Michael Richards, 18 Years Later, Confirms: “I’m Not Racist”

18 years after repeatedly yelling the hard N-word on stage, Michael Richards has insisted, “I’m not racist.”

With a new book to promote, the actor recently spoke with People magazine and addressed the 2006 incident at the Laugh Factory when he responded to hecklers by shouting racial epithets and making references to lynching and Jim Crow laws.

“I’m not racist,” Richards said. “I have nothing against Black people. The man who told me I wasn’t funny had just said what I’d been saying to myself for a while. I felt put down. I wanted to put him down.”

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Richards added that he was “immediately sorry the moment” he said the racial slurs. He also doesn’t expect forgiveness after all this time: “I’m not looking for a comeback.”


“My anger was all over the place and it came through hard and fast,” he continued. “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. Crisis managers wanted me to do damage control. But as far as I was concerned, the damage was inside of me.”

Back in 2006, CNN spoke to Kyle Doss, one of the audience members whom Richards had addressed, after footage of the tirade was leaked by TMZ.

“He said, ‘Look at the stupid Mexicans and Blacks being loud up there,’” Doss remembered. “And then he kept on with his bit. And, then, after a while, I told him, ‘My friend doesn’t think you’re funny.’ And then when I told him that, that’s when he flipped me off and said, ‘Fuck you N-word.’ And that’s how it all started.”

For his part, Richards appeared on Late Show with David Letterman via satellite following the incident and said, “For me to be at a comedy club and 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.” At least he’s consistent.


Since 2006, Richards has largely been out of the spotlight and primarily only landed roles thanks to his Seinfeld connections. Besides a voice role in Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie, he’s appeared in several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.