In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that a character as lovably wacky as Seinfeld’s Kramer could be played by angry Michael Richards. His public image imploded in 2006 after cameras caught the actor launching into a 3-min. tirade at an L.A. comedy club when an African-American man started heckling him. The rant, which included repeated use of the N word and a graphic reference to lynching, managed to clear the entire club.
Jerry Seinfeld eventually convinced Richards — who had stonewalled the media for days — to appear via satellite during Seinfeld’s appearance on Letterman’s show. If only he could have persuaded Richards to make his apology seem believable. Richards’ comparison of trash talk to “Afro Americans” (no, really, that’s the term he used) to wars between nations was especially ludicrous. It didn’t help that the audience laughed (albeit uncomfortably) the entire time.