Maybe Comic actor Michael Richards needs more practice as a stand-up comedien after his long stint on Seinfeld. Richards was on stage before a tough crowd in West Hollywood when he was heckled and lost his cool - spewing racial slurs, shouting back at the audience, and generally making an ass of himself.
"For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry," the former "Seinfeld" co-star said.
"I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this," Richards tried to explain during a satellite appearance for David Letterman's "Late Show."
Richards, 57, who played Seinfeld's eccentric neighbor Kramer on the hit 1989-98 sitcom and whose major credit since was a failed 2000 comedy, hadn't spoken publicly about his remarks before the "Late Show."
The actor described how he went into a rage over two audience members who interrupted his act Friday at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. Richards responded to the black hecklers with repeated use of the "n word" and profanities.
Comic Paul Rodriguez, who was at the club, said he thought Richards' remarks crossed the line. "Once the word comes out of your mouth and you don't happen to be African-American, then you have a whole lot of explaining," he said. "Freedom of speech has its limitations and I think Michael Richards found those limitations. I kept expecting a punch line. It didn't come."
Jerry Seinfeld, who had issued a statement saying he was "sick over this horrible, horrible mistake" and calling it offensive, was scheduled as a Letterman guest Monday. He encouraged Richards to make a satellite appearance to talk about the incident, a CBS publicist said.
Comedian George Lopez told Los Angeles television station KTLA he thought Richards' lack of stand-up experience may have been a factor. "You have an actor who is trying to be a comedian who doesn't know what to do when an audience is disruptive," Lopez said. "He's an actor whose show has been off the air, he shouldn't ever be on a stand-up gig."