Fans of The Simpsons who never loved the stereotypical portrayal of Apu will no longer cringe hard enough to crack their couch in half, because he’s without a voice. Well, he’s without a voice until they hire somebody else. In an interview with Slashfilm (via Vulture), Hank Azaria said, as promised, he will no longer be voicing Apu for the long (llllloonnnnngggg)-running animated series.
Speaking of lonngggg, Apu has llloonnggg been a source of controversy for the show as many feel that Apu is, how do we put this delicately, fuck it, a big racist caricature of a South Asian dude. There’s even a documentary about it!
The actor revealed that he’s chosen to stop voicing the character going forward. “All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s someway to transition it or something,” he said. “What they’re going to do with the character is their call. It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore.”
When the documentary The Problem with Apu came out in 2018, Hank said that it was “a lot to digest” and told Stephen Colbert that he was giving the issue “a lot of thought” and calling for more South Asian representation in The Simpsons’ writing room. He also said at the time that he was cool with stepping down as he eventually did.
“I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside or help transition it into something new. I really hope that’s what The Simpsons does. It not only makes sense, but it just feels like the right thing to do to me.”
Hank also said it was a mutual decision between him and the show and that that they “all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
Unless they get a new guy to do it and tone down the stereotypical stuff, it sounds like Apu might go the way of poor Ned Flanders’ wife. In any case, that show has been on for too damn long anyway. They’re not going to bring Mindhunter back and The Simpsons are on Season 6,545? Is Maggie like an octogenarian now?