The Simpsons Hire Black Actor To Play Carl Carlson Replacing Hank Azaria

by : Emily Brown on :
Simpsons Hire Black Actor To Play Carl Carlson Replacing Hank Azaria20th Century Fox

Hank Azaria has been replaced as the voice of Carl Carlson in The Simpsons after three decades in the role, with Black actor Alex Désert stepping in to take over. 

Azaria, a White actor known for his roles in Friends and Free Agents, has brought to life a number of Simpsons characters over the years, including Chief Wiggum, Moe Szyslak, Carl Carlson and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.


Earlier this year, The Simpsons announced it would no longer be using White actors to voice Black characters like Carl and Dr. Julius M. Hibbert, though it was not revealed who would take over the roles.

Lenny and Carl in The Simpsons20th Century Fox

Dr. Hibbert was previously voiced by Harry Shearer, who also voices Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Principal Skinner and Ned Flanders.

With the 32nd season of long-running animated series set to air on Sunday, September 27, it has now been announced that Better Things actor Alex Désert will be voicing Carl, Homer’s co-worker at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.


Désert will bring Carl to life in the season 32 premiere, though it’s not known whether he will take on the role permanently, or if he will voice multiple characters like Azaria. Dr. Hibbert is seen in the upcoming episode but doesn’t speak, Variety reports.

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2020 in Two frames.

A post shared by Alex Désert (@alexdesertwashere) on

Désert, who is also known for his roles in Swingers and High Fidelity, expressed his excitement for the news on Instagram, where he shared a report about his casting complete with images of himself and Carl.

The actor wrote:


This has been a rough week. No- year. And then…Yup. This is happening. The resemblance is uncanny!

See y’all Sunday.

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The season premiere, titled Undercover Burns, sees Mr. Burns goes undercover as ‘Fred’ (voiced by Stranger Things actor David Harbour) at the nuclear power plant in order to see what Homer and his co-workers, including Carl, really think of him.

The employees end up befriending ‘Fred’, and he enjoys the attention so much that he starts improving the amenities at the power plant, much to Smithers’ chagrin.

Mr. Burns in The Simpsons20th Century Fox

In January, Azaria announced he would no longer be voicing the character of Apu following criticisms that he was portraying a racist depiction of an Indian immigrant.

Speaking to SlashFilm, the actor said he and The Simpsons creators made the decision together, adding: ‘We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.’

Apu in The Simpsons20th Century Fox

The decision to stop White actors voicing Black characters in The Simpsons came in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement which gained traction earlier this year.

A number of other television shows implemented similar policies, with actor Mike Henry stepping down from his role as Cleveland Brown in Family Guy and Jenny Slate announcing she would no longer play a mixed-race character in Netflix’s Big Mouth. 

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Film and TV, Black Lives Matter, Now, The Simpsons


Alex Désert/Instagram and 2 others
  1. Alex Désert/Instagram


  2. SlashFilm

    ‘The Simpsons’ Star Hank Azaria Will No Longer Voice Apu [TCA 2020]

  3. Variety

    ‘The Simpsons’ Season Premiere: Here’s Who Took Over Carl’s Voice From Hank Azaria (EXCLUSIVE)