September 7, 2018 | by James Greene, Jr.
Vulture ran a piece this week titled "The Joke I Most Regret" in which notable comedians discuss which part of their history fills them with hot buttered shame. "Weird Al" Yankovic leads off the article by discussing the fact certain "words and phrases" he used three decades ago have evolved into slurs.
"There are a couple songs in the '80s where I use the word 'midget,' which in the '80s was not that much of a slur," Yank says. "It was not a kind word, but it was not a slur. These days, I do not say that word. In fact, at one point on this tour, I sang the song that had that word in it and I stopped the whole band and just explained to the audience how language has evolved over time since I originally wrote the song — this whole diatribe about why I used the word then and I wouldn’t use it now. And then we resumed playing and ended the song. Language changes over time."
Al also mentions translating his work for foreign audiences, in the sense that many words that are "completely innocuous" here in the United States are "horrible slurs" elsewhere. "I try my best not to offend," the "Eat It" star says.
For the record, a couple years ago when Yankovic was asked about some of the racial stereotypes in his 1989 film UHF, the singer responded, "Certainly there are many things I would have done differently had I been writing a movie like that in current times..."
Thank you, "Weird Al," for growing with society.