Michael Richards racist outburst was not only vile and disgusting, but it was also puzzling.
Hecklers are an occupational hazard in standup comedy and experienced standups arm themselves with some kind of contingency plan for dealing before stepping onstage. The strategy for dealing with heckling will vary with the persona and temperament of the comic, the tone of the audience, and the nature of the heckler. It's bizarrely unprofessional for someone who has been at this as long as Richards to be so vulnerable to hecklers.
Put your comedy seat-belt on or stay off the stage.
Thing is, Richards (unless he's been prodigiously reckless about handling his money) has the best possible defence against heckling: He didn't need to be there. Did he?
Some meta questions: Is Michael Richards actually a nobody whose name recognition is so low that headline writers have to refer to him as Seinfeld's Kramer? Look how many headlines refer to Seinfeld's Kramer. Did this incident tarnish the Seinfeld rerun and DVD brand? Are we going to be able to watch that program any more without echoes of the n-word ringing through our ears?
By cosmic coincidence, Seinfeld is booked on Letterman tonight--and Richards appears by satellite to apologize. (Secret of Comedy is, indeed, timing.) The taping happened earlier. TMZ has video of Seinfeld esacping to his Limo.
Mickeleh's Take: Last week: groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King monument. By the weekend: More evidence that MLK's dream is still far from our reality. But now we're living in macaca time. Cameras are everywhere and uploading is easy.
(Tags: Richards, Michael Richards, Kramer, Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld, Racist, Letterman)