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Harry Shearer says The Simpsons Show fans woke up after recastings




Harry Shearer says The Simpsons Show fans woke up after recastings

Harry Shearer has voiced dozens of characters on Fox’s “The Simpsons,” from Mr. Burns to Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner, but he was replaced as the voice of Springfield physician Dr. Hibbert when the show’s producers promised in 2020 that they would no longer do that. white actors portray characters of color. Shearer recently reflected on the change during an interview with The Times of London.

“People say the show has woken up in recent years and one of my characters has been affected,” Shearer said. “I spoke to the black doctor, Dr. Hibbert, which I based on Bill Cosby. At the time, he was known as the “whitest black man on television.” Then, a few years ago, I received an email saying they had hired a black actor, who then copied my voice. The result is a black man imitating a white man imitating the whitest black man on TV.”

Shearer seemed to question his recast as he always tried to get Dr. Making Hibberd’s “whiteness” as a black man part of the character’s joke, as he modeled him after Cosby. The character is now voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Another black character on the show, Homer’s friend Carl Carlson, is now voiced by Alex Désert after originally being voiced by Hank Azaria.

Producers of ‘The Simpsons’ announced in 2020 that characters of color in the long-running animated sitcom would now only be voiced by actors of color. Prior to the announcement, the show was heavily criticized for white actors like Azaria playing characters like Indian store owner Apu. Azaria stopped voicing the character in January 2020, admitting that his voice role “helped create an inhuman stereotype.” The actor’s controversial casting as Apu was the subject of comedian Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary ‘The Problem With Apu’.

‘The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening told us USA today in 2021 that it “wasn’t my idea” to have white actors stop voicing characters of color, “but I’m okay with it. Who can be against diversity? So it’s great.”

“I just want to say, however, that the actors were not hired to play specific characters,” he added at the time. “They were hired to play the characters we came up with. The amazing thing for me is seeing all of our brilliant actors who can do multiple voices, do multiple voices.”

Shearer relented in his Times of London interview that he “wasn’t sure if he would join ‘The Simpsons’ in 1989”, adding: “Voice actors usually get a script after the animation is completed. I took the job because it was the other way around. I play more than twenty characters, but the evil owner of the nuclear power plant, Mr. Burns, is my favorite.

On May 19, ‘The Simpsons’ concludes its 35th season.