Bill Maher says his use of the N-word on his HBO show was a “mistake” and that it was not his intention to cause anyone pain, in what mark his first on-air comments about the controversy.

The comedian and host had uttered the racial slur as part of a joke on Real Time With Bill Maher last week, spurring calls for him to be fired. He later apologized in a statement. He addressed the issue again on his show Friday while interviewing Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University sociology professor, New York Times contributing op-ed writer and author who covers race, politics, religion and culture.

“I wanted you to come by here because, you know, I want you to school me,” Maher said. “I did a bad thing.”

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