Comedian Richards on spiritual quest Tirdad Derakhshani
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Jul. 14, 2007 10:25 AM
Michael Richards, who was defrocked as a comic last year after he spewed a racist rant during a stand-up gig, has gone “Siddhartha”: He is on a spiritual journey in Cambodia. “That night, when I was insulted and disrupted, I lost my heart; I lost my sense of humor,” Richards said of his night of shame. Richards, 57, who is questing with his fiancee, Beth Skipp, sometimes hangs with folk from the L.A.-based Nithyananda Foundation, which follows the teachings of 29-year-old Hindu monk Nithyananda, who, his group says, is “on a mission to reestablish the science of inner bliss on planet Earth.”
Richards does seem to have learned one glorious lesson: Poverty-stricken peoples are actually happier than people who can afford to eat. “At first, I was a little bit struck by the poverty,” he said. “But when I leaned in I could see how openhearted the Cambodian people are, and I was touched by it.” Richards insists his trip is not some sort of Mel Gibson-ian “karmic rehab” intended to clean up his image. His pilgrimage continues apace: He's already moved on to Thailand.
I think the guy was on the edge of a mental breakdown, or at least under a great deal of strain. That's how he comes across to me anyway.
I don't wish to get into whether that "excuses" his outburst, but I do think that it's unlikely that his words reflect a carefully thought-through political opinion, or even necessarily any kind of residual racism.
I think he grasped for something shocking and unexpected to get back on top of an audience that he felt had started to control him.
Once you go that far, you can't really wind it back in, so he tried to run with it.
I think that comedy should have a greater licence to tread on political and racial toes than pretty much any form of entetainment, and so I hope that the guy finds work again.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum You can attach files in this forum You can download files in this forum