He escaped angry New Jersey cops and Guantánamo Bay, but Kal Penn was no match for the nation's capital. Gossip site TMZ reports that the actor-turned-political operative was mugged last night walking home in Washington, D.C. A robber apparently took Penn's "wallet and other personal property" at gunpoint around 1:20 a.m. That's no laughing matter—although there is a certain irony in the fact that the costar of the marijuana-fixated Harold and Kumar films had his 4/20 marred by the incident. (Also, plenty of other wags are taking their best shots.)
Oddly, the mugging comes on the eve of Penn's departure from Washington. Putting his acting career on hiatus, Penn (who endorsed Barack Obama's presidential run early on) took a job at the White House as associate director of public engagement a year ago. Entertainment Weekly reported earlier this month, however, that Penn was leaving the administration and returning to Hollywood for a Christmas-themed addition to the Harold and Kumar franchise (this leaves Al Franken all alone as the Democratic funnyman—unless Austan Goolsbee counts). Perhaps the real lesson here is that it takes a rare actor to go to the White House and return unscathed.