'Seinfeld's Michael Richards Says He Canceled Himself After 'Despicable' 2006 Racist Rant

'Seinfeld' star Michael Richards has addressed the racist tirade he went on in 2006 that spurred him to leave the spotlight.

Nearly 20 years after he infamously went on a racist rant during a comedy show, Michael Richards is speaking publicly about the night he says he made war on his fellow man. 

The Seinfeld actor sat for televised interviews on Today and The View Tuesday, marking his most recent public appearances since largely stepping out of the spotlight almost two decades ago. Save for just over a dozen appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Kirstie, the actor and comedian told Hoda Kotb and the women of The View that he "canceled myself" after shouting racial slurs at an audience member during a set at the Laugh Factory in 2006. 

Recalling his tirade, Richards said on The View that he was doing his act when an attendee said Richards was not funny. The actor said he channeled his rage into a "character."

"I work in a comedy club environment where the n-word is used a lot and I decided I would let it loose," he said. Co-host Joy Behar, who is also a comedian, told Richards that the n-word is not used anymore. "Those days are over," she responded. 

"I felt I got hit so I'm hitting back. That person went low -- I'm going lower," he said. "I'm very emotional about it."

In his sit-down with Kotb, he said he got away from show business after that night to "see what the heck is going on inside me to have been so despicable that night and losing my cool."

The now-74-year-old performer recently returned to the spotlight amid the release of his memoir, Entrances and Exits, and opened up about his 2018 prostate cancer diagnosis, for which he underwent surgery. 

As he candidly shared with Kotb, Richards thought it was his death sentence. "I thought I was going to go really," he said. "I had given into that."

Ultimately, Richards said he hopes with his book that people learn that he's "human." "There's a good, bad, and an ugly coursing through all these things," he said, "striving to be a better person."

However he's received by the public nowadays, it's clear he has the support of his longtime co-star, Jerry Seinfeld, who embraced him in a hug at the May premiere of Seinfeld's movie, Unfrosted -- Richards' first red carpet appearance in years.