Kal Penn
American actor and politician
Kal Penn
Kal Penn is an American actor, producer, and civil servant. As an actor, he is known for his roles portraying the character Dr. Lawrence Kutner on the television program House and the character Kumar Patel in the Harold and Kumar comedy films. He is also recognized for his performance in the critically acclaimed film The Namesake. Penn has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting lecturer in the Cinema Studies Program.
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Donald Trump Tweets 'Easy D' And The Internet Is Going Mental
Huffington Post - 14 days
Donald Trump started the day by attacking Nordstrom and defending his daughter’s business. He placed the blame on the company, but the truth is consumers just stopped buying her products. My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017 .@realDonaldTrump It's NOT Nordstrom, it's the CONSUMERS that decided not to buy all your HYPOCRITICAL products. You lost by over 3 million! — Tommy Campbell (@MrTommyCampbell) February 8, 2017 Many voted their distaste for the tacky brand and the many foreign-made Trump products with Shannon Coulter’s #GrabYourWallet campaign. As of today, you can find the official, always-up-to-date #GrabYourWallet list over at https://t.co/2TQSA4DmH5 — Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) November 27, 2016 Even more interesting and not surprising was the ti ...
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Huffington Post article
Kal Penn is 'inspired' after raising more than $600,000 for Syrian refugees
LATimes - 23 days
After a weekend of airport protests across the country in response to President Trump’s temporary ban on refugees coming into the U.S., pushback has also come in another form: money. The American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully fought for an emergency stay late Saturday night to halt...
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LATimes article
Actor Kal Penn raises thousands for Syrian refugees after vile social media comment
Yahoo News - 24 days
What Kal Penn calls turning bigotry into love is a powerful force indeed.  The actor flipped a vile social media comment on its head Saturday, using the message of hate to rally support for Syrian refugees to the tune of $50,000.  SEE ALSO: Hollywood rallies to support Iranian Asghar Farhadi, barred from Oscars by Muslim ban Penn shared a screenshot of what appeared to be an Instagram comment in which someone said "you don't belong in this country you fucking joke." He linked to a crowdfunding page entitled, appropriately enough, "Donating to Syrian Refugees in the Name of the Dude Who Said I Don't Belong in America." To the dude who said I don't belong in America, I started a fundraising page for Syrian Refugees in your name. https://t.co/NOR5P48fBi pic.twitter.com/jtJOsK9GrU — Kal Penn (@kalpenn) January 28, 2017 To the dude who said I don't belong in America, I started a fundraising page for Syrian Refugees in your name. (Clickable link in my profile if you would like to donate!) ht ...
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Yahoo News article
Kal Penn Responds To Racist Troll By Raising Thousands For Refugees
Huffington Post - 25 days
Kal Penn is turning racist vitriol into meaningful action to help other people. On Saturday, the Indian-American actor posted a screenshot on Instagram showing a text-message conversation with a friend. The friend was talking about an Iraqi refugee turned away from the United States in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order halting the U.S. refugee program and suspending immigration from several countries. ‪My friend Mike just sent this heartbreaking text about his refugee friend. Families are being torn apart. Shame on us. This is un-American. ‬What Donald Trump and the Republican Party are doing is wholly unAmerican. A photo posted by Kal Penn (@kalpenn) on Jan 28, 2017 at 9:24am PST Someone then messaged Penn saying that he doesn’t “belong in this country” and is a “fucking joke.” So Penn responded in about the best way possible: by raising money to help refugees. To the dude who said I don't belong in America, ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Kal Penn Starts Fundraiser for Syrian Refugees in Honor of Critic Who Said He Didn't Belong in America - PEOPLE.com
Google News - 25 days
PEOPLE.com Kal Penn Starts Fundraiser for Syrian Refugees in Honor of Critic Who Said He Didn't Belong in America PEOPLE.com Kal Penn is clapping back at his haters with a fundraiser for Syrian refugees. The 39-year-old American actor has started a CrowdRise fundraiser in the name of a commenter who told him he doesn't belong in America. The message appeared to be written in ... Kal Penn fundraises for Syrian refugees after hateful tweetNew York Daily News Kal Penn raises over $200000 for refugees in response to racist tweetEW.com Kal Penn Responds To Racist Troll By Raising Thousands For RefugeesHuffington Post The Hill (blog) -Vulture -Consequence of Sound (blog) -The Inquisitr all 22 news articles »
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Google News article
This Celeb Rocked ‘Epic’ Jordans for Michelle Obama’s Final Speech at the White House
Yahoo News - about 2 months
Usher, Kelly Rowland, Wale, Allison Williams, Kal Penn and more stars turned out.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
Here's Why You’ll Never See A Muslim Terrorist On This TV Show
Huffington Post - 3 months
Here’s something we can hopefully all agree on: we’ve seen enough Muslim terrorists on TV.   Whether it’s reinforcing the threat-next-door stereotype *cough “24” cough* or how far too many actors who are or appear to be Middle Eastern have played a terrorist on TV (Kal Penn, Rami Malek, etc.) representations of Muslim people as extremists only fuel Islamophobic and xenophobic sentiments. To subvert this history of stereotyping and marginalization on-screen, “Quantico” showrunner Josh Safran has made it his mission to never feature a Muslim terrorist in the series, which follows a group of FBI recruits combating incidents of domestic terrorism.  In a New York Times article titled “Can Television Be Fair to Muslims?” featuring excerpts from a roundtable of writers and showrunners of series like “Homeland” and “Quantico,” Safran explains that his series stands in direct defiance of this kind of typecasting. “For me, it was important to not ever put a Muslim terrorist on our ...
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Huffington Post article
Wall Street Journal confuses Dev Patel with Kal Penn for some reason
Yahoo News - 3 months
Well, this is awkward. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published its review of new film Lion , a biopic about Indian Australian Saroo Brierley, starring actor Dev Patel. At least that was the intention. But Pulitzer Prize-winning reviewer Joe Morgenstern confused the British Patel for New Jersey-born actor and former White House employee, Kal Penn. A.K.A. a totally different person from a totally different country.  SEE ALSO: 'White Nonsense Roundup' is here to take on racist Facebook posts "Saroo is played dazzlingly by Dev Patel, who gives his richest performance since The Namesake ," Morganstern wrote in his glowing review. But 2006's The Namesake stars Kal Penn of Harold and Kumar fame.  Of course, the problematic gaff didn't go unnoticed by Twitter users.  @JoeMorgenstern Dev Patel wasn't in the Namesake. Did you mean the other brown actor (@kalpenn) or other brown film? :( #wsj #lionmovie pic.twitter.com/UhPtVKmJ5B — Kelvin (@kelvindchen) November 25, 2016 @kelvindchen @kalpen ...
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Yahoo News article
Usher among U.S. artists visiting Cuba
Reuters.com - 10 months
HAVANA, Cuba - - A U.S. delegation of cultural leaders and artists, including Usher and Kal Penn, arrived in Havana, Cuba on Monday (April 18), as part of a four-day artistic exchange.
Article Link:
Reuters.com article
Russian official tweets pic of 'terrorist' ... but it's Kal Penn
CNN - over 1 year
Article Link:
CNN article
Reba McEntire Booked to Appear, Perform on NBC’s “TODAY”
Headline Planet - almost 2 years
Reba McEntire’s new album “Love Somebody” arrives on April 14. To promote and celebrate the album, the country veteran will appear during all three portions of that morning’s “TODAY” Show. Per NBC’s official listings, McEntire will perform during the 7-9AM ET and 10-11AM ET broadcast segments. She will sit down for an interview in the 9-10AM ET hour. McEntire is one of two musical acts confirmed for that week’s string of “TODAY” Show episodes. Walk the Moon, the other act, performs on April 15. This coming week’s episodes feature performances by Flo Rida (4/8) and Blues Traveler & Hanson (4/9). NBC’s listings follow: Monday, April 6 (7-9 a.m.) Giuliana Rancic on her book, Going Off Script. Shine A Light. Matcha Madness. Bethenny Frankel on The Real Housewives of New York. Cooking with Giada De Laurentiis. Jean Chatzky on Today. (9-10 a.m.) Cooking with Christina Tossi. Must Mark Your Calendar. Love It or List It. Pop Fix. (10-11 a.m.) Giuliana Rancic on her book ...
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Headline Planet article
Review: ‘The Big Picture with Kal Penn’ Looks at the Data Driving the Stories
NYTimes - almost 2 years
The new show, on the National Geographic Channel, can be thought of as data-mining television.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
American teens' film on India trip leads to global clean-up project
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
Washington, March 21 (IANS) "It's like the Sundance or Cannes of film festivals that are open to the public through a government website," joked President Barack Obama as he welcomed young filmmakers to the second annual White House Film Festival. Among the 15 official selections screened Friday at the premiere emceed by Indian-American actor Kal Penn and Terrence J was "Generation Change", a film made by two teenagers after two trips to India. Obama noted how the journey of two young women, Allyson Edwards, 16, and Madison Jaco, 17, led to a global project for a cleaner, healthier environment in five countries. "And now you've got groups in India, France, Nigeria, Benin, Argentina, all getting into the act - cleaning up their schools and beaches and roads -just because of these two young women," Obama said amid applause.
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Yahoo News article
Obama Enlists AFI, SAG-AFTRA to Expand Film Mentorship Programs
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
The president will announce a "Call to Arts" program at a White House event, expected to be attended by the likes of Hilary Swank and Kal Penn, to support of "the next generation of storytellers."
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Kal Penn
  • 2016
    Age 38
    In February 2016, it was announced that Penn would co-star opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the ABC drama series Designated Survivor as Seth, a White House speech writer who originally worked under the President Richman administration.
    More Details Hide Details In 2008, Penn served as a visiting lecturer in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His course was titled "Images of Asian Americans in the Media." In 2014, Penn was working on a graduate certificate in international security from Stanford University.
    In January 2016, Penn announced that he supported Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic nomination.
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  • 2014
    Age 36
    On February 28, 2014, Penn served as the Master of Ceremonies for the White House Student Film Festival.
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  • 2013
    Age 35
    On November 18, 2013, President Obama appointed Penn to serve on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
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  • 2012
    Age 34
    On September 3, 2012, Obama for America released a video featuring President Obama and Penn which announced that Penn would host the September 6 coverage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
    More Details Hide Details Penn's speech at the convention encouraged young people to register to vote and defended Obama's record.
    In February 2012, it was announced that Penn would be a co-chair for the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.
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  • 2010
    Age 32
    He returned to office on November 15, 2010, following completion of A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
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    Having made a commitment before his employment at the White House, Penn amicably left his post as President Barack Obama's associate director of public engagement on June 1, 2010, to return to his acting career.
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    Penn resigned his post as Barack Obama's Associate Director of Public Engagement on June 1, 2010, for a brief return to his acting career.
    More Details Hide Details He filmed the third installment of the Harold & Kumar series, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and subsequently returned to the White House Office of Public Engagement as an Associate Director. In July 2011, he again left the White House to accept a role in the hit television series How I Met Your Mother. Currently, he stars in the role of Seth Wright in the ABC political drama Designated Survivor. Penn was born in Montclair, New Jersey. His mother, Asmita, is a fragrance evaluator for a perfume company, and his father, Suresh Modi, is an engineer. Both of his parents are Gujarati immigrants from India. He has stated that stories of his grandparents marching with Mahatma Gandhi for Indian independence were a significant influence on his interest in politics. He attended Marlboro Middle School in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, and played baritone saxophone in the jazz band there. Penn attended The Fine and Performing Arts Academy (a magnet program) at Howell High School for freshman year; he transferred to Freehold Township High School for sophomore, junior, and senior years; both schools are part of the Freehold Regional High School District. He was active in the schools' theater productions and competed on the Freehold Township forensics team. He graduated from UCLA in 2000, and double majored in film and sociology.
  • 2009
    Age 31
    In early 2009, Penn was offered the position of Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration, which he accepted.
    More Details Hide Details This necessitated his character Lawrence Kutner being written out of the TV series House. In his new role with the Obama administration, Penn served as a liaison with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. He had gone back to using his birth name, Kalpen Modi.
    He made an additional appearance as Lawrence Kutner on the fifth season finale, "Both Sides Now", that aired on May 11, 2009.
    More Details Hide Details However, due to his new job at the White House, Penn could not be present for the filming of this episode. The clip of him saying "Too bad it isn't true" was taken from a previous filming. Penn returned to the show for the series finale. In addition to his role on the TV series House, he is best known from his role in Harold & Kumar, as Kumar Patel, a cannabis smoker who goes with Harold Lee (John Cho) to White Castle for a hamburger. Unlike his character, he does not smoke marijuana, claiming it is not for him, nor does he eat meat. Penn was recurring on How I Met Your Mother for the seventh season of the show, in which he played Kevin, a therapist and later boyfriend of Robin Scherbatsky. Starting May 1, 2013, Penn hosts Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius on the Discovery Channel. On May 10, 2013, it was announced that Penn would join the cast of We Are Men.
    Penn continued with the series through to the episode "Simple Explanation", which aired April 6, 2009.
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    On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Penn would join the Obama administration as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.
    More Details Hide Details This necessitated that his TV character, Lawrence Kutner, be written out of House.
    He appears in the Barack Obama-supporting video "Sí Se Puede Cambiar" by Andres Useche and appeared with comedian George Lopez on January 18, 2009, at "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial".
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  • 2007
    Age 29
    Penn was an advocate for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008 and a member of Obama's National Arts Policy Committee.
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    In fall 2007, Penn joined the cast of the Fox medical drama House as a fellowship applicant.
    More Details Hide Details E! reported that Penn had signed on as a regular on the show along with Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson and this was confirmed in the plot of the episode "Games".
    In May 2007, Penn received the Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Actor for his performance in The Namesake.
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    Also in January 2007, he appeared in the spoof comedy Epic Movie as well as the television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
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    In January 2007, Penn appeared in the first four episodes of the sixth season of 24 as Ahmed Amar, a teenage terrorist.
    More Details Hide Details Penn says he nearly turned down the role due to personal ethics, stating: "I have a huge political problem with the role. It was essentially accepting a form of racial profiling. I think it's repulsive. But it was the first time I had a chance to blow stuff up and take a family hostage. As an actor, why shouldn't I have that opportunity? Because I'm brown and I should be scared about the connection between media images and people's thought processes?"
  • 1998
    Age 20
    Penn's feature film debut came in 1998 in Express: Aisle to Glory.
    More Details Hide Details He has since appeared in American Desi, Van Wilder, the final episode of The Lonely Island, Malibu's Most Wanted, A Lot Like Love, Dude, Where's the Party? Love Don't Cost a Thing, Superman Returns, Epic Movie, The Namesake, the Harold & Kumar series, and an uncredited appearance in Deck the Halls. Penn says that he derived his acting name, Kal Penn, as a lark: "Almost as a joke to prove friends wrong, and half as an attempt to see if what I was told would work (that anglicized names appeal more to a white-dominated industry), I put 'Kal Penn' on my resume and photos." His audition callbacks rose by 50 percent. He has stated that he prefers his birth name and uses "Kal Penn" only for professional purposes.
  • 1977
    Born on April 23, 1977.
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