Michael Richards' Blacklist Allegations Explained: Why Is He No Longer Acting? (2024 Update)

By Klein Felt Posted:
Michael Richards in Seinfeld and Now in 2024

All these years later, Michael Richards is still dealing with allegedly being blacklisted by Hollywood following controversial statements made in 2006. 

Richards, who most prominently played Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld from 1989 to 1998, has lived largely outside of the Hollywood limelight since the show ended. 

This largely has to do with an incident involving the comedian at the renowned comedy club The Laugh Factory in 2006.

What Did Michard Richards Do?

Michard Richards and Jerry Seinfeld at Unfrosted premiere
Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld

During a performance at The Laugh Factory in November 2006, Michael Richards went into what has been described as a racist tirade, bringing up lynching, the anti-Black Jim Crowe laws of 20th century America, and using the N-word live on stage.

After cell phone footage of the rant turned up online (via TMZ), Richards was quickly shunned by the Hollywood community, and he disappeared from the spotlight for quite some time. 

Mere days later Richards appeared alongside his Seinfeld co-star Jerry Seinfeld in an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Appearing via satellite call Richard remarked, "I'm deeply, deeply sorry. I'm not a racist" (as transcribed by CBS):

"For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap. I'm deeply, deeply sorry. It may have happened .I'm a performer. I push the envelope. I work in a very uncontrolled manner on stage. I do a lot of free association — it's spontaneous, I go into character. I don't know. In view of the situation and the act going the way it was going, I don't know. The rage did go all over the place - it went to everybody in the room. I'm not a racist, that's what's so insane about this,"

While this apology would be broadcast to millions, it would ultimately backfire as the Letterman audience could be heard giggling at Richards' appearance. 

He would later go on to apologize personally to civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but, to many, the damage was done. 

Richards would get back into acting shortly after the incident, appearing in Seinfeld's Bee Movie in 2007, and Seinfeld creator Larry David's follow-up series Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2008. However, his widespread appeal had taken a hit.

Is Michael Richards Still Canceled Years After His Rant?

Nearly 20 years after Micheal Richards' racist Laugh Factory rant, the actor's reputation has never really fully recovered. 

Coming off of Seinfeld, Richards was universally beloved, with audiences gravitating toward his work as Cosmo Kramer on the NBC sitcom. 

However, his rising stardom would take a sharp and drastic fall following the incident. 

In the years since, Richards' reputation has healed a tad but he remains cancelled in the eyes of many. 

The actor has failed to match the prolific output seen during and post-Seinfeld. That is not to say he has not done anything. 

As previously mentioned, the actor appeared in The Bee Movie and Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

In his Curb cameo, Richards even addressed being canceled, poking fun at his downfall. 

In 2013, Richard made his return to sitcoms as Frank in the Kristie Alle-led Kristie. The actor would appear in all 12 episodes of Season 1; however, the show would be short-lived, being canceled after one season. 

Since then, the Seinfeld actor popped up in a cameo appearance in Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and starred as Daddy Hogwood in the romantic comedy Faith, Hope & Love

The last fans heard from Richards, he announced he was writing a memoir titled Entrances and Exits which is due out in June. 

While the controversy surrounding Richards may no longer be top of mind for the general public, he seemingly remains in Hollywood blacklist purgatory, with no major TV or film projects on the horizon. 

Michael Richards can be seen in Seinfeld which is streaming now on Netflix.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.