Monday, November 24, 2008

N#gger! N#gger! N#gger!

It's been awhile since I had a celebrity run-in---something like a week now---so here's one to hold you over until the next encounter:

This evening, around 9:00pm at Central Park West and 81st Street, as I was getting off the crosstown bus after an especially late night of work, I spied an odd-looking man taking photographs of...well, nothing in particular. He was taking photos of the bus, of the ground, of the walls of the buildings, of the stripes on the street, of just about everything not worthy of being photographed (and I have a liberal definition of what constitutes acceptable material) and doing so with all the intensity of a true artist.

Up close, this man's identity was unmistakable. It was Michael "Kramer" Richards of Seinfeld fame and "N#gger!" infamy---a mere two miles from the exterior location of Tom's Diner where the Seinfeld diner scenes were filmed. As I went around the corner to quickly text a few of you my newest sighting, he ended up inadvertently following me and standing next to me as he photographed more useless things like subway railings and dirt and subway railing dirt. As we stood shoulder to shoulder, he photographing nothingness and me texting racial epithet jokes about the man standing next to me, I seriously considered yelling, "Hey, aren't you the n#gger guy? Yeah, it is the n#gger guy! Hey, everyone, look, it's the n#gger guy! N#gger! N#gger! Come on, say the line! Say it!"

I then realized I don't have quite the balls it takes to make such a risque and adventurous joke in public, which is, oddly, sort of how I feel about the night club debacle which ruined his career to the point of anonymously photographing dirt on the Upper West Side. No doubt he crossed the line of bad taste, but it's literally impossible to divine from it whether he's a racist or not. It certainly sounds angry and hateful, but when you're a stand up comic on the stage, especially one who does edgy and blue material as Richards does (he's never been family-friendly like Seinfeld), you have to be allowed a certain freedom to go uncensored...and, with the exception of whether it's funny or not...unjudged.

Whether in those moments of extreme "humor" you can ascertain anything about that person's soul...that remains to be seen. Something tells me if Bill Hicks or Sam Kinison had done something similar, it might have been received differently, no doubt because they would have been more artful, but also because it would have been at least somewhat expected. Michael Richards isn't terribly funny. He's also not terribly sympathetic. I think this is why I'm sympathetic to him. That makes sense, right?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home