Michael Richards Opens Up to Jerry Seinfeld About His Comedy Club Meltdown
Michael Richards says he hasn't performed standup or even worked on new material since he went on a racist tirade in a comedy club in 2006 after an audience member interrupted his set.
Richards opened up to his former Seinfeld co-star Jerry Seinfeld in the most recent episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Seinfeld's new web series.
After a morning of events that seemed as if they were pulled from the pages of a Seinfeld script (including the pair winding up at Jay Mohr's house when they were looking for Sugar Ray Leonard), Seinfeld and Richards' coffee date turned serious when Richards started talking about how the evening still haunts him.
"It's not about me. It's about them," Richards said of his fans. "That's a lesson I learned [six] years ago, when I blew it in the comedy club, lost my temper because somebody interrupted my act and said some things that hurt me and I lashed out in anger."
VIDEO: Check out Jerry Seinfeld's new web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Richards was performing at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood in November 2006 when he lashed out at two hecklers in the audience who were black, repeatedly using the N-word and making several references to lynching. The incident was caught on video by another audience member.
"I busted up after that event," Richards admits. "It broke me down. It was a selfish response. I took it too personally and I should have just said, 'Yeah, you're absolutely right. I'm not funny. I think I'll go home and work on my material and I'll see you tomorrow night.'"
Richards later appeared on Larry David's show Curb Your Enthusiasm as himself and parodied the incident. In the Comedians in Cars episode, he thanks Seinfeld for "sticking by me," and Jerry responds by encouraging him to get back into comedy.
"Inside, it still kicks me around a bit," Richards says of the incident.
Watch the full episode, called "It's Bubbly Time, Jerry," below: