After reluctantly ditching his political gig to film A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, Kal Penn is back as associate director in the Office of Public Engagement this week. Why would the White House reopen the door for someone who's set to entertain American audiences next year with "another loosely glued-together batch of dick and weed jokes"? For one, he appeals to some of their key demographics. The announcement, which is careful to use his real name, Kalpen Modi, says, "He will be the point person for those in the Arts, Youth, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities." (Read: gays, teens, and Indians.) Can't let the Bobby Jindals and Nikki Haleys of the political world get all the identity-politics votes. And, lest we forget, Penn himself is another part of that dwindling Democratic stronghold: people who still support the party. But it's not as though Penn's political drive ever left him. Even while filming scenes with waffle-making robots and drug-addled babies, he promoted the repeal of DADT and visited U.S. troops in Hawaii and South Korea. Such a good boy, that Kalpen.
Kalpen Modi Returns To White House Job [Note/ABC]