As Kramer once said, "Stick a fork in me, Jerry, I'm done!" That's basically how Michael Richards says he felt about his stand-up career after his infamous onstage rant at a comedy club in 2006, in which he repeatedly used the N-word while lashing out an African-American audience member who interrupted his act.
In the latest episode of Jerry Seinfeld's new web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Richards talks to his pal and former co-star about a lot of things. The conversation is mostly easy and light-hearted, until he brings up how he was affected by the incident, which was caught on video and created a firestorm of accusation and condemnation. People wondered if Richards had really lost it, and he was never viewed as a performerÂ—or a personÂ—in quite the same way again.
It's great to see these two together again, but it's even better seeing Michael Richards getting philosophical about what he's learned from his very public and disturbing error in judgment. He says the fallout from the incident still affects him, and you can see it's true by his manner and hear it in his tone of voice as he talks about it.
"I should have been working selflessly that evening," Richards says about his reaction to the heckler. "I busted up, after that event... It broke me down. It was a selfish response. I took it too personally." He adds, "It was just one of those nights." He says he hasn't done stand-up since. It's a touching bit of honesty and reflection on something that can now be viewed at somewhat of a remove with the passing of time.
To see the full conversation, check out the video below. (The bit about the incident comes around the 15-minute mark.)
Side note: Be sure to check out the other episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It's a great little series: just two funny friends shooting the breeze and cracking each other up.