American actor Hank Azaria helped promote fellow comedian Hari Kondabolu’s new YouTube comedy special “Vacation Baby” to humorously atone for his controversial portrayal of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in “The Simpsons.”
Azaria, 58, appeared in a short video uploaded to the 40-year-old Indian American comedian’s YouTube channel on Wednesday.
Until stepping down from the role in 2020, the actor had been voicing Apu on “The Simpsons” since the character’s first introduction in 1990.
Introducing himself, Azaria lists some of his more memorable roles, coyly coughing into his hand as he names Apu while listing the characters he has voiced on “The Simpsons.”
I’m here today, though, to urge you to please watch Hari Kondabolu’s new stand-up comedy special called “Vacation Baby” on YouTube. It’s honestly one of the greatest pieces of stand-up that I have ever seen in my life. It’s filled with so many hilarious and poignant anecdotes about what it’s like to have a child during a global pandemic and just the kind of thoughtful and biting social commentary that we’ve come to love. So please do yourself a favor and watch “Vacation Baby” on YouTube for free.
After promoting the comedy special, Azaria turns to reveal Kondabolu overseeing the shoot, thanking the actor and telling him he “nailed” the promotion.
“I pretty much had to do that, didn’t I?” Azaria jokingly asks Kondabolu, to which the Indian American replies with a laugh and smile, “Absolutely.”
“No choice?” Azaria asks again, with Kondabolu replying in a serious tone, “Not really, no,”
Kondabolu pushed the controversy surrounding Apu into the spotlight in his 2017 documentary “The Problem With Apu,” which highlighted how Azaria’s portrayal of the character perpetuated stereotypes against South Asians.
“The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening commented on the controversy months after the documentary’s release, explaining that the name of the character was based on the Apu Trilogy, a trilogy of Indian films centered around a boy named Apu directed by Satyajit Rayan.
Months before that, the show poked fun at the outrage in an episode in which Lisa commented on the situation, saying, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect… what can you do?” She then turns to a picture of Apu on her bedside table signed with the words: “Don’t have a cow.”
Azaria eventually apologized in 2021 for his portrayal of Apu, a year after he stepped down from the role.