Ted Danson's blackface performance at Whoopi Goldberg's Roast (lost video recordings; existence unconfirmed; 1993)
A photo of Danson in blackface, taken during the controversial 1993 roast.
Status: Existence Unconfirmed
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 second wife, Cassandra Casey Coates. During his relationship with Goldberg, he did a performance in blackface 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 8th, 1993, at the Friars Club Comedy Roast. Wearing typical old-fashioned minstrel costume and make-up, he reportedly used the word "nigger" well over a dozen times in his dialogue. 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 videotaped. 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 (though most evidence strongly points to their existence, meaning that its existence is very likely).
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, quite unlikely.