Originally Posted by picc84
You think he was justified in it? Does "you're not funny" really warrant a 5 minute tirade? Wow.
Edit: Are you black?
Actually, this is really a good question. I'll see if I can answer it and have it come across clearly instead of as contradictory as it seems.
Although it's -very- unprofessional, I think he was justified in going off on the person in the crowd. However, I don't think he was justified in using the approach he took. No good could have ever come of it. He could said a million different things and nobody would've ever heard a word about it, but he chose one word.
I don't know Michael Richards personally. I don't know if he truly doesn't like black people and truly meant what he was saying, if he was just pissed and was saying the harshest thing he could think of saying, or what. To be honest, I don't care, it just doesn't bother me. If you want to see harsh, watch footage of Larry David or Bill Hicks going off on the audience. What Michael Richards did was -tame-, and people have flipped out of their damn minds about it.
Most people know Michael Richards as "Kramer" from Seinfeld. In fact, this topic doesn't even call him "Michael Richards", everyone knows him as "Kramer". I know him as Michael Richards, from the show Fridays, and from his standup that I've gotten to see a handful of times. He's not this goofy, lovable nut named Cosmo Kramer, but an eclectic, edgy, and misunderstood comic, much like the aforementioned Bill Hicks and Larry David. People are freaking out because "Kramer", the lovable hipster doofus who came into our homes every Thursday night for a decade yelled racial slurs at someone in his audience. Never mind why, never mind what caused it, never mind the fact that he didn't beat the audience member senseless, all the man did was call another man a name. Are we third graders? Is this really that big of a deal?
Have you ever been in a fight before? When you're up in someone's face, getting ready to throw down, do you whisper sweet nothings in their ear or do you go for the jugular and say the thing that you KNOW will get a rise out of them? See, what cracks me up is that people can't even consider this a possibility. "No way, he's obviously a racist!" Well, maybe he is, maybe he isn't. But if the only piece of evidence you have that a man is racist is because he called another man a ******. By that logic -everyone- who uses that word is a racist. If you watch the video of Michael Richards, he says, "Alright, you see? This shocks you. It shocks you to see what's buried beneath you stupid mother****ers." And again later, "You see? There's still those words, those words." He's talking about how there's certain words that cut -right through- everything and make an impact. Words. Not actions, words.
I'm not a stand up comic, but I've been a musician for nearly 20 years. I've dealt with -plenty- of hecklers in my time.. when you perform in front of people who are served alcohol, it comes with the territory. The professional way to handle a situation like this is to point the offender(s) out to security and go about your show.. but this sort of thing pisses you off. I've seen and been involved in plenty of fights over this sort of thing. Again, it comes with the territory. 99% of the time, it's some drunk prick in the audience yelling racial slurs at one of us, not the other way around.
There's a nice hypothetical situation to think about
: If Michael Richards was black, and the audience member was calling HIM the N word, would this be front page news? Would this be -that- big of a deal? The answer is no, it wouldn't, and don't even think for a second that it would be otherwise because this happens ALL of the damn time.
And to answer the question about my own ethnicity: I am a 32 year old, white (Irish/German/Slovak) male who grew up in Gary Indiana. The majority of my friends growing up were hispanic and black. Being non-black in Gary Indiana meant -I- was the minority growing up, and although I did see a lot (and received more than my fair share) of racism, it only ever came from ignorant people. My family worked hard to get the hell out of Gary and only got as far as the neighboring city, Hammond. I've been one of the lucky ones who has gotten away from the ghettos of Northwest Indiana, but they've already sucked me back in three times now, and I'm pretty damn close to a fourth. It's like a black hole, and there's this aura of misery around the entire area because everybody hates everybody there for absolutely no reason at all.
Quite simply, I grew up. Race never bothered me, and I've always had a pretty dark sense of humor, so I've taken pride in saying the things people don't want to hear. I've taken my share of lumps for it, I assure you, but I've also given a few educational beatings of my own. For me personally, I don't believe in racism. Why hate someone for the color of their skin or where they come from when every single person has so many individual characteristics to hate them for. I despise ignorance, and ignorance knows no race, color or creed. And this entire situation with Michael Richards, from the people disrupting his show, to the way he handled it, to the way the media blew it up to help distract the people from our country's unforgivable actions both foreign and domestic, to the way people have turned this into a billion different arguments, all over one word. That's just 100% pure ignorance, and it makes me sick to see that the overwhelming majority of people in this country, let alone this world, are -this- ignorant.
But by all means, continue. You're the ones paying the price, not me.