Appearing on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, Azaria threw out the possibility of killing off Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, one of 20-30 regular characters he says he’s voiced on the long-running animated Fox series. He’d like to see an Indian-American writer added to the show, “genuinely informing whatever new direction this character make take, including how it is voice – or not voiced,” he said.
Comedian Hari Kondabolu, whose truTV documentary The Problem with Apu trigged a lot of talk on the topic when it debuted last November, tweeted thanks to Azaria, then re-tweeted thanks of others:
On Colbert’s CBS late-night show, Azaria wanted to make clear he had nothing to do with the show’s recent stab at addressing the Apu controversy, noting the character had no lines in that segment and that he saw the response for the first time “right around the time the rest of America did.”
In an episode that aired earlier this month, the show addressed those blasting Apu as a negative stereotype.
“Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” Marge hinted.
“If at all,” Lisa added as she and her mom turned to face the camera.
The controversy surprised Azaria at first, he admitted to Colbert’s crowd.
“The idea anybody…was bullied or teased based on the character, it really makes me sad. It certainly was not my intention,” the actor insisted. “I wanted to spread laughter and joy with this character. The idea that it has brought pain and suffering in any way, that it was used to marginalize people, it’s upsetting genuinely.”