Book Review: “Entrances and Exits” by Michael Richards

A new book about the life and career of Michael Richards

TV viewers of late can hardly escape the fact that Michael Richards, who played the role of Cosmo Kramer in the Seinfeld TV series, has written a book. He has been interviewed on numerous TV and radio shows.

I am a Seinfeld fan (I said “am” because the series is still running on my cable channels). I am also a fan of biographies AND I am a celebrity watcher. I ordered the book.

Michael Richards has given lots of interviews telling some of the events in the book, but none of the interviews give a hint about the man himself. Michael Richards is not exactly a “normal” human being, though when we are looking at entertainers, the word “normal” may be somewhat hard to define. Richards is frank about all aspects of his life, the entrances and exits.

Richards has many kind words about Jerry Seinfeld who wrote a foreword for the book and whose recommendation gave Richards the Kramer role. He also talks fondly about Red Skelton, an entertainer Richards loved and paid tribute to publicly.

According to his book, Richards was born in July of 1949. His mother was unwed and put a father’s name on his birth certificate that wasn’t the truth. The family name was Nardozza, but Richards’ mother changed the family name to Richards. While his mother worked hard as a single mother, she spent the end of her life in the Metropolitan State Hospital, located in Norwalk, California. It is a hospital that specializes in providing psychiatric care.

In high school, Richards found “acting” and wins an academic award from the National Forensic League. He doesn’t graduate with his class, however, he flunked English! And earns his degree later.

Later, Richards became a Medic in the Army and he shares the story about impersonating a Colonel. Out of the Army he attends college and falls in love, marries and becomes father to a daughter. He writes:

“Soon I am comforted through a dream. In it, I see a clown holding the globe of the earth and the face of the clown is my own. To hold the earth, to be of the world, I feel I should drive to LA and start working in the comedy clubs. I am the Fool, the has-has soul, the crown at large.”

Success in the comedy clubs leads to other paid jobs and ultimately–to Seinfeld and the creation of his character. Richards describes Cosmo Kramer: “In Kramer’s imagination, it’s anything he wants it to be. He goes for what he thinks is best until he changes his ‘imagination.’ He’s mercurial, a trickster, the Fool’s fool. Anything goes. He’s unpredictable, unidentifiable. Kramer lives through his imagination.”

Richards as Kramer wins multiple Emmys.

Richards claims he didn’t see the actual Seinfeld shows until recently in preparation for his book. He watched every show with his son and wrote glowingly about the shows and his contributions–physically and verbally.

Following Seinfeld, Richards had a show named after him–for just a few episodes that caused him “coming apart, physically and mentally.” He did a play in London and took a world-tour vacation. He then makes several appearances at comedy clubs. In one he hears an audience member say, “You’re not funny.” Richards then lashes out at the audience member with lots of words most people know not to use; his anger was recorded by an audience member and went viral, shattering Richard’s career and reputation…for decades. As he described it, “The whole room has been leveled, shocked by my anger and foul language. I drop(ped) the mic and left the stage.”

Though the majority of the book does not dwell on this one anger incident, the last portion of the book does talk about the long healing process. The book, I assume, is his attempt to re-capture his life and reputation. Michael Richards’ words are at times disturbing. His talent is enormous. His book is quite a story.


Speak Your Mind

Let us know what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

In order to comment, we have to collect some data:
This form collects your name, email and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.