The Sheriff Is A Ni(boonnnnngg)
There's a reason they say that comedy isn't pretty. Look underneath some of the best comedies in the world, and you'll find a pretty pessimistic mindset. This is as it should be, the world ain't that much to look at either, and what better way to acknowledge this than to recognize it and laugh it away. It makes us human, people. It helps us to cope.
The South Park movie isn't pretty. Borat isn't pretty. Zany, mad cap fare like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World features venality as its central conceit.
The unfortunate aspect of all this is that in order to participate in it, in order to create it, you have to go to the outer edges of taste. Go back and look at and listen to The Aristocrats. Sarah Silverman's Jesus Is Magic is a (hilarious) parade of wrongness.
The loneliest and ugliest side of comedy is particularly noticeable in stand up. Literally, you against them, the pressure's immense, and you're constantly on the defensive. Hecklers add an extra dimension that comedy on the screen does not really have.
All of that said, it doesn't make what Michael Richards did and said any more excusable, but it makes it kind of understandable; god knows I'd lose my shit regularly in that setting.
I bring this up, because JJ's talking about it over at The Dirty Jester...Have a look, say something, if you're inclined.
Edited to add: Well, I just saw the victims on the Today show, and am happy to find out they weren't punks, and Richard's tirade wholly unfounded and even more tasteless. However, I'm struck by their attourney's spotlight-hogging greed. I'm sorry, but she's about as offensive as the original meltdown was to me right now.