As you might recall, Dunkelman was Ryan's American Idol co-host during season one. After leaving the show, Dunkelman faded into obscurity while Ryan Seacrest went on to become one of the most recognizable faces on TV.
A lot of people have wanted to do this for a long time, and now Jon Lovitz has done it. It also brings up something from the past I wasn't aware of.
At L.A.'s Laugh Factory the other night, Lovitz and Andy Dick got into an argument about Phil Hartman's death and Andy Dick's drug use. Five months before Brynn Hartman shot Phil and herself to death, Dick allegedly gave her cocaine at a house party that Lovitz also attended. Brynn Hartman had been sober for ten years, and now Lovitz blames Dick giving her the cocaine as the reason why she got hooked again and killed Hartman and herself five months later.
Back in January, comedian George Lopez went on WOMX and told hosts Scott and Eric that Jay Leno is "the biggest two-faced dude on TV," "one of the worst interviewers on TV," and a "backstabber." So when Leno saw Lopez at The Laugh Factory's salute to Richard Jeni (who committed suicide earlier this year), he wanted to bury the hatchet with him. The two started talking, and Leno wanted to find out why he said those things.
One problem: it wasn't George Lopez, it was Paul Rodriguez!
As if that's not embarrassing enough (Leno has known Rodriguez for 30 years!), but Leno's explanations were lame too. First he said he didn't have his contacts in, and then he said he was confused because he was upset over Jeni's death.
Earlier this month, unfunny "comedian" Dane Cook set the Laugh Factory record for endurance at three hours, 50 minutes. The previous record was held by Richard Pryor, who was on stage for two hours, 41 minutes back in 1980. Does anyone else think Chappelle was trying to stick it to Cook for busting Pryor's record? I sure as hell hope so.
A legitimately funny and meaningful use of the "n-word," however, came from Damon Wayans' of Showtime's The Underground. Wayans took the stage at the now famous Laugh Factory last night with a stack of twenties. Since Richards' rant, the club owner has banned the word - levying a $20 per usage fee and three month ban on any comedian who uses the word. Wayans proceeded to drop the n-word sixteen times saying, "I'll be damned if the white man uses that word last." That's $320 price tag for a little freedom of speech, if you're counting.
I think the most important fallout from what I will from this point forward call "the Kramer incident" is that Jamie Masada, owner of the Laugh Factory where the Kramer incident took place, has banned the N-Word from his club. A club owner has the right to ban any kind of speech he'd like from his stage (I've worked places where you had to be Disney-clean and places where every foul word on the planet was not only acceptable, but encouraged), but Masada's PR move is fear-driven and wrong.
How boycotting the Seinfeld DVD set would actually hurt Richards is beyond me. Between syndication points and a series-run as Kramer, I think Richards is pretty set financially. As a symbolic act or even one motivated by publicity, I suppose a boycott makes a bit more sense -- but not much seeing as Richards' words were spewed without the consent of the entire cast and crew of Seinfeld. (I've linked to it in the past, but if you want a better reason to hold Seinfeld suspect, check out hip-hop artist Danny Hoch's monologue about his scheduled appearance on the show.)
One forgotten victim in this whole "Michael Richards goes nuts and screams racist remarks" controversy just might be Kenny Kramer, the real-life guy who was the inspiration for the Cosmo Kramer character on Seinfeld. While it's great to have the fake Kramer be associated with the real Kramer during good times, it can be sort of disconcerting if people start to associate the real Kramer with the fake one when things are bad.
Kramer (the real one) is upset that news outlets such as The Drudge Report and Michael Savage are saying "Kramer's a racist." Personally, I don't see how the two could possibly be confused. I mean, to be honest, do people really even think of the real Kramer that much? I don't think the news outlet's are saying "Kramer's a racist" to confuse anyone, and I don't think it's misleading. They're using the last name because it's the name of one of the most famous (and beloved) characters in TV history.
Richards went on Jesse Jackson's radio show over the weekend to explain himself, apologize, and to begin the "healing." In a related story, the character of Kramer will now be edited out of all the Seinfeld episodes he appears in.
On Friday night, Richards proved that trying to shake the Seinfeld curse can get to a guy. In the middle of his stand-up routine, Richards took on two hecklers with a racist tirade that included your standard issue racial epithets along with this charmer, "Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass." It was, of course, caught on tape by someone in attendance. Richards has already told the press that he's sorry and will "make amends." I'm tempted to take bets on whether he'll enter rehab, offer a tearful apology to Diane Sawyer or both.
Less you think this incident came out of nowhere, check out hip-hop theater artist Danny Hoch's monologue from Jails, Hospitals and Hip-Hop on his brush with the Seinfeld cast.
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