Howard Stern Speaks Out After Blackface Video Resurfaces: ''I Evolved and Changed''

Howard Stern is addressing a resurfaced video that shows him in blackface and using the N-word.
By Pamela Avila Jun 15, 2020 10:01 PMTags
Howard SternKristin Callahan/REX/Shutterstock

Howard Stern is addressing a resurfaced video that shows him in blackface and using the N-word. 

The video, which was from a New Year's Eve special in 1993, was resurfaced after Donald Trump Jr. retweeted the clip of the performance, originally posted by filmmaker Tariq Nasheed

On Monday, Stern acknowledged the video on his SiriusXM program, The Howard Stern Show, saying that he's "evolved" since then.

"The sh-t I did was f-cking crazy," he said, per Variety. "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 66-year-old added that he wouldn't repeat the same mistakes now. 

"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."

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The controversial sketch parodies an incident in 1993, when Ted Danson used blackface for a Friar's Club roast that was dedicated to his then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg. In the resurfaced sketch from then, Stern was playing Danson and Sherman Hemsley was playing Goldberg. 

Of the Friar's Club roast, Danson told NPR of the incident in 2009 that "it was definitely a graceless moment in my life." 

"But I kept thinking, well, I have to go roast Whoopi Goldberg," he explained. "We were no longer actually going together at that moment and we had tried to back out of, you know, of doing this, and they said no, no, no, you have to contractually, you have to. And I thought, well, how am I going to roast Whoopi when all the tapes and videos I see of people—a Jewish person will be saying horrible things about the Jewish person they're roasting. But it's okay because the Jewish person being roasted is being roasted by Jewish people?"

He explained that within seconds he realized "it was like sticking my finger in a light socket." 

During Monday's show, Stern expressed that when he looks at himself "30 or 40 years ago, I cringe." 

"I can't stand it," he said. "Am I bad guy? I don't think so."

Related: Howard Stern Praises Unapologetic Joan Rivers

He also added that since going to therapy, he's come to the realization that he needs to change. 

"I came to realize in therapy, if I'm going to be with my kids, and have a successful marriage, I can't be insane completely 24 hours a day," he explained. "I have to figure out a better way to communicate. So I evolved and changed." 

Aside from the resurfaced video, Stern also expressed his support for the ongoing protests against racism and police brutality as well as his support for the LGBTQ+ community.

"I'm excited about gay rights, telling you not to beat up gay people. I'm excited about the changes that are coming out of Black Lives Matter," Stern said, per CNN. "Watching [George Floyd] choked to death, as I've said before, it's sickening and appalling and I think real change might be in the air."