Ted Danson Blackface Performance at Whoopi Goldberg's Roast (1993)

Ted Danson Blackface
A photo of Danson in blackface, taken during the controversial 1993 roast.
A photo of Danson in blackface, taken during the controversial 1993 roast.
Status Lost

Ted Danson is best known as one of the lead actors from the long-running TV show Cheers. His performance of Sam Malone landed him ten Emmy nominations, of which he won two. Ever since he has had small roles in other television series and films.

Danson had a few notorious controversies in the early 1990s. He had an affair with actress Whoopi Goldberg which ultimately led to him getting a divorce from his first wife Randall Dawson. During his relationship with Goldberg, he did a performance during a "roast" (a comedic routine where comedians jokingly take stabs at each other out of admiration). The performance in question took place on October 8, 1993 at the Friars Club Comedy Roast. He appeared in blackface and reportedly used the word "nigger" well over a dozen times. While the performance won Goldberg's blessing, many other people of color found the performance degrading and offensive. Danson would finally publicly apologize for it after his affair with Goldberg had run its course.

Many sources claim the performance was video-taped. However, aside from a few snapshots taken by members of the press, nothing of the performance has surfaced online or even on the wide media coverage. It is speculated that Danson's publicists held it from being leaked out of not wanting it to damage his career any further than it already had. It is unknown if the tapes were destroyed, if they really do exist (most evidence strongly points to their existence, however).

The performance remains a piece of "treasure" by Danson's fans. He is now ashamed of it, however, which makes a release, official or unofficial, not very likely.


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