He called two black hecklers the "n-word" and enthusiastically referenced a time when blacks were often victims of civil rights abuses, but former "Seinfeld" star Michael Richards said his verbal barrage during a stand-up comedy routine was fueled by anger and not bigotry.
"For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry," Richards said during a satellite appearance for David Letterman's "Late Show" in New York.
"I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this," Richards said, his tone becoming angry and frustrated as he defended himself.
Richards, best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld's eccentric neighbor Kramer on the hit TV show, described himself as going into "a rage" over the two audience members who interrupted his act Friday at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood.
"Once the word comes out of your mouth and you don't happen to be African-American, then you have a whole lot of explaining," comedian Paul Rodriguez, who was at the Laugh Factory during Richards' performance, told CNN. "Freedom of speech has its limitations and I think Michael Richards found those limitations."
His Laugh Factory tirade began after the two clubgoers shouted at him that he wasn't funny. A videotape of the incident was posted on TMZ.com.
Richards retorted: "Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f------ fork up your a--."
He then paced across the stage taunting the men for interrupting his show, peppering his speech with racial slurs and profanities.
Sorry Mr. Richards, but even in the worst rage, there are some words that should never pass your lips. And if you're that uptight when someone heckles you, you shouldn't be doing standup. JMHO.