Kumar (but not Harold) Goes To The White CastleHouse

Kal Penn, who played Dr. Lawrence Kutner on House and Kumar in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is, and this is true, leaving acting to become the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Here is an excerpt of an interview in Entertainment Weekly:

EW: I understand it was your decision to leave House. True?

KAL PENN: Yes. I was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House. I got to know the President and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there, so I’m going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison. They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations. They’re basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House. It’s similar to what I was doing on the campaign.

With the (soon, I hope) ascension of Al Franken to the Senate, I imagined that some young comedian today might end up in politics 30 years hence. My money was on Andy Samberg, but only because of his common ties with Franken and SNL. “Kumar,” whose real name is Kalpen Suresh Modi, is a better fit:

EW: How long has this been in the works?

PENN: I’ve been thinking about [moving into politics] for a while. I love what I do as an actor. I couldn’t love it more. But probably from the time I was a kid, I really enjoyed that balance between the arts and public service. I went to a performing arts high school, but I still took a bunch of those dorky political science classes. It’s probably because of the value system my grandparents instilled in me. They marched with Gandhi in the Indian independence movement, and that was always in the back of my head. So the past couple of years I thought about it a little more. And in ’06 I started this international studies program at Stanford, where they actually let you do most of the course work online. So it was something I could do while I was acting. And I thought this might be the right time to go off and do something else.

Which reminds me: if I were independently wealthy and/or guaranteed not to fail at anything I tried, I’d enroll tomorrow in a post-graduate degree program like the one offered by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. I’m just saying.

P.S. If you haven’t already seen it, go rent Harold and Kumar Go To The White Castle. It is too funny!