Why Whoopi Goldberg Wasn’t Offended by Ted Danson’s Blackface Routine in the Slightest
Whoopi Goldberg is a lot of things. She’s the moderator of The View; an Oscar-winning actress; a Grammy-winning performer; and a Tony-winning Broadway producer. And she didn’t build her career and win all her awards by being squeamish or politically correct.
In fact, Whoopi got her stage name because of her habit of farting in public. Even on a daytime talk-show, she doesn’t mind talking about smoking weed or preferring to get picked up in a bar as opposed to online dating.
Basically, Whoopi has built her reputation and following on being honest as an artist and a personality. It’s what Barbara Walters marveled about her after she hired her at The View, and what keeps her relevant in 2019.
In short, it’s hard to offend Whoopi. So when her then-boyfriend Ted Danson roasted her in blackface at the Friars Club, Whoopi wasn’t among those condemning him. Quite the contrary: Whoopi liked it, and it turned out she was the one who wrote Danson’s edgy material.
Whoopi wrote the outrageous jokes Danson told.
When Danson took the stage for Whoopi’s Friar’s Club roast, his look alone was offensive enough to people. Danson had donned a top hat and had blackface makeup with giant lips painted white. Then came the outrageous material.
With Mayor David Dinkins, Anita Baker, Shari Belafonte, and Montel Williams in attendance, Danson told jokes about his sex life with Whoopi and used the n-word over a dozen times. Williams, who was on the dais, left in the middle of the set. and compared the event to “a meeting of the Klan.”
As for Dinkins, New York’s mayor said he was “embarrassed for Whoopi and the audience.” However, after an apology, the Friars Club chairman expressed surprise that people were offended by a roast. After all, that’s what roasts are, and everyone there knew what Danson was planning to do.
Whoopi agreed with that sentiment “I don’t care if you don’t like it,” she told the horrified crowd in her rebuttal. “I do!″ Later, she said she resented the blowback from shocked people who didn’t even know her.
“If they knew me,” she told the Times, “they would know that Whoopi has never been about political correctness.” In a recent interview, she said she hadn’t changed her mind about it. And that she had written the jokes for Danson to tell.
Whoopi’s only regret was her comedian friends weren’t in attendance.
Speaking with the Times Magazine in an interview that ran July 8, Whoopi still sounded ho-hum about it after all these years. “People always bring this up because I guess they think I’m going to say what a terrible thing it was,” she said. “But for me, it was exactly what it needed to be […].”
It seemed like her only regret was who joined her and Danson on the dais that night. “Roasts have traditionally been as out there as you can get — but with your friends,” Whoopi said. “None of my friends were on the dais. I didn’t know a lot of the people. So … of course people didn’t get it.”
Among those she would have liked to have seen that night, Whoopi mentioned her comedian-friends Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. Still, many in attendance weren’t offended. The list included Beverly Johnson, an African-American model.
“If you can’t see the humor at a place where there’s supposed to be over-the-line jokes, then there’s something really wrong,″ she told the Daily News. ″I was in stitches.”
As for Whoopi, she stood by Danson while his career almost went under. The couple had been treated brutally in the press those days, and she’d wanted to have fun with it. Some people just didn’t get her Jokes.