'Seinfeld' Star Michael Richards Opens up About the Aftermath of His Racist Outburst

From one of television’s most beloved people to one of the most hated overnight: Michael Richards is finally telling his story.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jun. 4 2024, Published 5:37 p.m. ET

Host Jerry Seinfeld and actor Michael Richards attend the 2nd annual Los Angeles Fatherhood Lunch to benefit GOOD+FOUNDATION (2016)
Source: Getty Images

Nine seasons and three Emmy awards later, Michael Richards was one of television’s most memorable and beloved stars. He played the goofy Cosmo Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld’s across-the-hall neighbor with a unique way of moving through the world, in Seinfeld. But in 2006, a video circulated of Michael Richards going on what many have deemed “a racist rant,” effectively ending his career.

Article continues below advertisement

Every so often, Michael has popped his head in, such as for an appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm. But after releasing his June 2024 memoir, Entrances and Exits, he finally shared what happened from his perspective and how he dealt with the aftermath. So what happened and where is he now?

Actors Michael Richards, Jason Alexander and host Jerry Seinfeld attend the Inaugural Los Angeles Fatherhood Lunch to Benefit Baby Buggy
Source: Getty Images

Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, and Jerry Seinfeld in 2015

Article continues below advertisement

What happened to Michael Richards? He was effectively “canceled” after his racist tirade at the Laugh Factory.

After Seinfeld ended, Michael did a couple of other projects, but nothing panned out quite as well as before he was on the sitcom. So he went back on the circuit as a stand-up comedian. And one fateful day in 2006, a few audience members bustled into the show loudly, prompting an overreaction from Michael.

In a clip from that performance that went viral, Michael repeatedly calls them the n-word in a two-minute interaction in which his rage is palpable. Many audience members start leaving the show as Michael goes back and forth with the audience member, who is clearly rattled by Michael’s overreaction. As the audience gets unruly, Michael leaves the stage and the host eventually comes back on to apologize.

Article continues below advertisement

After an apology-gone-wrong on The Late Show with David Letterman (see the video in the next tweet below), Michael’s career was effectively over. He voiced a small part in Jerry’s The Bee Movie and has made a couple of appearances, but for the most part, he’s kept his head down and out of the limelight. He called activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to apologize, although the heckler, Kyle Doss, has said he doesn’t accept Michael’s apology.

Article continues below advertisement

Michael did speak about the incident in a 2012 episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and revealed that it still “haunted” him and was one of the main reasons he retired from stand-up comedy. He did a couple of TV movies after the incident, but he didn't make headlines again until his memoir came out in 2024.

Article continues below advertisement

Michael Richards’s memoir became a hot topic of conversation.

In Michael’s memoir, he talks about everything we’d expect — time on the set of Seinfeld, his childhood, and of course, the racist outburst that brought down his career. To promote its release, Michael spoke with People, in which he revealed, “I was immediately sorry the moment I said it onstage … I'm not looking for a comeback."

"My anger was all over the place and it came through hard and fast," he went on. "Anger is quite a force. But it happened. Rather than run from it, I dove into the deep end and tried to learn from it. It hasn’t been easy." He added, "Crisis managers wanted me to do damage control. But as far as I was concerned, the damage was inside of me."

Article continues below advertisement

He's also been married to Beth Skipp since 2010, with whom he shares one son. Now that he has opened up about how the outburst changed him and made him look inward, we’re finally learning about the psyche of the man behind television’s favorite neighbor.

More from Distractify

Latest Entertainment News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.