The season finale of Jerry Seinfeld’s Web series “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” on Thursday opted to give audiences some raw honesty instead of going for laughs.
Rather than showing Seinfeld drive around in a classic car and riffing with old pals, the new episode featured a look at some of the turmoil surrounding his friend Michael Richards.
Richards is best known for his role as Kramer, the wacky next-door neighbor on the NBC television series “Seinfeld,” regarded by many to be among the funniest sitcoms of all time. Then, in 2006, Richards was performing standup comedy at the Laugh Factory when he delivered a racist diatribe aimed at black audience members who interrupted his set. Since the video of that incident went viral, Richards has been almost entirely out of the public eye, only appearing on HBO's “Curb Your Enthusiasm."
As word of his appearance on “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” spread, audiences online appear to have turned their disillusionment with Richards into warmth, a rare phenomenon in the treacherous world of comment boards and Twitter.
Based on their interaction in the show, it’s clear Richards and Seinfeld aren’t as close as they once were. When Seinfeld spent episodes in the series with other friends, they easily joked about things going on in their present lives. With Richards, the interaction is almost all reminiscence. Richards also seemed less comfortable in front of the camera than previous guests, such as Ricky Gervais and Brian Regan, something that perhaps shouldn’t come as a shock considering his recent years as a recluse.
The most powerful footage comes in the waning minutes of the video, when Richards broaches the elephant in the room after the two discuss the differences between their preparation methods.
“Sometimes I look back at the show and think I should have enjoyed myself more,” Richards said. “I think I worked selfishly and not selflessly. It’s not about me, it’s about [the audience]. Now, that’s a lesson I learned seven years ago when I blew it in the comedy club and lost my temper because somebody said some things that interrupted my act and hurt me … I should have been working selflessly.
“I busted up after that event. I broke me down,” Richards said to Seinfeld, who attempted to reassure his friend. “It still kicks me around.”
Richards also thanked Seinfeld for standing by him in the years following the rant at the comedy club. Shortly afterward, Seinfeld appeared on the same episode of the “Late Show with David Letterman” as Richards, when he publicly apologized for the outburst for the first time.