Comedian Hari Kondabolu filmed a documentary called “The Problem With Apu,” which focuses on the show’s Indian character and its portrayal of a “minstrel-style racism.”
From confronting “Simpsons” stereotypes to tackling cultural identity issues, Kondabolu pulled no punches in the trailer for “The Problem With Apu.”
Talking about the success of his comedic career, Kondabolu says, “There’s still one man who haunts me: Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.”
Interviewing people on the street, Kondabolu asked, “You know a white guy does the voice?”
“A white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father,” Kondabolu joked, referencing Apu’s voice actor, Hank Azaria — who is not of Indian descent.
The documentary follows several successful Hollywood players — including Kal Penn, star of “Designated Survivor” and who was appointed to former President Barack Obama’s White House Office of Public Liaison — who are also of Indian descent, and who expressed their distaste for “The Simpsons” character.
In the documentary, Kondabolu also interviewed Dana Gould, writer and co-executive producer of the hit show, who, about Apu’s character and his demeanor, said, “There are accents that, by their nature, to white Americans, sound funny. Period.”
“It’s ‘funny’ because it’s racist,” Kondabolu noted.
Whoopi Goldberg, who was also featured in the documentary, was asked by Kondabolu, “Does Apu count as a minstrel, since it’s brown paint, a white guy’s voice?”
Goldberg said that the elements for racism are all present in “The Simpsons,” and specifically in the character of Apu.
The trailer announcement read, “Through this comedic cultural exposé, Kondabolu questions how this controversial caricature was created, burrowed its away into the hearts and minds of Americans and continues to exist.”
See the trailer for the documentary below.