Kal Penn, better known by the names of his acting roles as Kumar Patel and Dr. Lawrence Kutner, has left the “House” staff and joined the White House staff. No, it’s really true, and not some drug-induced hallucination in one of his “Harold and Kumar” movies. Kal Penn, who was very active in the Obama presidential campaign, is now the associate director of the White House office of public affairs. On Monday night’s episode of the Fox hit drama “House,” Kal Penn left the staff of the cantankerous genius in dramatic fashion — he committed suicide.
Who is taking bets that Sean Hannity is apoplectic that the White House hired someone who played a pothead in a movie? Why, it’s so un-American. It will forever cast a shadow over the image of the presidency. Blah, blah, blah, ad nauseum…
And you know Dick Cheney is grumbling about how Kumar and that terrorist Harold person would have NEVER escaped Guantanamo on his watch.
Kal Penn told Entertainment Weekly that the opportunity to go work for the White House developed over several months. He decided to take the position, which pays far less than what he makes as an actor, a couple months ago after a long internal struggle. He said that he had never worked with a better group of people than the cast of “House.”
But his exit from “House” was permanent. His character, Dr. Lawrence Kutner, committed suicide. No warning. No note. Penn said that it was the perfect way for David Shore and Katie Jacobs to write him out of the show. The well-adjusted, least likely to commit suicide does so and leaves Dr. Gregory House, the man with all the answers, without a clue. Blind-siding Dr. House was the ultimate plot twist.
When asked about how permanent his White House position was, Kal Penn said that that was up in the air.
He told Entertainment Weekly that politics was part of his heritage. His grandparents marched with Gandhi. He joined the Obama campaign, got to know then Senator Obama and his staff and, somewhere along the line, expressed that he would like to work in the White House. Penn explained that his job would be much the same as the one he performed during the campaign, that of a middleman between the President’s staff and the public.
People believe that plots for movies like “Legally Blonde” and “Man of the Year” are outrageous and unrealistic, but political odysseys like Kal Penn’s prove otherwise. And some day, the 31-year-old could make a run for president.
And if that sounds unbelievable, it must be remembered that many never thought the actor Ronald Reagan would become president. And if one believes that something like the “Harold and Kumar” movies, where he played a laughable womanizing pot-smoker, might be a hindrance, just remember that Reagan did “Bedtime for Bonzo.”
Truth is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction.