Howard Stern has addressed his use of blackface and a racial slur in a New Year’s Eve special in 1993.
The video was brought back to light by Donald Trump Jr., who retweeted the clip of the performance, originally posted by filmmaker Tariq Nasheed. The president's son and Stern had been in a public spat since the radio personality criticized President Donald Trump for mishandling the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.
The performance parodies an incident in 1993, when Ted Danson dressed in blackface for a Friars Club roast dedicated to his then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg; Stern was playing Danson, with Sherman Hemsley playing Goldberg. The radio host used the racial slur liberally in the sketch. Stern, as Danson, defended himself to his shocked audience by saying, “Whoopi wrote that.”
Stern acknowledged the video on his SiriusXM program "The Howard Stern Show" on Monday morning, saying the performance was not atypical for his comedic brand at the time, but that he's also evolved beyond such controversial material.
“I won’t go back and watch those old shows; it’s like, ‘Who is that guy?’ But that was my shtick,” Stern said, "that’s what I did and I own it. I don’t think I got embraced by Nazi groups and hate groups. They seem to think I was against them, too. Everybody had a bone to pick with me.”
Stern said he wouldn't repeat the mistake now.
"I was able to change my approach, able to change my life and change how I communicated," Stern continued. "If I had to do it all over again, would I lampoon Ted Danson, a white guy in blackface? Yeah, I was lampooning him and saying, 'I'm going to shine a light on this.' But would I go about it the same way now? Probably not. Not probably, I wouldn't."
The radio shock jock also said it was absurd that Trump Jr. chose to fixate on him during such turbulent times.
“At the same point, I will say, it ... distresses me that Donald Trump Jr. and Donald themselves won’t go into psychotherapy and change. Why not change the way you’re approaching things? Because wearing a mask is not a bad thing. Telling people the actual size of the crowd at your inauguration is okay. Attacking me during the coronavirus and Black Lives Matter is absolutely ... crazy -- concentrating on me. You want to concentrate on me and bully me and expose me, with all the TV shows I’ve done? They’re all out there. There’s nothing new here. We all know. ... There will never be another show crazier than mine.”