What South Asian Americans Lost When We Canceled Apu
A Comedian’s Special—And My Experience as a Simpsons Fan—Point to the Good, the Bad, and the Complicated When It Comes to Representation
“Bring Back Apu” is a new comedy special from Akaash Singh, the 38-year-old Indian American comedian who wants The Simpsons to revive the Springfield Kwik-E-Mart owner. For nearly three decades, Apu was voiced by the white comedian Hank Azaria—until a backlash forced Azaria to give up the role.
In the 2017 documentary, The Problem with Apu, South Asian American comedians Kal Penn, Aziz Ansari, Aasif Mandvi, and Hasan Minhaj famously spoke of the ways Apu’s character was weaponized to bully them when they were children. So why does Singh want to bring back …