuff out of proportion and gave credibility to things that irritate everyone," she says.

Zwiebel, who has worked closely with 'Seinfeld' creator Larry David, agrees: "They took very relatable situations, minutia that we all observe, but made a whole meal out of it."

Lucy, I'm Home!
The most enduring, ground-breaking show ever on television -- if 'I Love Lucy' were a person, it would almost be eligible for social security.

To Oteri, the secret is that the characters are supremely relatable and give the show comedic cred. "Lucy always looked great, always fullfilled her wifely duties, which made it so much more hilarious to see her get in trouble." Zweibel believes 'Lucy' is safe hijinks. "It's fun to see Lucy fall in the water or get covered in JELL-O because you knew she would always be OK," he adds.

Your 'Daily' Fix
It's incredible that Jon Stewart, who holds down the fort on a fake news show ('The Daily Show With Jon Stewart'), is consistently voted as one of the most trusted anchors in America.

In trying times, laughter makes the medicine go down. "Watching someone pull the pedestal out from authority and watching authority fall eases our minds," says Oteri. "Jon Stewart brings to the forefront stupid things from supposedly superior minds." Zweibel, whose 'Weekend Update' on 'SNL' was a precursor to what 'Daily' does now, thinks this is one of the smartest shows on TV today. "It's not manufactured funny, they let the people hang themselves. It's a tried and true effect."

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