The Problem with Apu

Synopsis: Comedian Hari Kondabolu confronts his cartoon nemesis, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian convenience store owner from The Simpsons (1989).
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Michael Melamedoff
Production: truTV
Rotten Tomatoes:
49 min


I was doing this show

in Brooklyn --

in Brooklyn, diverse Brooklyn!

This kid comes up to me

and he's like,

"Dude, I think

you're really funny.

That's a big deal

coming from me.

I don't usually

find ethnic comedy funny."

I was like, "Why would you

say that to my face?

You could've tweeted that.


Why are you hurting me

in real time?

Why is this happening

right now?"

Ethnic comedy?

What does ethnic comedy mean?

It's not like my whole act is,

"Hey, brown people

look like this.

Hold up.

White people,

they look like that!"

I'll take your laughs,


I mean...

Thank -- Oh, that's a racist

Apu joke in Denver.

Boulder just went up

another notch,

just like that.

I know you from high school,

even though I don't.

You're the reason

I do comedy, sir.

You're the reason

I thought to myself,

"Nobody like us exists

except this cartoon character.

I'm gonna show up,

and I'm gonna be the best

comic in the country,

and I'm gonna make less

than I deserve in Denver."

28 years later, and the words

"Thank you, come again"

still follow me wherever I go.

Hey, my name is Hari Konadabolu,

and I'm a stand up comic

in Brooklyn, New York.

I'm the son of two immigrants

from India who,

despite me being

a stand up comic,

are still alive.

My brother Ashok and I

grew up in Queens.

Here is a picture of us

pretending to have Christmas.

I've had a great career filled

with laughter,

critical acclaim,

and me shaking the hands

of many famous white men

on television.

I should be completely happy.

But there's still one man

who haunts me --

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Serving the customer

is merriment enough for me.

Thank you, come again.

Hey, Ganesha.

Want a peanut?

Please do not offer

my God a peanut.

You're stealing wishes?

Please pay for your purchases

and get out and come again!

Oh, look.

It is encrusted with filth.

Oh, well.

Let's sell it anyway.

Now, this is just

between me and you.

Hari Konadabolu, everybody!

Hari Konadabolu!

I publicly declared

my war on Apu in 2012

on the FX show,

"Totally Biased

with W. Kamau Bell."

I did a piece about

Indian-Americans in the media.

We've had an amazing run

the last few years

with more Indians in

the public eye than ever before.

There's, like, 14 of us now.

There's now enough Indian people

where I don't need to like you

just because you're Indian.

Because growing up,

I had no choice

but to like this.


This all started

because you asked me

to do a piece

on your old television show,

"Totally Biased,"

when I used to write for it.

You said,

"If you don't do this,

I will fire you."

And I'm like,

"You know what?

That's -- that is...

That's good advice.

That's good advice."

That's good advice.

I couldn't imagine anybody

wanting to hear

about Indian representation.

As soon as people

got what you were doing,

and it wasn't like it was

an all Southasian audience,

but it was an audience who

understood about representation.

And it was, like,

the pop of like,

"Yes, we know exactly

what you're talking about.

We're ready.

Take us on the journey."

Apu -- a cartoon character

voiced by Hank Azaria,

a white guy.

A white guy doing an impression

of a white guy

making fun of my father.

If --

If I saw Hank Azaria

do that voice at a party,

I would kick the

out of him.


Or I'd imagine

kicking the out of him.

Now, I realize some of you

think I'm some annoying

P.C. social-justice warrior

that's very sensitive

and is obsessed

with a 28-year-old

cartoon character.

You're probably thinking,

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    "The Problem with Apu" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 11 May 2021. <>.

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