michael richards: the andy kaufman connection

When I heard news of Michael Richards’ racist rant the other day, my first thought was that he had done it consciously. I didn’t know exactly what he was trying to accomplish, but I thought that it was a put-on. Maybe it was just the memory of him appearing in that infamous Fridays’ skit with Andy Kaufman all those years ago, and the fact that it was later revealed that he was in on it. I guess I thought that maybe this was some kind of confused homage to Kaufman, who was himself apparently never happier than when he was being hated. This idea of mine was reinforced last night, when I heard that Richards had gone on Letterman, the site of so many classic Kaufman pranks, to “apologize.” Of course, now that I’ve actually seen the tape of him yelling the n-word and threatening people with forks up their asses (which, I guess, is something that Richards thinks white people did to black people not so long ago), I don’t think there’s much chance that it was a put-on. (I suppose it could be, but I can’t figure out what could possibly be in it for Richards.) I just think that a few guys in the audience got under his skin by calling him a “no-talent has-been” and he lost the part of his mind that reminds him that he’s in public. And, oh yeah, there’s also his seething hatred of black people… All the circumstances were right for the creation of a perfect storm.

So, when all of this first started breaking in the press, I began looking for the phone number of Andy Kaufman’s old writing partner, Bob Zmuda, who I’d interviewed a few years ago, when I was living in LA. I thought that his perspective would be interesting, especially if he thought that it was even remotely possible that it was a put-on. I couldn’t find the number though. Then, the next train of thought took me off in another direction, thinking that someone should start digging to see whether or not there might be any connection between Richards and the person who, we’re told, captured his meltdown on video. I was going to send a note to someone in the press suggesting that they pursue it, but then, the more I watched the tape the less likely that it seemed… If it is a prank, it’s as well-executed as it is misguided… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Best case scenario, there’s a primetime, tearful televised reconciliation between Michael “Kramer” Richards and his African-American heckler… At some point during the discussion, the heckler, hopefully while Dr. Phil is talking, stands up and begins pealing off a rubber mask, revealing…. are you ready for this?…. Andy Kaufman!

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4 Comments

  1. mark
    Posted November 22, 2006 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Of course, it

  2. It's Skinner Again
    Posted November 22, 2006 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Richards’ outburst was ugly; but then, so was someone publicly jeering at him as a “no-talent has-been.” It just goes to show — again — that we are hateful creatures, and that comedy clubs don’t bring out the best in us.

  3. It's Skinner Again
    Posted November 22, 2006 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Richards’ outburst was ugly; but then, so was someone publicly jeering at him as a “no-talent has-been.” It just goes to show — again — that we are hateful creatures, and that comedy clubs don’t bring out the best in us.

  4. clownpuncher
    Posted November 24, 2006 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Forget about this bullshit. Post something about Ripa vs. Rosie. Tight Ass vs. Lard-Ass. You have to have some opinion on this as you are also a germaphobe. I want to read you ripping that hypocritical, heterophobic bitch. If someone puts their hand over my mouth, I usually stick out my tongue and lick them.

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