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The Truth Behind Kramer's Meltdown: Comedy Clubs Are Cesspools Of Hatred (Updated)

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I'm told that arrangements have been made for Michael Richards to go on Letterman by remote feed, organized with help from Jerry Seinfeld.

In my opinion, the real news behind Seinfeld's Michael Richards spewing "n"-word racial epithets after being heckled during his Friday night stand-up routine at the Laugh Factory (see video here) is this: many of today's comedy clubs have become a cesspool of hatred. Inside them, racism, ethnic prejudice, homophobia and sexism all masquerade as humor. Anyone who's been to the clubs and heard the acts knows this to be true. Yet, in most cases, the audiences or the club owners/managers rarely react badly. (And not just in the clubs: MTV's Yo Momma celebrates jokes about how "yo Momma" is so fat, so stupid, so poor, so ugly, so nasty, so lazy, and whatever other disgusting stuff its contestants can think up.) I'm not saying humor in the clubs should be as sanitized as the stand-up pablum on Leno or Letterman or Kimmel. Though it's a fact that, because of the ubiquitousness of profanity-peppered acts with distasteful subject matter, some clubs outside LA and NY are rating their shows G, PG, and R as a marketing tool. (There's also Christian comedy, but let's not go there.) Still, in the top clubs, an atmosphere exists where anything goes, so no one should feign surprise that those comedians, much less a network character actor like Richards, could cross the line between what's acceptable and offensive. Jerry Seinfeld has announced he's "sick over this." When it comes to the comedy clubs, too many of them are just sick, period. Heal thyself.