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Richards Says He's 'Shattered' By His Tirade

Comedian Michael Richards appears on the Rev. Jesse Jackson's radio show and issues a public and formal apology for a racial tirade that has sparked a lot of controversy.
/ Source: NBCChicago.com

In an attempt to apologize to blacks for his racist remarks, actor Michael Richards talked Sunday to Rev. Jesse Jackson in Los Angeles as a guest on his "Keep Hope Alive" radio show. "The leadership has opened up the healing, and for that I'm grateful," Richards said outside the studio.

During the show, which lasted two hours, the man who played Kramer on "Seinfeld" talked to Jackson, Sharpton as well as politicians and a therapist.

"There's no justification for the things that I said, but I was in show mode, and it was heightened, and at times I tried to turn it around, and I said in my act, the words the words the words. What's underneath the words?"

While performing on stage last week at West Hollywood's Laugh Factory, Richards got angry at hecklers in the audience and started spewing racial slurs at them. The exchange was recorded on someone's cell phone.

At one point in the radio show someone who was in the Laugh Factory's audience that day called in and said, "I was sitting up in the gallery."

"Daryl, I'm very, very, very sorry that this came down, and that's my apology to you," Richards told the caller.

"For whatever its worth, I definitely extend my personal forgiveness," the caller replied.

Throughout the show Richards sounded nervous, defeated, struggling to say the right thing.

"I'm blind, and I need to get into the depths of my being, into the depths of darkness, into the depths of rage and anger," the actor said.

Richards said he is undergoing psychological treatment for his anger and that he has never used the N-word against blacks in the past.

"You can't apologize for something that's been done. It's too late," said one man on the streets of Chicago.

"That was just unacceptable and there's nothing he can do," said a woman.

NBC 5 found little sympathy for the comedian among Chicago residents. Many said his radio appearance didn't change anything.

"He didn't want to apologize. I think he felt he had to do it in order to survive," said Sylvia Reed.

"Those comments did not come out of anger. If those thoughts and sentiments weren't in you from the beginning, out of anger, they wouldn't come out," said Preston Phillips.

"I forgave him as soon as he did this thing because it's engrained in him," said Zipporah Phillips. "There's something more going on with Michael Richards other than 'I hate black people.'"

Next, Richards hopes to talk to black audience members from the comedy club so he can apologize in person.

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