A popular gay character on “The Simpsons” is getting a brand new voice.
Recently, the show announced that openly gay Cuban-American actor Tony Rodriguez would be taking over the role of Julio from longtime star Hank Azaria.
The new casting was in part prompted by a supercut released in January, showing every joke about LGBTQ+ people in the show’s long history.
Spurred by that video, Rodriguez took to YouTube with an open appeal to the show’s producers to let him be the new voice of Julio, who appeared multiple times throughout the supercut.
Appearing on the “Gayest Episode Ever” podcast, Rodriguez explained that the video had made its way to “The Simpsons” writers room.
“[‘The Simpsons’] showrunner, Matt Selman, had seen the supercut, heard the podcast and heard you say my name,” he said. “By that point, my video was out, and he asked the other writers of the show: ‘Does anyone know who Tony Rodriguez is?'”
He continued, “We didn’t know they were actively looking to recast, and we didn’t know they had been looking for weeks. Thank god you put [the supercut] out there when you did!”
Selman confirmed on Twitter that the supercut helped prompt the recasting.
the every gay joke ever on the Simpsons video definitely had a hand in this magic coming together
— Matt Selman (@mattselman) March 28, 2021
Rodriguez called it “a dream come true.”
— Tony Rodríguez (@TheTonyRodrig) March 28, 2021
Azaria has voiced a number of roles on the show, which have since either been dropped or recast due to insensitivity. Apu and Carl have recently been recast, and Azaria spoke about having previously voiced the animated characters while appearing on a recent episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast.
“I think what was good about Hank’s statements was that he was talking people through his thought process on stepping away from roles he no longer felt it was appropriate to voice,” Rodriguez told Yahoo! Entertainment. “He didn’t make it seem like the decision was made for him, and he made it clear that he didn’t want fans to be angry on his behalf that he’s no longer Apu or Julio. It’s also great that he pointed out how these sorts of changes create job opportunities for up-and-comers.”