A gay cartoon character in a classic series now has a gay voice behind him.
Last year, long running cartoon series The Simpsons announced that the show would “no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.” This announcement was in response to the longstanding controversy around the character Apu. But while recasting one character, who also happens to be gay, the Simpsons producers not only recast him with a Cuban-American actor but also made sure the actor was gay too.
Julio is a gay Cuban character who was previously voiced by Hank Azaria, the same actor who voiced Apu. Julio was introduced in the episode “The Three Gays of the Condo” when Homer was kicked out of his home after fighting with Marge. Homer then moved in with Julio and his then-boyfriend Grady. Since then, Julio has made several appearances on the show, including previously dating classic character Waylon Smithers.
Now, Julio has been recast with gay Cuban-American actor Tony Rodriguez. Tony made his debut in the role in the March 28 episode “Uncut Femmes.” According to the BubbleBladder, Rodriguez is a longtime performer for the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatres in New York and Los Angeles. The actor has also appeared on several shows and programs like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Netflix’s Gentefied, Eastsiders, Late Late Night with James Corden, and more.
Then, according to Matt Selman, an executive producer on The Simpsons, a supercut of every gay joke on the show influenced the recasting, as Pride reports. The supercut, titled “Every LGBT Joke On The Simpsons Ever,” was created by Drew Mackie and Glen Lakin for their Gayest Episode Ever podcast. On the podcast, the two watch and analyze the LGBTQ-themed episodes of old television shows.
“The every gay joke ever on the Simpsons video definitely had a hand in this magic coming together,” Selman wrote on Twitter.
After seeing that tweet, Rodriguez was invited to talk on the podcast.
“Maybe this is how this game works, we just say on this podcast and then it comes true,” said Mackie.
The power of podcasts!