Michael Richards: My Racist Outburst During 2006 Stand-Up Gig Was a “Reality Check”

Michael Richards
Seinfeld legend Michael Richards exclusively told Us Weekly that his racist outburst during a 2006 stand-up gig was a "reality check" Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Dropping the microphone. Michael Richards — aka Seinfeld's Kramer — admits that his 2006 racist outburst during a stand-up show was a "reality check."

"I had to question whether or not this is my game. I'd done it before but I always got sort of picked up off the floor and put into projects," Richards, 66, told Us Weekly exclusively at the AFMDA 3rd Annual Red Star Ball in Beverly Hills on Thursday, Oct. 22. (Richards attended the event to support his Seinfeld costar Jerry Seinfeld.)

He added: "I'd only been doing stand-up at the time that situation happened about seven or eight months and I just lost my patience that night because people were heckling me and not letting me work on my material and I lost my cool. And it is what it is! I've moved on."

In the infamous moment, the actor had a racist exchange with someone in the audience while performing at Hollywood's Laugh Factory, repeatedly saying "F—k you, n—." He soon apologized during the Late Show With David Letterman, but the damage to his career had already been done. On Thursday, he told Us that stand-up may not be in the cards for him anymore.

"I never had a great knack for that," he explained. "I was always more of a performance artist, in a sense and that could be misunderstood given what happened nine years ago. And I am sorry for all that. Jerry is a definitive stand-up and he's performing tonight and that's his deal. He's really good at it."

Seinfeld cast
NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

At the event, Richards — who considers himself a family man — also shot down the idea of a Seinfeld reboot. The actor starred on the beloved series from 1989 to 1998 alongside Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine Benes), and Jason Alexander (George Costanza). He last appeared in an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee in 2014.

"We could still play it, at the ages we are now, but I don't see how that would be a real definitive project here today," he told Us. "We're all capable of making it still shine, in a fresh new way, but I don't think that's on the table right now. I think audiences are still seeing it out there for what it is — classic, a moment in time, and a really great comedy."

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