During his Laugh Factory set on Friday night, Michael Richards finally tried out fresh material intended to achieve some separation between his beloved, bumbling Kramer persona and the working comedian desperate to forge a post-Seinfeld identity. Upon some reportedly light heckling from a pair of African-American audience members, Richards unveiled a new catchphrase, "Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass," one he'd hoped would supplant any oft-intoned Seinfeld quips about masturbation contests or the efficacy of butter as a tanning aid. Unfortunately, the less elegant N-bomb-laced follow-up to his lynching bon mot ensured that various media outlets, looking for a quick hook, will go with "Kramer's Racist Tirade," setting back his efforts at leaving the character behind.

TMZ has video of the incident, which should retain its replay value long after his publicists issue a press release explaining that the comedian has checked into Promises Malibu to battle the alcohol-fueled demons that would make him say such hateful things about a minority group.