Hank AzariaLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 7/18/18 at 1:42PM EDT
The Simpsons creator Matt Groening: Apu debate is "tainted now"
Source: The New York Times
In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, Groening said of The Problem with Apu director, "my guess is I agree, politically, with 99 percent of the things that Hari Kondabolu believes. We just disagree on Apu." Groening said he loves the character of Apu, and "it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad. But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky. I love the character. I love the show." Groening went on to say he had a "scholarly intention" with Apu by naming the character after Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy. "I am sorry that The Simpsons would be criticized for having an Indian character that, because of our extraordinary popularity — I expected other people to do it. I go, maybe he’s a problem, but who’s better?" said Groening. "Who’s a better Indian animated character in the last 30 years? I’ve been to India twice and talked about The Simpsons in front of audiences. That’s why this took me by surprise. I know Indians are not the same as Indian-Americans." Groening also addressed his USA Today interview earlier this year, where he said of the controversy, "people love to pretend they’re offended.” Groening told The Times that comment "wasn’t specifically about Apu. That was about our culture in general. And that’s something I’ve noticed for the last 25 years. There is the outrage of the week and it comes and goes." As for whether Apu will appear again, Groening said: “If we come up with a good story, we’ll do it."
Posted Wednesday 6/27/18 at 9:42PM EDT
Many TV favorites have been invited to become Oscar voters, from Mindy Kaling to Andre Braugher
The Academy's new Oscar voters also include Sarah Silverman, Hank Azaria, Kyra Sedgwick, Michael K. Williams, George Lopez, Christine Baranski, Alison Brie, Rashida Jones, Dave Chappelle, Anna Chlumsky, Wendell Pierce, Olivia Colman, Gina Rodriguez, Yeardley Smith, Ken Jeong, Kumail Nanjiani, Pedro Pascal, Ann Dowd, Lena Headey and Randall Park.
# TOPICS: 90th Academy Awards, George Lopez, Alison Brie, Andre Braugher, Anna Chlumsky, Ann Dowd, Christine Baranski, Dave Chappelle, Gina Rodriguez, Hank Azaria, Ken Jeong, Kumail Nanjiani, Kyra Sedgwick, Lena Headey, Michael K. Williams, Mindy Kaling, Olivia Colman, Pedro Pascal, Randall Park, Rashida Jones, Sarah Silverman, Wendell Pierce, Yeardley Smith, Award Shows, Film Academy
Posted Thursday 6/14/18 at 1:46PM EDT
Bob Costas calls Brockmire's Jim Brockmire a "Grade A a**hole"
Watch the Hank Azaria IFC comedy's Emmys For Your Consideration video featuring Costas, Brent Musburger and other sports announcing legends.
Posted Monday 6/04/18 at 7:42AM EDT
Brockmire's season finale pushed back, but Hank Azaria will live-tweet the NBA Finals as his IFC character
The last two episodes will air later then originally scheduled, on June 13 and June 20, respectively. But Hank Azaria announced he'll live-tweet the NBA Finals as Jim Brockmire.
Posted Tuesday 5/08/18 at 1:23PM EDT
The Problem with Apu's Hari Kondabolu thinks it's "too late" for Hank Azaria to step aside from The Simpsons' Apu role
Source: The Daily Beast
Kondabolu says he doesn't think The Simpsons writers or Matt Groening saw his truTV documentary -- but he thinks Azaria did -- because his film made clear that he didn't think Apu was made with nefarious purposes. "The Simpsons’ writers’ response is a response of people who didn’t see the film," he says. "That’s what I mean about fragility. I’m trying to have a nuanced discussion and they’re acting like the trolls on the internet who don’t read or watch anything and then question it." As for Azaria saying recently he'd step aside from the role, Kondabolu says: "I mean, personally, I think it’s too late. I think he can have the voice, but what can you do to make it more current, to make (Apu) more upwardly mobile? How about his kids’ voices? I think it would be funny if Apu’s kids were made fun of at school because of their father. Ultimately, there are creative solutions they haven’t explored and it’s bullsh*t to say they can’t change."
Posted Wednesday 5/02/18 at 1:17PM EDT
Longtime The Simpsons writer says Apu is practically already gone from the show
Source: Vanity Fair
Mike Reiss says he's puzzled by recent The Problem with Apu controversy because the writers were aware three or four years ago that the Indian-American character was problematic, which is why they came up with the 2016 "Much Apu About Something" episode. Apu “has barely been in the show since then. People are saying, ‘Get Apu off the show.’ Well, he’s not on!" says Reiss, who's promoting his new Simpsons book Springfield Confidential. “There is all this hoopla about Apu," he says, "and the fact is we were cued into this three or four years ago. We did an episode then to address it." Reiss adds: “Though there’s a lot of discussion on Apu, he’s barely had a line in the past three seasons. Hank Azaria saying he won’t voice the character anymore is like Val Kilmer announcing he won’t play Batman again—no one’s asking him to.”
Posted Thursday 4/26/18 at 1:08PM EDT
The Problem with Apu's Hari Kondabolu on The Simpsons: "Honestly, I wasn’t trying to troll, but if I was, I won"
The Indian-American comedian -- speaking the day before Hank Azaria said he was willing to "step down" from voicing Apu -- said of The Simpsons episode responding to his TruTV documentary: "You’re not supposed to respond to me, you’re The Simpsons! You’re supposed to just keep going, pretend nothing happened. The fact that they buckled like that, to me, is also an indication of, like, white fragility. Oh my god, so somebody on a cable network said something about your show that’s been on for 30 years, and everyone obviously loves you and they don’t really know what my critique completely is, but still, because it damaged you in some small way, all the white writers freaked out and destroyed (the character of) Lisa. What is that? That’s white fragility."
Posted Wednesday 4/25/18 at 4:58AM EDT
Hank Azaria offers to "step aside" from Apu role, calls on The Simpsons to listen to South Asians
Asked by Stephen Colbert about the Apu controversy, Azaria said, “the idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad.” Azaria said he'd be “perfectly willing and happy to step aside” from voicing Apu, adding: “I’ve given this a lot of thought, really a lot of thought, and as I say my eyes have been opened. And I think the most important thing is we have to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country and they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character and what their American experience of it has been.” The Problem with Apu's Hari Kondabolu responded to Azaria's comments, tweeting: "Thank you, @HankAzaria. I appreciate what you said & how you said it."
Posted Monday 4/23/18 at 5:51AM EDT
Brent Musburger gets in a "feud" with Hank Azaria's Brockmire, calling him "Buckmeier"
The fake feud between the iconic sports announcer and the fictional IFC sports announcer played out last week on The Rich Eisen Show.
Posted Monday 4/16/18 at 11:31PM EDT
The Simpsons' Apu controversy is what happens when a show is stuck in an eternal 1990
"The show seems to take pride in the way it hasn’t changed since 1989, even as change is a fact of life," Todd VanDerWerff says of "the horrible way" showrunner Al Jean has reacted to the controversy over Apu. "And for a show that likes to satirize everything, its inability to talk about aging, about shifting political opinions, about how different America has become, ends up miring it in a past it could so easily escape." With the Roseanne revival in mind, VanDerWerff wonders what would've happened if Bart, Lisa, Homer, Marge and Maggie had grown up? What if they were 29 years older? "I keep thinking about a Simpsons where everything had changed, and just by its very nature, such a show would have had to deal with Apu slightly better (though (Hank) Azaria would probably still be playing him)," he says. "When things can change within your fictional universe, it’s only natural for the characters to grow and change with them. "
Posted Saturday 4/14/18 at 12:07AM EDT
A journalist of South Asian descent says "most of us happily embraced Apu" in the 1990s, but The Simpsons can fix its most controversial character
Source: The Washington Post
"For those of us with low expectations, starving for any representation, Apu was a breath of fresh air," says Wajahat Ali, the son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants who grew up near Silicon Valley. While other portrayals showed brown people as cab drivers or terrorists, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon "was an integral character in the Simpsons universe who was able to be a co-protagonist of several episodes," he says. "Only in a cartoon, we thought, could people who look like us achieve such a feat." But that doesn't mean Apu or The Simpsons "get a lifetime pass to perpetuate lazy stereotypes," he says. "Any piece of art, no matter how well intentioned, harmless or silly, is not above reproach or critical examination... Instead of engaging with the issue of representation, which would have made for a more satirical and topical show — you know, the type The Simpsons used to do years ago — the writers responded with the worst creative sin: laziness." What The Simpsons shouldn't have done, he says, is "hijack your show’s most intellectual and empathetic voice, Lisa, as a foil for the writers’ unwillingness to be self-critical and engage their blind spots when it comes to listening to people of color who feel silenced and misunderstood. Thus, the show engages in another major sin: omission. After Lisa’s finger-wagging, the camera pans to a photo of Apu with the inscription 'Don’t have a cow!' Apu, who is a supporting character, is robbed of lines, rendered mute and frozen in a suffocating frame, smiling as a token prop. That’s exactly how so many people of color feel in real life — all the time." Ali adds: "What The Simpsons should have done was a stand-alone episode centered on Apu, who, after becoming a citizen many years ago, is confronted with an immigrant travel ban...Nobody would have a cow. But we would have an intelligent, critical, satirical show that at least confronts problematic issues instead of running away from them."
- Showrunner Al Jean explained why Lisa Simpson defended Apu, but why did she look at the camera?
- Jean criticized for tweeting conservative media in The Simpsons' defense
- Jean tweeted a link to the National Review piece: "Why the Apu Simpsons Controversy Bothers Me as an Indian American"
- Harry Shearer stuck up for the show, tweeting to Hari Kondabolu: "Bart, a pre-pubescent boy, is played by an adult woman. What's up with that?"
- BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg slammed The Simpsons response: "Imagine choosing to describe yourself and your work as 'applauded and inoffensive'"
- Bill Maher defends The Simpsons' response to Apu: "If you spend your time combing through old TV shows to identify stuff that by today’s standards looks bad, you’re not ‘woke,’ you’re just a douchebag"
Posted Monday 4/09/18 at 6:11PM EDT
The Simpsons' response to Apu is what happens when a show loses its identity after being on for "a long damn time"
The Simpsons was once the rebellious outsider, says Jen Chaney. Now, it's the Establishment, incapable of grappling with Apu. "When it first dominated the pop-culture landscape in the early 1990s," says Cheney, "a lot of the show’s appeal stemmed from its skillful and fearless tendency to jam its thumb in the eye of the American Establishment, by highlighting white male laziness via Homer, the crass privileged class via Mr. Burns, and a whole host of other marks of ignorance — from sexism to intolerance of vegetarians — via the crusading Lisa Simpson, the show’s perpetual 8-year-old voice of reason. For all of the stereotypes he has embodied, even some of the jokes generated by Apu actually pointed a finger at the abhorrent attitudes that Indian-Americans have to tolerate from their Caucasian counterparts." Chaney adds: "One could argue that The Simpsons is now the Establishment, and has been for a while. Once you become the Establishment, there is a tendency become lazy and complacent, while also feeling fiercely defensive of one’s legacy. In my view, that combination of factors plays a key role in the show’s inability to fully own up to the Apu problem."
- The Simpsons was "utterly dishonest" with its response since Apu isn't a central character: "His existence at the periphery — his very flatness, and his definition as a bag of signifiers meant to scream 'INDIAN!' is integral to what it means to write a racist stereotype," says Linda Holmes. "It's galling that writers will force a character to exist as funny scenery and then complain that they cannot change him without upsetting the emotional arc of the series."
- The Simpsons didn't have to address the controversy -- Apu has become "a genuine, multidimensional character" -- but last night's episode amounted to a "glib 'f*ck off"
- The Simpsons made Lisa Simpson sound like a "wealthy middle-aged white male writer"
- Molly Ringwald demonstrated how to address problematic past depictions with her recent New Yorker essay on her John Hughes films
Posted Monday 4/09/18 at 1:45PM EDT
The Simpsons dismisses Apu criticism, sparking backlash
Source: The New York Times
The Simpsons' acknowledgement of the Apu controversy on Sunday's episode came nearly five months after Hari Kondabolu's The Problem with Apu documentary made headlines by delving into the hit cartoon's Indian-American stereotype. "On Sunday night, The Simpsons, a cultural staple and television’s longest-running sitcom, now in its 29th season, finally responded: with a dismissive nod that earned the show more criticism, especially from Mr. Kondabolu himself," writes Sopan Deb, adding: "The writers of the episode — one of whom was Matt Groening, the show’s creator — received immediate backlash. Some viewers found the response tone deaf, and criticized the choice of Lisa, often the show’s moral center, to voice it." For his part, Kondabolu sent out a series of tweets last night saying "The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress." This morning, he added: "TO THE JOURNALISTS WHO HAVE ASKED ME FOR A PUBLIC STATEMENT ABOUT LAST NIGHT’S SIMPSONS EPISODE, I JUST WANT SAY: 'Congratulations to the Simpsons for being talked about & being seen as relevant again.'"
- W. Kamau Bell: Having Lisa Simpson make this "argument" was what it made it most ridiculous and toothless
- The Simpsons' response was petty and remarkably regressive
- It was a surprisingly glib response considering Hank Azaria's thoughtful response to the controversy
- It was remarkably tone-deaf and callous response
- Asked to comment, Showrunner Al Jean said: "No the episode speaks for itself"
- On Twitter, Jean defended Apu by noting that Hank Azaria won an Emmy for voicing the character
- Jean also retweeted a Twitter user who tweeted "I'm Indian" and "Loved how you guys handled this non-issue"
Posted Thursday 3/29/18 at 2:13PM EDT
IFC renews Brockmire for two seasons, Seth Meyers teases Documentary Now! return in 2019
Hank Azaria's baseball announcer comedy has been picked up for a third and fourth season. At IFC's upfront event, executive producer Seth Meyers said of Documentary Now!'s extended hiatus: "I think the year off will be helpful. I think when we come back, you know, fingers crossed, when you take time and come back you do those Roseanne numbers.” ALSO: Check out Brockmire's Season 2 key art.
Posted Wednesday 2/21/18 at 7:00PM EST
Brockmire visits New Orleans in Season 2 trailer
Watch the trailer for Season 2 of Hank Azaria's IFC comedy, which premieres April 25.