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Fri, 11.17.2006

A White Jewish Comedian Insults Blacks on Stage in Los Angeles

On this date in 2006, a famous White-Jewish American comedian publicly and repeatedly insulted Blacks at a comedy club in Los Angeles.

Michael Richards began his tirade at L.A.’s Laugh Factory after two audience members shouted at him that he wasn't funny. A videotape of the incident was posted on Richards replied angrily: “Shut up! Fifty years ago, we'd have you upside down with a [expletive] fork up your ass.” He then paced across the stage, taunting the men for interrupting his show and showering his speech with racial slurs and profanities. “You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now [expletive]. Throw his ass out. He's a nigger!” Richards shouted before repeating the racial label over and over. He also identified himself on stage as white.

Moderating his tone at one point, Richards told the audience, “It shocks you, it shocks you,” and referred to “what lays buried.” While some were chuckling in the audience throughout the outburst, others could be heard gasping, “Oh my God,” and others responded with “ooh” after Richards used the n-word.  Comedian Paul Rodriguez, who was at the Laugh Factory during Richards' performance, said he was shocked. “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. Freedom of speech has its limitations, and I think Michael Richards found those limitations.”

The following Monday, Richards said he spewed racial epithets because he lost his cool while being heckled. “I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this,” Richards said, his tone becoming angry and frustrated as he defended himself. “For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry,” said the former Seinfeld co-star, explaining his actions during a satellite appearance for David Letterman's Late Show in New York.



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