Kal Penn is a hero to a lot of college kids. Not only has he worked for the Obama administration for three years, but he’s a cult movie icon, and is still well-known for his comic roles in several college movies. And he’s lent that fame to the Obama administration on numerous occasions, and will do so again at a political summit Friday morning in Denver.
Penn starred in both 2004′s Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, along with its 2008 sequel, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. He was a hit as a supporting actor in 2002′s Van Wilder, a modern-day version of Animal House, and headlined its 2006 sequel, The Rise of Taj. In the first two, Penn played a free-wheeling pot-smoking 20-something with a bad case of the munchies. In the latter two, he played a sex-crazed exchange student from India.
(I’d link to some scenes from both of the movies, but that would probably get me fired.)
The former actor also starred in the hit TV show House, M.D. for two years before leaving to work for the Obama administration in 2009.
As the Obama campaign often points out, Penn also has a long history of public service. He also campaigned in 2008 for Obama in 26 states.
According to the Obama campaign release:
“Kal Penn is the former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, having served in the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2011. He has been a well-recognized actor and producer in television and film since the late 1990s, and has been an Adjunct Lecturer in Sociology, Film, and Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. During the 2008 campaign, he campaigned in 26 states for Barack Obama and served on the National Arts Policy Committee.
“As part of his duties at the White House, Kal Penn was the President’s Liaison to Young Americans, working on issues ranging from youth entrepreneurship & employment, to education and DADT repeal. In his duties as Liaison to Asian American & Pacific Islander communities, he worked on creating the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). He also worked on arts outreach, focusing on cultural diplomacy and arts education.”
Penn is headlining a gathering for Young Americans For Obama, to teach college kids how to campaign for the president. The event is open to the public.
WHO: Young Colorado Voters
WHAT: Organizing for America Colorado Youth Summit
WHERE: 77 W. 9th St., Denver
WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Friday, May 25