Which character on the Simpsons isn't comic relief? That Apu is a stereotype (acknowledged on the show—recall when Apu said he was invited to join the "Stereotypes" bowling team?) always seemed potentially problematic to me, but he always had depth.

In all likelihood, his character is done. Whomever replaces Azaria will have some screen time, before gradually fading away.

Perhaps as the show itself will....

LA born & raised, now I live upstate. I hate snow. I write on healthcare, politics & history. Hobbies are woodworking & singing Xmas carols with nonsense lyrics

LA born & raised, now I live upstate. I hate snow. I write on healthcare, politics & history. Hobbies are woodworking & singing Xmas carols with nonsense lyrics