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Kal Penn on Why He's Moving From House to the White House

Kal Penn on Why He's Moving From House to the White House

Kal Penn can add White House staffer to his resume, which already includes a stint on House and a successful escape from Guantanamo Bay prison as Kumar Patel.

Yesterday, the budding politico jumped on the phone to chat about his decision to leave House to go work for President Obama. Here are the highlights:

  • Penn asked for the job. After volunteering for the campaign, he was drawn to "the types of change that President Obama had campaigned on and the opportunity to bring those changes into fruition was incredibly moving."
  • He's talked to the boss. Penn said he spoke to "the president, and some of his aides. I reached out that this was something that I really wanted to do. I'm deeply honored and feel deeply privileged."
  • What will he be doing exactly? "I will be an associate director in the White House Office of Public Liaison. They try to take the administration itself out of Washington so they go into communities across the country and continue the sorts of dialogue that they started during the campaign."

Since actors typically make the jump to politics later in life, it's refreshing to see a younger talent follow a dream of serving the public.

Source

Join The Conversation
cupcakers cupcakers 8 years
good for him!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"if he was some conservative chick from Alaska you'd be saying he was qualified to be king of the world! " Ummm, no.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
"if he was some conservative chick from Alaska you'd be saying he was qualified to be king of the world! " :rotfl:
stephley stephley 8 years
Well, it's not as if a grad student can leave school for a couple of months and have his studies continue along just fine without him...
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Yeah. Being halfway through grad school is totally the same qualifications as being governor of a state.
stephley stephley 8 years
It wasn't his first involvement in a political campaign - if he was some conservative chick from Alaska you'd be saying he was qualified to be king of the world!
tiabia tiabia 8 years
and he's Indian-American, and his stage name in Kal Penn, and he was one of Lex Luthors cronies in "Superman Returns", and he was Van Wilder's secretary in that Van Wilder movie, and he...and he...and he...
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Angie Harmon didn't.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Strong political background? He stumped for Obama (what Hollywood celeb didn't?) and he's half way through a graduate program. Oh, and his parents marched with Ghandi...
stephley stephley 8 years
Yeah I am saying that. Be serious, Kal Penn isn't 'famous' - he's someone people see and wonder where they know him from. He worked for the campaign, he's got a strong political science AND entertainment background, his grandparents marched with Gandhi and he's taking a pay cut to take a low visibility position with the administration - there's NOTHING unusual or privileged about this switch except on his part - He'll be making in a year what he makes on one episode. If he's trading on his fame, he's stupid.
liliblu liliblu 8 years
There are tons of people hired for jobs government and private sector based on who they know.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
It just seems like getting into college is one thing (there are a bazillion colleges) and getting a job at the White House is another (much more limited opportunity).
amybdk amybdk 8 years
:oy: I agree with Mydiadem on this one: I guess my point is life isn't fair and neither is the hiring or admittance process. If you are rich or famous you get things easier.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Steph, I don't know every celebrity that ever got into a good school. Are you trying to say that celebrities don't get special treatment? That Kal Penn would have this job if he were not an actor?
stephley stephley 8 years
More importantly, I said "because of their 'fame'" - you can't reasonably compare Danes, Portman and Stiles' fame to people who appeared on Real World, or Kal Penn for that matter. "Though I don't see why it matters what state they are in." Because it's hard to toss a pebble in California without hitting someone who has some minor claim to fame.
SKC-Sparkle SKC-Sparkle 8 years
Kal was wonderful in the Namesake, and I loved him on House - I actually didn't know that they killed his character off... He will definitely add an interesting comedic element to Obama's staff.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I know. That's why I started a new sentence to talk about non-California schools. Though I don't see why it matters what state they are in. :oy:
stephley stephley 8 years
Yale, Harvard and Columbia are not in California. Do you think UCLA and Berkeley actually took Matt and Kaia because of their 'fame'?
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Haha. I was like whaaat...?
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I mean to say invalid
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
Yeah Modus, not that your points are valid, but it happens on both sides. But with republicans since most actors are liberal pull from the ranks of their wealthy friends children or major campaign donors. And universities might take in academically underqualified actors but they also take in academically underqualified rich people's kids. I guess my point is life isn't fair and neither is the hiring or admittance process. If you are rich or famous you get things easier.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
A lot. Kerri Strug and Shekira went to UCLA, a good half a dozen Real World alum went to UC Berkeley. Didn't Clare Danes go to Yale, Natalie Portman to Harvard, and Julia Stiles to Columbia? Those are just the ones I know of off hand. I'm sure there are more, especially at UCLA (where Kal Penn did his undergrad, but I'm too lazy to figure out if that was before or after he started in movies)
stephley stephley 8 years
Because most people, and certainly the admissions people at Stanford, are keen Harold & Kumar fans? How many minor celebrities do you think California colleges take because of their 'fame'? :(
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
And my guess is his fame *might* have had something to do with him getting in grad school at Stanford.
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