Kal Penn has hung up his hospital scrubs. His character died on "House" last week so that Penn can start a new job—in the White House. He'll work as associate director at the Office of Public Liaison, as the point person for the arts and Asian-American communities. He spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.
I bet you've had a crazy week.
I really wasn't expecting this to be something of interest, to be honest. I think it's just because that episode of "House" aired, and everyone wanted to know why I was killed off.
Do you think you'll ever return in a flashback?
No. I wish. But this isn't like "Lost," where anyone can come back.
Are you living in D.C.?
Yeah. I haven't even begun the process of trying to find an apartment.
You volunteered for Obama's campaign, right?
When we couldn't shoot on "House" for the writer's strike, I ended up moving to Iowa for about two months. I've always had an interest in public service. All the way back to college. I applied to seven schools for film and seven schools for public service, political science or sociology.
You applied to 14 colleges?
I applied to 15. I got wait-listed at Oberlin.
Did you not have good SAT scores?
I had good SAT scores. We joked that I had academic ADD. My guidance counselor gave me this test to tell you what majors you'd be good at, and it came back with no results, which was flattering and bothersome.
Did you interview for this job?
Yeah. We discussed it for a while. I wanted to make sure if I'm working there, I wouldn't be treated any differently.
Did Obama know your work?
Some things. I remember the first time I met him. He said, "You're on a TV show, aren't you? That hospital show."
Had he seen "Harold and Kumar"?
I don't think so. You'd have to ask him. Probably not.
Are you done acting?
No, I'm making a career shift for now. This is not a Joaquin Phoenix–style retirement. I will still come back to acting at some point, but obviously I won't be acting while I'm doing this.
On The Set Of 'Mean Girls 2'
Breaking up is hard to do, especially if you're a drama queen like Lindsay Lohan. First, she gets into a fight with her girlfriend, Samantha Ronson, at a hotel party. The two seemingly break up on Twitter (though Lindsay says someone hacked into her account). Then Lohan tells Us Weekly how miserable it is to be single: "I'm so alone … everyone's turned on me … Samantha told me she would never break my heart." Sad. But we're over Lindsay, too.
Time for a political pop quiz. The biggest shocker in Tyra Banks's interview with Levi Johnston, the ex-boyfriend/ baby daddy of Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol: (a) Palin knew her daughter was having sex; (b) The couple didn't always use protection; (c) Levi got Bristol's name tattooed on his finger. Answer: none. It's that Levi would still vote for Palin if she ran for president in 2012.