Reviews for Entrances And Exits

by Michael Richards

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Cosmo Kramer tells his story. The creation and portrayal of Kramer, the wacky neighbor who slid his way into TV history on Seinfeld, serves as the center of Richards’ detailed yet guarded memoir. Don’t expect a lot of belly laughs. There are more references to 13th-century Persian poet Rumi, comparative mythology professor and author Joseph Campbell, and trailblazing Black architect Paul R. Williams than there are actual jokes. The author ably chronicles his difficult early life before stardom, including his brief service in the Army, degree in drama from Evergreen State College, and improv work with Ed Begley Jr. Even when Richards found success on Seinfeld, he still worried. When actor Elliott Gould told him, “Enjoy it while it lasts,” Richards wondered if it was an insult as he learned to deal with his newfound celebrity. It turns out that Gould was offering sage advice. While Richards delves deeply into his infamously meticulous preparations for Kramer’s character—sometimes even outlining changes from one episode to the next—he doesn’t provide many details about his mistakes. He only mentions the collapse of his first marriage in passing, and he sort of yadda-yaddas past his well-publicized 2006 meltdown at the Laugh Factory in response to a heckler. “He went low and I went even lower,” he writes. “We both ended up at the bottom of the barrel.” The author takes responsibility for all the racial slurs, claiming that anger got the best of him. However, he fails to explain why he used those specific words. Richards often says he has a hard time being authentic and letting people know the real him, and this book doesn’t change that much. Jerry Seinfeld provides the foreword. Kramer was Seinfeld’s “hipster doofus,” but his average memoir shows how serious Richards was about being funny. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.