The Michael Richards Interview on AIDS Excerpt and Us

The Michael Richards Interview on AIDS Excerpt and Us
by Richard Oxman

On November 17th, the 149th anniversary of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s first foray into writing the first draft of his Gettysburg address, I spoke to someone who had walked out of Michael (“Call me less racist than Mel, please”) Richards’ performance at L.A.’s Laugh Factory. He was furious, but instructive.

Turns out that the angry “fan” had had irritating contact with the ex-Seinfeld star previously, following the recording of the last episode of the failed Michael Richards Show. It came in the form of an off-the-record interview. “Kramer” was feeling vulnerable, and apparently his infamous “passion” got the best of him (once again). Below is an excerpt from the interviewer’s notes.

Interviewer: You say that the term “lynching” has always been somewhat ambiguous?

MR: Yah, yah, first of all, those who were “victimized” were mostly vagrants or lowlifes. It’s like I was saying about the people dying from AIDS in Africa. (pause) C’mon, the disease is an exceptionally expensive condition to care for and treat. You can’t hardly help but conclude that the more rapidly those people living with HIV in the so-called developing world become sick and die, the more “cost-effective” the response to the epidemic would be.

Seems as if Michael’s really rowing the racist boat home here again. If we were all living in the fourteenth century…it wouldn’t be hard to see him believing that syphilis was a way to clear the decks and start the development process all over again.

But the question shouldn’t center on whether or not MR is a racist. Or whether or not he’s a sick individual. Nor should there be any discussion concerning the information above, the veracity of the reportage. He shouldn’t be in the spotlight at all now. Nor should the ignorant, devious owners of the club…or the fatuous responses of colleagues, celebrities, et. al. The focus should be on us. Or at least on the members of the audience at the Laugh Factory who laughed, stayed or…merely walked out on the performance.

First things first.

Richard Oxman lives in Los Gatos, California, and he can be reached at ….