Oy. As the debate about Michael Richards, aka Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld, and his racist rant at comedy club hecklers continues, it now turns out that he may have had a run-in with comedy club patrons - and went off in an anti-Semitic rant at that time! TMZ.com spoke to a couple who says Richards went berserk while, yes,being heckled at LA's The Improv. Carol Oschin said, "Michael Richards said, 'You're a f---ing Jew.' Your people are the cause of Jesus dying."
Richards's newly hired PR man, big gun Howard Rubenstein, said, "He is Jewish and he said, 'I'm absolutely not anti-Semitic.' He acknowledged that he said those things. He said that he was role-playing and playing a character. He said, 'There is no way I'm anti-Jewish.'" Oh, so it's all about being a "character" now! The next step is for Richards to check into a rehab or mental health facility.
And interestingly enough, Richards hired Rubenstein yesterday - the same day the NY Times' Virginia Heffernan wrote, when analyzing the comedy club and Letterman appearances:
Unlike more pro-forma apologizers — Senator George Allen and Mel Gibson — Mr. Richards, after all, did not have a whole lot to lose. He hardly had the publicist Howard Rubenstein running off a copy of his firm’s best “truly sorry, humbly repent, Hazelden” breast-beating memo.
She did bring up something we'd wondered about: The possibility that Richards was actually in character, attempting (however poorly) pardoy, though his words clearly show a very angry man with a lot of problems. We're not sure if Jerry Seinfeld can save him.
On Rubenstein's advice, Richards called the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson to apologize, but Sharpton said, "He called me yesterday to say sorry, but it's not my place to accept that on behalf of all blacks. I can forgive, but I'm not the victim here. What he said hurt a lot of people."
To which one of the hecklers from the Laugh Factory, Kyle Doss said, "If he wanted to apologize, he could've contacted somebody, one of us. But he didn't." Doss and his friend, who had been in a larger, racially mixed group of people celebrating a birthday, now want a cash settlement with an apology. And they're serious - they hired Gloria Allred.
Stanley Crouch has a column in the Daily News: "In the interest of equality, no black comedian should get a pass when using insulting and denigrating words in the middle of an act. It all seems very simple to me. We do not need to accept the conventions of insult and denigration that have been established by black comedians and rappers."
Image from TBS's "very funny downloads" - yes, you can get Kramer wallpaper