Lately, The Simpsons has been getting called out over Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, its Indian convenience-store employee character voiced by white guy Hank Azaria. The strength of this backlash is mostly due to writer-comedian Hari Kondabolu, who recently turned a fiery (and funny) monologue about Apu into a 50-minute TruTV documentary called The Problem With Apu, which explores how the character fits into America’s history of minstrelsy. The film, which was directed by Michael Melamedoff, failed to land an interview with Azaria himself, but perhaps that’s because Melamedoff and Kondabolu didn’t just ambush him at an airport and yell questions at him like TMZ did for this clip in which Azaria talks about the Apu controversy:
To his credit, he seems to recognize that Apu is a problem that the show needs to solve in order to do right by the people it has offended, but the best he can offer is that he and the people who work on the show have heard the criticism and that they’re “thinking about” changes they could make to Apu.
Kondabolu has responded to this with a few specific suggestions for what the show could do, mainly requesting that the writers don’t take the “lazy” route and just kill him off: