Michael Richards says he 'went into character' during racist rant at comedy show

"The rage is channeled into a character. I am trying to perform in my own way, at first,” the comedian explained.

Michael Richards has claimed he was playing a role when he launched into his infamous racist tirade at a comedy gig back in 2006. 

While visiting The View on Tuesday to promote his memoir Entrances and Exits, the Seinfeld actor and comedian explained that he “went into character” during the incident at the Laugh Factory, which saw him shout racial slurs at a Black audience member who had heckled him. 

“Now, first, I must say, look, I’m not a normal man. There’s a lot of eccentricity going on in my kind of comedy and, certainly, I could never have created a character like Kramer without being slightly touched, so I went into character,” Richards explained. “And I work in a comedy club environment where the N-word is used a lot, and I decided I would let it loose.”

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<p>Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty</p> Michael Richards

Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty

Michael Richards

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Joy Behar, a fellow comedian and panelist on the show, interjected to note that the word is “not used anymore” in comedy, adding, “Those days are over.” To which Richards responded, “For me, they certainly are.”

In response to the incident, Richards said that he “canceled myself” and left Hollywood for the last 18 years. “When that rage came about — and the rage is channeled into a character. I am trying to perform in my own way, at first,” he said, before noting that it only “got me deeper into hell” along the way. 

“Well, I felt like I got hit, so I'm hitting back. That person went low, I'm going lower,” he said of the reasoning behind his rant. “And I'm very emotional about it still, after 18 years, you can feel the passion that I am — maybe it's because I'm Italian.”

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In the end, Richards said that he “tried,” but that everything “went to hell," calling the situation “horrific.” He went onto agree with panelists Sunny Hostin and Behar when they both noted that he had apologized for his remarks and learned from them in the years since.

Still, Richards noted that “anger is still around” in his life to this day. “It doesn’t go away. It’s the color of my fur,” he said. “I went personal, personal, then I started seeing it collectively, and the rage behind the wars and I'm there in a club making war on my fellow man. Those were big considerations for me after that.”

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