Cleveland On ‘Family Guy’ And Carl On ‘The Simpsons’ Have Been Recast With Non-White Voice Actors

Both of Fox’s Sunday night staples, The Simpsons and Family Guy, have announced new voice actors for long-time characters.

On The Simpsons, Alex Désert has replaced Hank Azaria as the voice of Carl Carlson, Homer Simpson’s Springfield Nuclear Power Plant co-worker and Lenny Leonard’s life partner, beginning with the season 32 premiere after producers confirmed over the summer that the show would “no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.” Désert also voices Swarm on Disney XD’s Spider-Man: Maximum Venom and has appeared in episodes of Better Things and Better Call Saul. “It’s unclear whether Désert is Carl’s permanent voice, and if he’ll be voicing other characters as well,” Variety notes. “Among other recurring characters the edict might impact include Dr. Julius Hibbert,” previously voiced by Harry Shearer (who has puzzling thoughts on all this).

Meanwhile, the new voice of Cleveland Brown on Family Guy will be Arif Zahir.

“Firstly, I’m eternally grateful to have received this once in a lifetime opportunity,” Zahir said in a statement. “When I heard that Mike Henry was stepping down from the role of Cleveland Brown — my favorite cartoon character of all time — I was shocked and saddened, assuming we’d never see him again. When I learned I would get to take over the role? Overabundant gratitude. To Mike, you created something truly special and I promise I will do my absolute best to honor your legacy. To Rich Appel, Alec Sulkin, and Seth MacFarlane, thank you for this incredible gift. And to the millions of fans who love this show, I promise not to let you down.” Henry will continue to voice other characters.

Zahir, who has a popular YouTube account with over six million followers, uploaded a video of himself voicing Cleveland as he plays Call of Duty earlier this year… and now I have The Cleveland Show theme song stuck in my head. And now so do you.

(Via Variety and the Hollywood Reporter)