Overnight, the man behind zany Cosmo Kramer became one of the most hated men in America after cellphone footage of him berating an African-American heckler hit the Internet.

Richards admits the controversy following his ill-advised remarks from the Hollywood Laugh Factory stage served as a reality check for him - and cost him work.

"I had to question whether or not this is my game," he tells Us Weekly magazine. "I'd done it before but I always got sort of picked up off the floor and put into projects.

"I'd only been doing stand-up at the time that situation happened about seven or eight months, and I just lost my patience that night because people were heckling me and not letting me work on my material and I lost my cool."

Fortunately for Richards, the gossip sites and bloggers moved on to other controversies and he was allowed to step out of the spotlight and figure out his future. He also apologised for using the N-word from the stage at the comedy club during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, and now he insists the incident from almost a decade ago is behind him: "It is what it is! I've moved on."

But the drama made him realise he's not cut out for stand-up comedy.

"I never had a great knack for that," he adds. "I was always more of a performance artist, in a sense, and that could be misunderstood, given what happened nine years ago. I am sorry for all that.

"Jerry (Seinfeld) is a definitive stand-up and that's his deal. He's really good at it."