Check out a new clip from the highly-anticipated comedic documentary The Problem with Apu which is set to premiere on truTV on Sunday, November 19 at 10PM ET/PT. The Problem with Apu will have its World Premiere at DOC NYC on November 14. In the hour-long film, creator and star Hari Kondabolu, a South Asian-American comedian, confronts his long-standing “nemesis” Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – better known as the Indian convenience store owner on The Simpsons.
Kondabolu discusses how this controversial caricature was created, burrowed its way into the hearts and minds of Americans, and continues to exist – intact – nearly three decades later.
In this highly-personal, insightful and timely exploration of minority media representation, Kondabolu speaks with prominent South Asian actors about the damaging legacy of Apu – an animated character voiced by a white actor with a heavily exaggerated, stereotypical Indian accent. Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, Aasif Mandvi, Hasan Minjaj, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Aparna Nancherla, Russell Peters, Sakina Jaffrey and Maulik Pancholy share poignant stories about their own experiences with Apu and the broader questions about the comedy and representation he evokes. With additional interviews with EGOT-winner Whoopi Goldberg, W. Kamau Bell, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Mallika Rao, and many more, The Problem with Apu takes a humorous look at how even a beloved television series can have a blind spot.
“I was obsessed with The Simpsons growing up and it has greatly influenced my comedy. However, as my mother proves, you can criticize something you love because you expect more from it,” said Kondabolu. “For the longest time, Apu was the most prominent representation of South Asian Americans – and despite how much our society has changed in the last three decades – the character persists today. I made this film to not only talk about the origin of Apu and highlight the impact of such images in media, but also to celebrate the diversity and complexity of my community.”
Hailed as “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today” by The New York Times, Brooklyn-based comedian Kondaboluis the host of the popular podcast “Politically Re-Active” alongside W. Kamau Bell.