Ditto, from a reader:
On the Corner you mention this: “Comedians can do whatever they like without much negative consequence so long as they are funny.” and you even mention that Andy Kauffman was overrated.
Andy Kauffman was completely overrated, but he was also not funny. I am so glad the late 90′s fascination with Kauffman seems to have waned, but during that period of interest in the man we heard over and over how he “challenged audiences” etc. Well, I don’t want to be challenged or outraged by comedians or arteests. I want to be entertained, and if it is a comedian I am seeing, I want to laugh. An obnoxious crazy person wrestling women–whether it is real or staged–is not funny. Yet it was tolerated and later celebrated by the Hollywood establishment.
My own guess about Richards–and I can’t get into his head so this is pure speculation: He wanted to say something outrageous (a la Kauffman or Bruce) in his duel with the hecklers but his attempt to draw a laugh while quelling the hecklers flopped…and he just kept digging a deeper hole. But, what the heck do I know? I’m not apologizing for the guy.