Howard Stern responds to resurfaced blackface video where he uses N-word: 'I evolved and changed'
Howard Stern is the latest comedian to address past offensive material — in this case, using blackface and the N-word.
The radio host spoke about some of his old material after Donald Trump Jr. shared via Twitter a video of Stern in blackface during a New Year's Eve special from 1993. The tweet came after he and Stern, a staunch critic of his father, Donald Trump, had been arguing about the president's handling of COVID-19 and the Black Live Matter protests.
On his SiriusXM program on Monday, Stern distanced himself from his old jokes.
“The s— I did was f—ing crazy,” he said. "I’ll be the first to admit. I won’t go back and watch those old shows. It’s like, ‘Who is that guy?’ But that was my shtick, 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.”
The sketch showed Stern parodying an infamous 1993 incident in which actor Ted Danson dressed in blackface during a Friar's Club roast of his then-girlfriend, Whoopi Goldberg. In the parody, Stern wore blackface to play Danson and repeatedly used the N-word. (Danson previously addressed his use of blackface during a 2008 interview with NPR, calling it "a graceless moment in my life.")
On Monday, Stern said he's moved on from his past comedic style and would not do the sketch again, although he stopped short of apologizing. "I was able to change my approach, able to change my life and change how I communicated,” Stern said. “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.”
Stern also criticized Trump Jr.'s deflection, saying he and his father should focus on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice. "Attacking me during the coronavirus and Black Lives Matter is absolutely f—— crazy, concentrating on me," he said. "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. I was the craziest motherf— on radio. There will never be another show crazier than mine.”
"There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable," the Tonight Show host tweeted in late May.