What’s with all the meltdowns in Hollywood?

First there was Tom Cruise decrying the use of anti depressant medications, chastising Matt Lauer (no relation to P’com’s Dawn, btw) on the Today Show and leaping around Oprah’s set like a hopped up frog on acid. Then came Mel Gibson lashing out at all things Jewish. Now, along comes Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame, going postal during a live comedy routine (video) and screaming racial epithets at two black studio audience members.

What’s with the rash of Hollywood meltdowns? Is Tinsletown merely reflecting the ills of the larger society? Many pundits believe Americans have never been more stressed or more depressed. And, when you factor in such stresses as rising gas prices, a brutal war, a lame duck government, Catholic priests running amok, and God knows what else, it sure does add up.

So, can "Kramer" come back from his moment of madness? Actually, since Seinfeld, Richards has been the ultimate role model of typecasting. Unlike Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Richards has been unable to shake free of the character’s shackles and convince audiences he can be someone else. And, maybe, just maybe, last week’s on-stage meltdown was the result of years of pent-up frustration. 

Richards hasn’t been working much lately, so I don’t think the blow-up will hurt. In fact, who knows, it may just resuscitate his moribund act since he clearly demonstrated he can be more than the cool, hip and funny as hell Kramer character.

America loves to build up, tear down and then, in a few rare instances, give a broken down actor/performer a second chance. We’ll see what happens in Richards’ case. So, here’s hoping that one of my favorite characters in my all-time favorite TV show can bounce back and reinvent himself. As Louis-Drefus’ character might say, "He’s certainly sponge-worthy in my book."

10 thoughts on “What’s with all the meltdowns in Hollywood?

  1. thanks, lunch idiot- you just made me 500 dollars. see, someone bet me that with all the lack of comments, you had to be gone by now and that i couldn’t draw you out of the woodwork like a mouse to a piece of cheese. well, looks like i did and made some extra spending money for the holidays. so this just proves one of two things- either you have no life and sit here for weeks just waiting for me to post, or 2)you aren’t who you say you are, but rather a pcom employee who has to hide under the mask of super lunch moron!
    happy thanksgiving rep and all!
    and to you know who- send that 500 via paypal- you know the account!

  2. I-man, blog comments don’t necessarily equate to blog readership. Take a look at some “tier a” blogs like Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Micro Persuasion, etc. They get thousands of hits daily, yet sometimes they receive very few (if any) comments.
    I hear you 100% about the media fragmentation issue. While it impacts eyeballs per outlet, fragmentation offers choice and the ability for users to find niche content that is relevant to THEM (whether it’s a satellite radio station, a blog, or an enthusiast channel on DirectTV).
    Personally, I have about 30+ blogs and mainstream news outlets that I read religiously. That said, I am more of a passive observer and only contribute on occasion mainly due to a lack of time. It doesn’t mean that I don’t find the information incredibly valuable though.
    As someone who actively posts comments on blogs, I think you’ll agree that there is a benefit to the participatory nature of this medium. It provides a forum for opinionated individuals to express themselves.
    Sure, there are millions of blogs and only the best ones attract huge numbers (read up on the Long Tail). Readership comes down to the quality and frequency of the content, plain and simple. For most bloggers, traffic isn’t the sole motivation. It’s also about self-expression, relationships, thought leadership, etc.

  3. Right on, Rep. Plus, not everyone that reads then posts.
    That post read like the Medical Supply Exec. He hasn’t been around…my fingers were crossed that he swallowed a few syringes in some tragic sales call gone bad.

  4. I blog for more reasons than just being another ‘citizen journalist.’ For me, it’s much more important that I live, eat and breathe the blogosphere so I can better counsel clients and prospects. Plus, there are all sorts of tangential thought leadership opportunities that are a direct result of the blog (think speches, articles, webinars, etc.). Re: traffic, we just had 600 unique visitors a week or so back. Lack of comments doesn’t translate to lack of interest. Enjoy your mini vacation and don’t worry about the number of comments. I don’t.

  5. So I am headed off for a mini vacation and checked in on the blog one last time to see the repman’s thought today, and as usual, he has something interesting to say. But I also noticed that the “comments section” has been less active than many of the residents in the nursing homes I service which got me thinking about the whole “citizen journalist movement” and how important it really is. So I would like to pose a question to the repman and any readers still reading/responding and that is the following:
    If a citizen journalist is writing, and no one is reading, do the ideas/thoughts/opinions expressed really matter? Now, this is not a knock on the repman or any other blogger, but rather on his belief that blogging is so important. The more I see the “0” comments, the more I believe that the proliferation of blogs are ultimately cannibalizing each other. Just go to google and search for a blog on “reputation management” and you will find 3122 entries. Try “PR” and there are over 400,000 entries! What does that tell you? Very simple- that everyone and their dog has a blog and even tough I read several a day, the more blogs I put in my favorite places, the less I get to visit each one.
    By way of example, imagine turning on cable at night and wanting to watch “world news” and having 3000 channels that provided that- would anyone of them be worth anything- NO! Sure, some are better than others, but each would own a slice of the pie and ultimately, that slice would be so minuscule that it wouldn’t be worth the plate it was served on.
    And there’s the problem with the “citizen journalist” as the repman puts it. Everyone has something to say and with so little time to read everyone thoughts, we all just read a little bit here and there and don’t put much into anyone of them b/c that opinion is gone faster than I can hit the link to my next favorite place.
    Look at the bright side, at least this comment is one more than there was before!

  6. I’m with Deb. The comedy club had him back the night after his diatribe, because he said he wanted to apologize. But nary a word of regret came from his mouth. Have we forgotten that “Kramer” is a character invented by Richards? The man on the stage was not Kramer- it was Michael Richards who is clearly out of control. Is this like the Murphy Brown incident when Dan Quayle chastised single mothers such as Murphy Brown.? Michael Richards was a wizard in that role, but it spoke nothing of who he is today- and maybe who he has been all along. His apology was limp and lackluster. No one goes on for SO LONG without some sense of what they are doing. This was not a knee-jerk reaction to a heckler. This was, hopedully, the end of his career. He does not deserve any appause in any situation ever again.

  7. I’m also tired of celebs who think they can do outrageous and stupid things and then simply apologize to make everything better. They need to start thinking before opening their mouths, and they do need to face the consequences. I, for one, don’t think that his apology seemed sincere. I thought he was just thinking about how to save his career…or what’s left of it.

  8. Ask the corporate celeberity about a sing along rights to a Moody Blue song. Man, I needed some kind of a corporate judiciary system to hand out rights.