Yes… I know the guy has an actual name, but I wouldn’t recognize it anywhere, so I’ll refer to him as “Kramer”. :D I never looked at the credits for Seinfeld, so I don’t know George Costanza’s name either, though I’m a fan of “George’s” acting.
So my cousin sends me a link to ‘something’ in the email, and I click on it, and it’s some guy talking up and to his left, into the air. I thought it was some kind of theatrical presentation, where the guy was doing a skit, pretending to talk to someone high up. Eventually, Kramer starts throwing these insults around. Eventually, I noticed he kept speaking in the same direction and then I figured out that he was talking to actual people. That’s when I had to rewind and start the video all over. :) Up until that point, I thought he was making a point, and this “sketch” was going somewhere. I realized, upon the second viewing, that Kramer had flipped out, and was really going for broke, trying to offend whomever he was speaking to.
The odd part about what was going on was that is was SOOOO personal, but it was happening in a public space. Forget about the fact that someone recorded it… Kramer went off like that in front of a crowd of people. I mean, it was so INCREDIBLY egregious that I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and I kept looking for “the method to his madness”. Not “madness” like he was crazy. There are lots of people that feel exactly the way he was speaking. “Madness” meaning I couldn’t understand what he was GAINING by going off like that. :D I mean, yeah, he insulted the living hell out of the people that I found out later had been heckling him while he was trying to do a stand-up routine…. but he insulted them GENERALLY instead of PARTICULARLY. When you insult someone in a general fashion, you ALSO insult everyone else that identifies with the characteristics or traits you’re insulting. That’s why I call it “madness”.
It was clearly professional suicide for Kramer to do what he did, and even though he was small in the frame, and the picture was grainy, he didn’t LOOK LIKE he understood what he was doing. He looked like he was on some kind of auto-pilot or had literally switched off ‘reality’ and was operating under some kind of different understanding. Not only was he incredibly insulting, but he was literally trying to pick a fight. He said something about “you’re brave now…”. What’s THAT supposed to mean? What was KRAMER going to do to someone? Meet them outside? Run up in the stands like an NBA player and start fighting? hahahahaha please. I felt like he had totally LOST IT and was acting like he was in his own personal living room, screaming at a television.
Anyway… I wanted to wait until we heard something from Kramer DIRECTLY, before giving my opinions about what happened. It doesn’t change the fact that he lost his cool, and it doesn’t change the fact that he was brutally offensive to anyone within earshot that took offense to what he said, as well as incredibly EMBARRASSING to people who KNOW that they’re being associated with Kramer, either GENERALLY, in the same way that he generally insulted the hecklers or PARTICULARLY, as in the case of Jerry Seinfeld (whom I also think is a fantastic talent), who knows full well that if it weren’t for HIM, nobody would ever have heard of Kramer, and he wouldn’t have been invited to do stand-up comedy, and this situation would never have occurred.
Here’s the video of Kramer & Seinfeld on Letterman, as well as the video of the actual situation: Kramer Flips Out & Apology Videos.
Actually, after I watched the incident video a few times, I though this situation was really, really, really, really, REEEEEALLY funny, considering that when Seinfeld was on, some people were wondering how a show set in New York City would have basically ZERO minority representation on-screen… not main characters or anything, because it was a small cast, but just no representation at all. Then, years after the fact, one of the MAIN characters on the show stops performing live on stage to do a better job at insulting minorities across the country than I’ve EVER seen on ANY documentary about skinheads, militia, neo-nazi’s, whatever. I mean I just couldn’t believe Kramer was in his right mind and saying what he was saying… not because of WHAT he was saying, but because as a public figure who hopes to make a living off of things like Kramer’s Reality Tour, he was CLEARLY screwing himself with minorities (which, globally, are not minorities) and ‘empathizers’ alike, and didn’t seem to have a care in the world about that.
So now, Seinfeld goes on Letterman as a character reference for Kramer. That was cool of him. He could have just said “I dont know what that guy was talking about” and left him to deal with this on his own. :) Having watched every second of Kramer’s apology and other statements, I believe what he said, and I think that I was right when I was watching the clip and felt like “that guy’s lost his GOT-damned mind! :D”. I think he was totally out of it, which is his own fault, but still… I believe his apology… I believe he’s not a racist… and I believe he REALLY, REALLY doesn’t know what happened to him in that situation. I could be wrong about all those things. He might have apologized because someone told him he had to for professional reasons, and he’d better make it look good. He might be a racist. He might have had full control of what was going on that night. Still… I believe what he had to say on Letterman.
Like I said… I don’t even know the guy’s name, so I’m not trying to vouch for him or excuse what he did. In one of the articles about the situation, someone called him an actor that was trying to do stand-up. If that’s the case, acting on a closed set, where everyone’s interested in YOU doing well is completely different from trying to make people laugh in a situation where they’re out for their own entertainment. THEIR entertainment might be heckling YOU, so welcome to the game. It’s my opinion that whatever happened before the video started that I linked to above, Kramer was so mad that he wanted to really insult the ?guys? that were insulting him by heckling and interrupting his act that he reached out to whatever he felt would be the most hurtful things to say to them and “went for his”. Unfortunately, it seems the only win Kramer felt he had was to insult them based on their skin color… so that’s what he used, and insulted untold numbers of people while trying to ‘get’ these couple of hecklers. I’m reminded of the “Happy Land” Social Club fire (pictures on stevespak.com), where some IDIOT named Julio Gonzalez tried to kill his girlfriend, Lydia Feliciano by tossing gasoline into a social club where she was and lighting it on fire. His girlfriend LIVED, and 87 OTHER PEOPLE GOT KILLED! :/
I decided to post about this because I Kramered-out one time… ONE TIME! :D And after the fever of the situation wore off (which wasn’t until minutes to maybe an hour later), a “new reality” set in where I was able to look back at what happened and see that I was under INCREDIBLE PRESSURE leading up to my reaction, and I wasn’t as concerned with the actual reaction as I was with HOW that pressure got built up so incredibly in the first place. As I was watching Kramer trying to explain what happened, and saying he doesn’t know… I really believe he doesn’t KNOW what happened, having been there, myself.
In my case, it wasn’t in public, and people hadn’t come out to see me perform, and I wasn’t representing a club and I wasn’t representing a popular television show that’s still in syndication as well as (I will assume) a really good friend of mine (Seinfeld, in Kramer’s case) who put me on in the first place. It was in a dorm room, and there were about seven people there, and we were ‘snapping’ on each other… ‘snapping’, meaning insulting each other in order to get the rest of the people there to laugh at what you said about the other person. Snapping is a MAJOR pastime in NYC, and I will assume other places, so you have to be on top of your game, and I always am. :D In this case, I was being cheated, because I had no audience. Two or three of the seven or so people that were there SHOULD have been on my side, since we were all Frosh, but they sided with the Seniors for “future considerations”. The stuff I was saying about my rival was really funny, or in some cases, actually TRUE and everyone knew it, but they were physically keeping themselves from laughing at him, because they wanted to be ‘down’ with the Seniors. EVERYTHING he said was completely corny and ineffective, yet the crowd backed all of his plays. In hindsight, I was reacting to the unfairness of the situation. I knew that I was ‘beating’ him with the insults, but I wasn’t getting any results from this. I realized that whatever I did, I was going to lose “on the record”, when, in reality, he never did and never WILL be able to out-snap me. I entered a “new reality”, which was “How do I win… in a situation where I SHOULD win, but I’m not GOING to win?” Again, in hindsight, all I was concerned with was salvaging the situation… ‘righting a wrong’ that was currently being done to me by not only ‘enemies’ but friends at the same time.
IMO, that’s what happened to Kramer. According to articles, the people he broke on were heckling and interrupting his show. IF he’s not actually a stand-up comedian, his skin isn’t going to be thick enough to deal with that and keep rolling. IF he’s used to “quiet on the set… action”, then people talking is going to be one thing, people interrupting his act is another, and people disrespecting him still another. Actually, after I re-started the video and watched it to the point where I understood that he was talking to actual people, I was waiting for a fight to break out, because it seemed to me that that’s what Kramer was looking for. What does he mean, “brave now”? :D Does he mean “you’re brave sitting in the balcony (or wherever they were), when I’m down here on the ground level”? Does he mean “you’re brave inside the club, but wait until you try to leave”? Does he mean “you’re brave now, but 50 years ago (when the people in question probably weren’t even alive yet) you wouldn’t even have been allowed in the building”? I mean, he went off on them so badly, I expected him to ask them if they wanted to take it outside.
IF Kramer’s not actually a racist, I’m sure he’s rather embarrassed with himself for the way he verbally attacked the hecklers. In the apology, he seemed genuine. Like I said…. I could be wrong about that, but I know that after-the-fact feeling of “yeah, I overdid it” or “I could have done something else”. I think Kramer’s answer to Letterman’s question “what more can you do besides apologize?” was proper. I think he has personal work to do. If he prides himself on his own control of self, and he really isn’t a racist, he has to come to terms with the fact that when he felt pressurized, he resorted to racist statements in order to “win this situation that I don’t feel I’m winning, but I SHOULD win”. He ALSO has to come to terms with the fact that when confronted by individuals, he lashed out and insulted God knows how many people.
I wish Kramer good luck with his introspection. Unfortunately for him, he lost it as a public figure in a public place. For me, part of what made his apology believable is that it was so unprepared. :D He basically came on TV to be held up as an example of someone who lost his mind. I thought it was dumb that some of the people in the crowd were laughing during his apology. This wasn’t a character playing a role, although you can tell, as I keep calling the guy “Kramer” :D It’s tough to separate an actor from the personality-type you’ve seen him portray. This was a guy, who HAPPENS to have portrayed an eccentric character, coming onto a LIVE television show, where he doesn’t know what’s going to be asked of him OR what’s going to be said about him, and all he knows is he needs to try to make some kind of statement against the egregious statements he made at the comedy club. There’s nothing funny about that.
Similar to the girlfriend escaping “Happy Land”, the hecklers probably left the building and thought to themselves “that guy’s a JERK!” and that was the end of their experience with him. Unfortunately, Kramer threw gasoline on a whole hell of a lot of OTHER people! :D