Protesters Tear Down Statue of Michael Richards Outside Hollywood Laugh Factory
“What’s the deal with all these protesters knocking down statues?”
LOS ANGELES — Minutes before sunset on Friday evening, a crowd of protesters outside the Hollywood Laugh Factory cheered as a statue of comedian Michael Richards (of Seinfeld fame) was torn to the ground. The statue was built to commemorate Richards’ infamous n-word-riddled tirade at that same Laugh Factory in 2006.
When asked to comment on the statue’s demise, Richards’ former Seinfeld co-stars had mixed reactions. Jerry Seinfeld released a short statement through his publicist:
“What’s the deal with all these protesters knocking down statues? I’m on a diet — sugar kills! — but you don’t see me knocking over a bowl of lollipops every time I make a deposit at the bank.”
On a Zoom call with press, Julia Louis-Dreyfus simply stated, “I stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.” Jason Alexander has yet to respond, but his verified Twitter account liked several tweets sharing videos of the incident.
One comedian who vocally supported Richards is Norm Macdonald (whose attempt to remain relevant in recent years has resulted in what his former SNL castmate Michael McKean described as “some really stupid opinions that no one ever asked for”). Macdonald tweeted:
“That statue probably didn’t need to exist in the first place. HOWEVER. I don’t think a mob should be allowed to destroy an irreplaceable piece of comedy history on a whim. That sets a dangerous precedent.”
Comedy historian Ray Romano (not that Ray Romano) disagreed. He pointed out that several years went by between the n-word rant incident and when the statue was built. “In the immediate aftermath, Richards was actually banned from returning to the club by the owner himself, Jamie Masada. The statue wasn’t commissioned until President Obama said the n-word on [Marc] Maron’s podcast in 2015. It was hastily built as a direct retaliation, meant to put Obama in his place and remind him that he isn’t the comedian he thinks he is, that there are already plenty of established comedians who use the n-word.”
A witness who recounted the incident noted that the statue was shockingly easy to knock down, which is likely due to the haste in which it was built. “As protesters marched past the Laugh Factory, a guy in the crowd shouted, ‘Fuck you, Kramer, you whiny titty baby piece of shit!’ Everyone cheered and surrounded the statue. This short stocky dude — maybe the same guy who yelled? — emerged out of nowhere with a baseball bat and took the first swing. Then others joined in, pushing the statue and throwing water bottles at it. It immediately started wobbling and came down a minute later.”
I asked if she could tell me more about the short man with the baseball bat. Did he seem like an undercover plant placed in the crowd to turn things violent? “No way. That dude wasn’t calm or in control at all. He just seemed really angry, like he had a personal vendetta against the statue or something. He just kept delivering blow after blow. A couple times he shouted, ‘We are living in a society!’ and everyone would cheer. When the statue finally fell, I heard him say something like, ‘That’ll teach you to fuck with my royalty checks, you racist sonofabitch,’ and then he muttered something about low DVD sales. It was wild.”
Although the witness didn’t see the man head on, she was pretty sure of his age. “Like in his sixties, maybe? And balding, too. He had some weird facial hair. And he was wearing a collared shirt.” Following a hunch, I asked the witness if she would sit down with our sketch artist and provide as detailed a description as possible. The following facial composite is the result of that session:
This is a developing story.
Update: Shortly after this article was published, Jason Alexander released the following statement in response to the incident:
“Oh no! That’s terrible news, just terrible!! Who would ever do such a terrible thing?”