Update On Michael Richards Story

I’ve just finished watching Michael Richards on David Letterman’s program.  Jerry Seinfeld was on promoting the Season 7 DVD of Seinfeld.  At one point during the conversation, Letterman brought up the now infamous rant that Richards went on during a show at The Laugh Factory this past Friday.  Seinfeld picked it up from there talking about how since he was scheduled to do the show tonight he wanted Richards, his pal from Seinfeld, to come on and say what needed to be said.
 
Richards, who looked terrible, appeared on camera via satellite in Hollywood.  At first, the audience thought it was a goof.  When Richards took unnecessarily long pauses, the crowd started to laugh.  Seinfeld told them at one point, “Stop laughing.  It’s not funny.”
 
And indeed it wasn’t.  More than anything, it was bizarre.  Instead of being brief, candid and to the point, Richards rambled.  And rambled.  And rambled some more.  He was going on so long Letterman had to cut him off a couple of times to ask him more questions.
 
Somehow, Richards seemed both defiant and regretful, if that’s even possible.  He tried to talk about how comics are doing good work in New Orleans (which was a reference to the recent Comic Relief special and the stuff Harry Anderson has been helping out with for over a year now).  But he rather awkwardly tried to connect it to his incredibly stupid rant on stage.  I guess, in his mind, he thought what happened to him would somehow affect how America views all comics which is an enormous leap of logic and incredibly arrogant.
 
It was a disturbing, memorable interview.  Richards seemed out of it.  He rarely made any sense.  He said he was sorry a number of times for what he said and that he did manage to apologize personally to the few clubgoers who were still in attendance that night at The Laugh Factory.  (Whether that’s true or not has not been verified.)  During a rare lucid moment, he said that he wanted to apologize to the people who left but had no way of getting in contact with them.  Here’s hoping that happens for everybody’s piece of mind.
 
Once the audience realized this was serious shit, they stopped laughing.  But the more Richards went on and on the more he hurt his cause.  Before he cried out, “I’m not a racist.”, he stumbled badly trying to put a sentence together.  It all felt like a bad audition for a stage play, a long in the tooth comedian (he’s almost 60) looking for one more kick at the can on Network Television.
 
When it ended, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.  If I was his publicist this would not have been the course of action I would’ve taken.  A simple, honest, heartfelt apology via a press release would’ve been the safest move.  Unfortunately, Richards’ tactic, speaking incoherently and still sounding quite angry, I think, will backfire. 
 
Something tells me we haven’t seen the end of this story. 
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
12:28 a.m.
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Published in: on November 21, 2006 at 12:31 am  Leave a Comment  

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