Hari Kondabolu will premiere his comedic documentary The Problem with Apu Sunday, November 19 on truTV. In his sharp, hour-long cultural exposé, creator and star 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,” said Kondabolu. “However, as my mother proves, you can criticize something you love because you expect more from it. 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 the character and highlight the impact of such images in media, but also to celebrate the diversity and complexity of my community.”
The Problem with Apu will be made available on all platforms following its linear premiere on Sunday, November 19.
A heralded comedian and writer, Hari Kondabolu has been praised by The New York Times as“one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today” while Esquire hails “his jokes and observations are often just as insightful as they are funny”. He has also released two chart-topping comedy albums, ‘Mainstream American Comic’ and ‘Waiting for 2042’, both available on Kill Rock Stars. Hari co-hosts the popular podcast “Politically Re-Active” alongsideW. Kamau Bell.
HARI KONDABOLU ON TOUR:
9/25-27 – Toronto, ON @ Just For Laughs
10/19 – St Louis, MO @ Helium
10/20 – Iowa City, IA @ Witching Hour Festival
10/27 – Wilmington, NC @ Dead Crow Comedy Room
11/3 – Boston, MA @ The Wilbur
11/4 – Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall
11/8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Punch Line Comedy Club
11/16 – Eugene, OR @ Hult Center’s Soreng Hall
11/18 – Tacoma, WA @Theater on the Square, Broadway PAC
11/30 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
12/1 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
12/7 – Dallas, TX @ Texas Theatre
12/8 – Austin, TX @ Stateside at Paramount
12/9 – Houston, TX @ The Secret Group
12/10 – New Orleans, LA @ The Joy Theatre
12/13 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater
12/15 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
Keep up with all things Hari Kondabolu at www.harikondabolu.com/