Saturday, November 7, 2009

Featured Pipe Smoker: Michael Richards

Michael Anthony Richards (b. 1949)

Born in California and raised as a Catholic, although his publicist has claimed that he is Jewish (after he was accused of making some anti-Semitic remarks). He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Evergreen State College in 1975. Drafted during the Vietnam War and stationed in Germany where he produced and directed shows (ironically) dealing with race relations and drug abuse.

His breakthrough on television arguably came with his casting as a regular on the comedy skit show Fridays in the early 80s (one of the highlights of the week when I was in college). After having several character actor roles on various sitcoms, he finally hit it big, of course, as Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld.

The role of Adrian Monk (TV show Monk) was created for him, but he lost it due to comedic typecasting. Personally, I think he would have made a great Monk, but then, Tony Shaloub makes a great Monk, as well.

Richards holds a 33rd degree in Scottish Rite Masonry.

And then came the Laugh Factory incident, wherein he shouted racial remarks at some people who he said were heckling him. Everybody has already heard about it, so no need to detail it here. I'm sure the video is still on YouTube, if you want to look for it.

The picture above looks a little squished because I scanned it myself from the cover of a TV Guide with a hand scanner many years ago. If you've ever used a hand scanner, you know how difficult it can be to get a decent scan. This photo is from the Seinfeld years, when his character sometimes smoked a pipe. It's hard to tell from the angle in the photo, but I think his pipe might be a Kaywoodie. The logo on the stem could be a cloverleaf, and there's an obvious demarkation between the stem and the shank that could be the edge of the screw-in fitment. It could also be a Dr. Grabow, but I'd hate to think that someone with his money would stoop to using a Dr. G.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I still feel that Richards' finest achievement was his role on UHF as Stanly Spudowski!