Not Lenny. Not Lenny. No, literally, we’re not talking about Lenny. Instead, we have news about his dear friend and nuclear power plant coworker Carl Carlson, who will be voiced by a new actor in The Simpsons’s upcoming Season 32 premiere. According to Variety, Better Things actor Alex Désert will play Carl, a Black character voiced by Hank Azaria since the character’s second appearance on the series, on Sunday. It’s not clear as of yet whether Désert will be the show’s permanent Carl, or if he will voice other characters.
Back in February, Azaria also stepped away from voicing The Simpsons’ Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. In June, after several animated series like Big Mouth, The Cleveland Show, and Central Park announced their white performers would no longer voice Black characters, Fox VP Lee Eisner officially announced that, “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” a promise, it seems, the series is making good on.
While you might know Désert from his appearances in movies like Swingers and High Fidelity, or shows like Becker and Boy Meets World, you may also know his vocal talents from the Spider-Man animated series, Mr. Pickles, and, if you happen to have a toddler, The Stinky & Dirty Show.