Every comedian must prepare himself/herself for some drunk, obnoxious mofo sitting in the crowd. A real comedian would deal with a heckler like a pimp would a mark - he would clock back strong funny hand and slap a fool silly - on the mic and keep everyone entertained while he did it. Michael is a comic, a funny guy that can act, but I see him as no real comedian.
I think most of the reaction people are having is that they loved the Kramer character so much that they cannot disassociate the man from what he plays. Kosmo Kramer loved every race, color, and creed (with arms wide open might I add ). To see the guy who plays him do a racial slur-filled tirade breaks that Seinfeld perception of him which I think truly angers folks.
Comedians have a cool job in that they are allowed to say the things that people may want to say but don't. I've heard this same type of tirade/act go on from comedians such as Carlos Mencia (in Chicago at Zanies), Aries Spears (in Dallas at the Improv), Chris Rock (on HBO...sorry...I have yet to see him live), Dave White, and other comedians out there. The difference is that they may have racist comments/viewpoints to make but they are making jokes all along the way, and typically are poking fun at stereotypes on both sides of joke. The audience seems to give a pass on all of this - as long as it's funny. The second material bombs, they run the line of being considered racist. As Johnny Cash used to sing, walk the line...
I was driving home the day this happened and listened to The Roe Conn Show. Of course, everyone was calling in saying how appalled they were at what was done/said. The owner of The Improv in Schaumburg called up and stated that he had booked Michael Richards 6 months ago where the same thing happened; a heckler got Michael off his material and Michael broke down and resorted to racial name calling and obscenities. The difference here the audience member was white. Does that excuse Michael from calling people "n*gger"? No. Does that give a little bit of credibility to his claim that he's not a racist? Maybe. One thing's for sure. Regardless of who is getting the receiving the wrath of his tirades, Michael is an ignorant man and needs to learn to take it while giving it.
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By Young MC
Release date: By 13 August, 1991