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Houston Matters

Comedian Hari Kondabolu Takes On ‘The Problem With Apu’

Comedian Hari Kondabolu loves The Simpsons overall but has long disdained the Indian convenience store owner Apu and the stereotypes the character reinforces. He tells Michael Hagerty about his documentary on the subject, called The Problem With Apu.


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Comedian Hari Kondabolu
Mindy Tucker
Comedian Hari Kondabolu performs Dec. 9 at The Secret Group.

Comedian Hari Kondabolu performs in Houston on Saturday (Dec. 9) at The Secret Group. He recently released a documentary called The Problem With Apu. It takes on the subject of the character Apu from The Simpsons – the Indian convenience store clerk.

Despite loving The Simpsons overall, Kondabolu has long disdained the character and the stereotypes Apu reinforces – especially when people from countries like India, Pakistan, and Banglasdesh weren't often portrayed in the media as anything other than convenience store clerks or taxi drivers for so long. Shows like The Mindy Project and Master of None have only recently hit the mainstream.

The hour-long film includes Kondabolu's conversations with some of his fellow entertainers of South Asian descent and even a producer for The Simpsons. And it details his quest to land a sit-down interview with Hank Azaria, the white actor who performs the voice of Apu.

Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty talks with Kondabolu prior to his Houston performance to hear his thoughts on Apu and what he thinks he accomplished with the documentary.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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