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‘Seinfeld’ Star Michael Richards Opens Up About 2006 Racist Remarks

‘Seinfeld’ Star Michael Richards Opens Up About 2006 Racist Remarks

Though Seinfeld star Michael Richards has spent years out of the spotlight, particularly following his racist remarks in 2006, the actor is now opening up about his life, as well as that night.

During the stand-up set at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, Richards yelled racial insults at a group of hecklers, including using the N-word multiple times, after they interrupted his performance. Though he later apologized on the then-Late Show With David Letterman, the incident notably upended his career.

Nearly two decades later, Richards spoke with People magazine ahead of the release of his memoir, Entrances and Exitson June 4. During the interview, he shared that he doesn’t expect people to forgive and forget that night.

“I was immediately sorry the moment I said it onstage,” he said. “I’m not looking for a comeback.”

Richards continued, “My anger was all over the place and it came through hard and fast. Anger is quite a force. But it happened. Rather than run from it, I dove into the deep end and tried to learn from it. It hasn’t been easy.” He added, “Crisis managers wanted me to do damage control. But as far as I was concerned, the damage was inside of me.”

The former comedian told the outlet that he spent the years after the controversy in “deep analysis,” trying to “figure out where all the anger was coming from,” which he said was partly due to his own insecurities.

“Somehow I couldn’t connect to the joy of being an artist,” Richards said, regarding his memorable role as Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld. “I was a good character actor, but I was comfortable being the character, not in being me.”

He added that “fame magnified” his insecurities, which led him to turn down several opportunities, and that he was never “really satisfied” with his performance in the hit sitcom, which ran from 1989 to 1998.

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When he thinks back to the racist comments he made on that night in 2006, Richards said he knows he has no valid excuse for his hurtful words. “I’m not racist,” he told People. “I have nothing against Black people. The man who told me I wasn’t funny had just said what I’d been saying to myself for a while. I felt put down. I wanted to put him down.”

However, he noted that he’s spent the past 17 years “learning and healing,” as well as confronting his childhood trauma — which he also discussed in his memoir, among other topics.

“Life is always an up and a down,” Richards concluded. “I continue to work through the day and the night, the light and the dark that I am.”  

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