Michael Richards Apologizes for Racist Slurs
updated 11/20/2006 AT 09:20 PM EST
•originally published 11/20/2006 AT 07:10 PM EST
"I lost my temper on stage. I was trying to do my act and I got heckled. I took it badly and went into a rage and said some really nasty things to some Afro-Americans," Richards told Letterman via satellite (view the clip here). "I'm really busted up over this. I'm really, really sorry.
"I'm concerned about the anger coming through. I'm deeply, deeply sorry. I'm not a racist, that's what so insane about this. ... I just have to do personal work. I'm still reeling from this."
Richards, best known as Kramer from the hit series, hurled racial epithets at black audience members who apparently heckled him during a standup show in L.A. on Friday night.
TMZ posted a video of the incident on Monday (click here to watch the video). It shows Richards, 57, taunting the men for interrupting his show. "Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f–ing fork up your a–," he yells.
He paces the stage, then continues: "You can talk, you can talk, you can talk, you're brave now mother–. Throw his a– out. He's a n–!"
Richards then screams the n-word four more times while pointing to the hecklers in the balcony, drawing uncomfortable murmurs from the crowd. The two sides continue to trade insults, and then Richards eventually leaves the stage for good.
"I went back onstage that night and I apologized to quite a few people," Richards told Letterman. "I didn't get to talk to everyone. They left. And they went to the press, as they should have."
The incident took place at The Laugh Factory, a comedy club in West Hollywood.
Jerry Seinfeld was already scheduled to appear on Letterman's show, and told Letterman of his friend and former costar, "I did talk to him today I was extremely upset about it and he's extremely upset about it so I invited him on the show. He's mystified about what happened."
The Laugh Factory has banned Richards and promised to post a warning to all comedians to avoid offensive language.