Years ago, actor Kal Penn famously stepped away from Hollywood to take on a role in the White House.
The “Harold and Kumar” actor served as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs with the Obama Administration.
After his two years were up, his manager urged him to write a book.
“I said ‘why do I need to write a book?’ and he goes ‘do you realize nobody else has worked in both Hollywood and Washington D.C. and politics?’ and I said ‘Literally, the governor is Arnold Schwarzenegger,'” Penn told KTLA Morning News.
Penn says he didn’t feel like he was doing anything special.
“I understand that I got a lot of attention because I was on the TV show ‘House’ and I went to go work in government, but the reality was thousands of, regardless of political affiliation, do the very same thing that I had the wonderful opportunity to do, which is serve your country,” he explained. “Some people are able to do it at the federal level, other people do it in the city council or the school board or volunteering with your church or mosque or synagogue on the weekends.”
He recognized how fortunate he was that he was able to financially take a sabbatical from acting to pursue the venture in Washington. Once the opportunity to work with Mr. Obama presented itself, he couldn’t say no.
“What am I supposed to say? ‘Sorry Mr. President, I have another stoner movie to make?'” he joked.
Penn did indeed write a book. His memoir “You Can’t Be Serious” hilariously recounts his life’s journey. It’s his first piece of written work that isn’t fiction.
While acting is his first love, Penn says he still has a special place in his heart for public service.
“Do I want to run for office? The answer is No,” he said. “Am I really inspired by the opportunity to continue to be helpful, the answer is a resounding yes.”
The “Designated Survivor” star cites city council workers in Los Angeles and in New York for his inspiration.
You can buy Penn’s book “You Can’t Be Serious” wherever books are sold, and the audiobook is also available for purchase now as well.