Steve Martin is in a bit of trouble over an ethnic joke he tweeted that apparently offended some people.

According to E! News, while chatting with fans on Twitter on Dec. 20, the comedian was asked "Is this how you spell lasonia?"

Martin replied by writing, "It depends. Are you in an African-American neighborhood or at an Italian restaurant?"

Apparently realizing he may have said something offensive -- and, really, when is that not possible these days? -- the 68-year-old quickly deleted the exchange. But, as we all know, you can't take things back on the Internet, and some people called him out on it.

He subsequently issued an apology, saying "In retrospect, bad joke ... Sorry about that." He later tweeted "My tweet was highly inappropriate."

Last week, the actor had some fun shooting down his self-created rumor that he and newly single Khloe Kardashian are an item.

"Despite rumors, Khloe Kardashian and I are 'just friends,'" Martin tweeted on Dec. 16. "Be sure to check out my new album, 'Just Friends with Khloe Kardashian.'"

Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.