Cue the Kumar Goes to the White House jokes. Actor Kal Penn — of Harold & Kumar and House fame — has quit acting, at least for now, to work in Barack Obama’s White House. Penn will work with the arts and Asian-American communities.
(If you want more info on Penn’s departure from House, check out this piece at Entertainment Weekly. But don’t click on this link — don’t even look at the URL — if you don’t want it spoiled. Oh, and don’t click on the EW link in the next paragraph, either.)
Penn, who worked on the Obama campaign, told EW:
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.
[P]robably 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.
Can you think of another actor who’s done anything so dramatic as quit a hit TV show to take a job in the public sector? Penn’s annual salary is probably now less than what he was making per episode on House. What kind of example is that for a winner-take-all capitalistic culture like ours?
What do you think of Kal Penn qutting acting to work for Obama?
(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)