On Friday, former Seinfeld star Michael Richards spewed racial obscenities to hecklers as he performed stand-up at Los Angeles comedy club The Laugh Factory. By Saturday, video footage of the actor's breakdown was all over the Internet.
The comic actor also performed Saturday at the comedy club, but gave no comment to CNN and other news outlets. Friend Jerry Seinfeld released a statement saying, "I'm sure Michael is...sick over this horrible, horrible mistake. It is so extremely offensive. I feel terrible for all the people who have been hurt."
Now, Seinfeld will appear tonight as a previously scheduled guest on Late Night With David Letterman, and he comes bearing a videotaped apology from Richards.
"I lost my temper onstage," Richards says in his statement, portions of which ran on tonight's CBS Evening News With Katie Couric. "I was at a comedy club trying to do my act and I got heckled and I took it badly and went into a rage. For me to flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry. I'm not a racist--that's what's so insane about this."
The incident occurred when Richards, responding to an audience member's shout of "You're not funny!" began a long and expletive-laden rant with "Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f****** fork up your a**." It went downhill from there.
Comedian George Lopez told an LA radio station that Richards' inexperience may have led to his outburst.
"The question is you have an actor who is trying to be a comedian who doesn't know what to do when an audience is disruptive," Lopez said. "He's an actor whose show has been off the air, he shouldn't ever be on a stand-up gig."