The History of Actors Turned Politicians

Kal Penn

Notable Roles: Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), The Namesake (2006), How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2011-2012)
Political position: Associate Director of the Office of Engagement (2009-present)

Many presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, have been known to either grow or smoke a little weed at one time or another. So when Kal Penn—one half of Harold and Kumar's stoner movie duo—made his first steps into civil service in 2009, no one really stood opposed because the political pot precedent had already been established decades prior. Penn never ran for office or took part in election, but hes still part of the political machine as the Associate Director of the Office of Engagement for the Obama administration.

What does the position mean, exactly? Basically, Penn reaches out to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to ensure that their voices are being heard. He also has the same job for the arts community as well. On top of that, Penn served as a co-chair on the 2012 Obama re-election campaign, where he helped rally the young vote.

The job forced him to drop out of the TV show House and put his other projects on hold while he fulfilled the duties of his White House gig. We wouldn’t be surprised if Penn attempts to reach a higher position in government after Obama’s second term is up.

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