Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Say It Ain't So, Kramer

Why, Kramer? Why?

My innocence has shattered.

One of television's most beloved characters, Kramer, will never again be the same goofy, lovable oaf we all watched do increasingly wacky things on the show Seinfeld.

This week, he spewed racial epiphets at black people who were heckling him in the crowd. That's a mild way of putting it. "He lost his mind," is a bit more accurate. As CNN reports:

A video posted on TMZ.com shows Richards launching into the tirade after two black audience members started shouting at him that he wasn't funny.

Richards retorts: "Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f------ fork up your a--."

He then paces across the stage taunting the men for interrupting his show, peppering his speech with racial slurs and profanities.

"You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now mother------. Throw his a-- out. He's a n-----!" Richards shouts before repeating the racial epithet over and over again.

While there is some chuckling in the audience throughout the outburst, someone can be heard gasping "Oh my God" and various people "ooh" after Richards uses the n-word.

Eventually someone says: "It's not funny. That's why you're a reject, never had no shows, never had no movies. `Seinfeld,' that's it."

Easily offended people might not want to view the video. (Warning, loud, coarse language)

Kramer compounded his mistake by issuing a barely coherent, rambling apology, which sounded, at times, as if he was justifying his behavior. He also said this gem of a line:

"I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this"

Actually, what's so insane about this is you, Kramer. This line, "I'm not a racist," is a typical one uttered by one who's been caught spewing racial epiphets. But it's a meaningless one. KKK members don't call themselves racists. No one calls themselves a racist. The "racist" label is applied to one who behaves in a racist manner. And Kramer, well, that's exactly what you did.

During Kramer's "apology" on Letterman, some people in the audience started laughing. Jerry Seinfeld angrily told them to "Shut up, this isn't funny." But I'm willing to bet that half the people in that audience didn't know what had occurred. Letterman made some jokes in his monologue, but the show was taped around 4 in the afternoon, in front of people who probably weren't sitting at their computers all day reading the breaking news. They can be forgiven for thinking this was some sort of joke.

It seemed like a joke. What celebrity in their right mind would appear live, on air, without a prepared apology? Kramer looked as if he had no idea what he was going to say next.

If you didn't see it, here you go.

Most. Awkward. TV. Moment. Ever.

What should he have done? How bout any one of these:

"I sincerely apologize. There's no excuse for my actions. I deeply regret those things I said and the people hurt by them. I hope that they can forgive me."

"I crossed the line when I yelled those hurtful things at the people heckling me. Out of frustration, I said the most hurtful thing I could think of to say. It was a mistake, and I hope that they, and all who saw my horrifying display, can forgive me."

"I wasn't saying 'nigga,' I actually said 'Nikka' as in the pop singer, Nikka Costa. She's one HOT tamale."

"I have a drinking problem."

Letterman's face, after Kramer's done talking, says it all (check it out on the video).

Kramer, I'll miss you.

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