The apologizing has begun: Seinfeld star Michael Richards popped up via satellite during Jerry Seinfeld’s appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman last night, saying he was ”busted up” over his caught-on-tape racist rant at the Laugh Factory in L.A. (Watch his apology here.) Looking exhausted and sounding addled, Richards launched into a bizarre mea culpa that referenced, among other things, ”Afro-Americans” (a term I haven’t encountered since my early-’80s social studies textbooks), Hurricane Katrina, international relations, jujitsu, and ”the rage” inside him. About the fallout from the incident: ”I’m concerned about more hate and more rage and more anger coming through, not just toward me but toward a black/white conflict. There’s a great deal of disturbance in this country, in how blacks feel about what happened in Katrina, and you know, many of the comics, many performers are in Vegas or New Orleans trying to raise money for what happened there. And for this to happen, for me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I’m deeply, deeply sorry.”
But when Letterman asked if being completely inappropriate on stage was his way of attempting to make light of the situation at the Laugh Factory (where he was being heckled), Richards confirmed that was his intent, but ”it didn’t work out…. Talk about a bad night.” The interview ended with Richards saying, ”I just have to do personal work…. I’m still reeling from this.”
So the question for you, PopWatchers, is: Apology accepted? As an ”Afro-American” fan of Seinfeld myself, I was truly disappointed in Richards’ behavior, and in his apology too (though I’m not sure any apology can ever make me forget his atrocious actions). I appreciate that he responded so quickly, but I found his strange rambling extremely uncomfortable to watch. I just wish he had simply said that he was completely wrong, that he was sorry, that there was no excuse for the things he said on the stage that night, and that he was getting help (I’m not sure ”personal work” is gonna do it). Anyway, look for more apologies in the coming days — here’s hoping they’re a bit more succinct and well-thought-out.