Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vice President Kumar?!? When Keepin' It Cronie Goes Wrong.

Ya'll know I'm not the biggest fan of President Obama's Cabinet picks, but I've since come to terms with the fact that dude considers one AverageBro enough for 1600 Penn Ave. This latest move, however, puzzles me to no end.
We've had actors-turned-mayors, and actors-turned-governors. . . but actors-turned-White House staffers? That's a new one!

"House" star Kal Penn -- whose character was killed off on Monday's episode -- is taking a sabbatical from acting to work for President Obama. The 31-year-old actor, first launched to fame as a stoner student in the "Harold and Kumar" movies, is coming to Washington to be associate director in the White House Office of Public Liaison, Entertainment Weekly first reported yesterday.

Seriously? The former "cynical Independent" met Obama at a fundraiser in late 2007 and became a dedicated, high-profile presence in the campaign's youth-outreach efforts. He'll work primarily with the youth, arts and Asian-American communities, the White House told us.

The New Jersey native said he's always had two passions: Acting and politics. His Indian grandparents marched with Gandhi, and he's been studying international security at Stanford University. He spent at lot of time on the campaign trail and got an itch to continue working on the issues.

He mulled about it for months, then broached the idea to Obama during the inauguration. ("We discussed it briefly.") Also talked to presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, who runs the White House public liaison shop, and his agents, managers and accountants. "This is what I really want to do," he told them. "But am I crazy?"

Maybe: "Associate directors" at the White House job earn somewhere in the $60,000-$70,000 range per year; Penn wouldn't say exactly how much on "House,", but TV actors at his level make around $50,000 per episode. Producers of the Fox drama said they were "thrilled" for him when they found out he was leaving to work for Obama, then pulled off a major surprise by having his character, Dr. Lawrence Kutner, unexpectedly commit suicide.

Penn won't accept any acting jobs during his time in Washington, which he said would last "at least" a year or two. Not sure when he'll start the new job, but he's coming to D.C. next week to look for an apartment; he already has a lot of college friends and buddies in town. "While I haven't lived here before, I think I have a pretty good sense of what D.C.'s all about," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to being part of it." He still has to figure out what to do with his L.A. home. Sublet? Refinance? (Stars! Just like us!)

Penn didn't rule out a return to acting -- but no more "Harold and Kumar" sequels for now.
Considering how incredibly awful Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj was, Penn should probably work for free. That movie was so bad, Netflix wouldn't take it back.[1]

I don't wanna get picky here (yes I do), but what sorta bassackwards cronyism is this? Penn did his "serious and newly engaged young voter" role on a few cable talk shows last Fall, but I never saw him as much of an "unofficial advocate" for the campaign. Yet, for his grunt work, he gets a cushy job as "Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Liaison"? And he'll "work primarily with the youth, arts and Asian-American communities"? What the hell does that even mean?

Seriously, what's going on here? Where's Tatyana Ali's gig? Hill Harper? Kerry Washington? What about this guy? Where's his gig?

Jamaal Simmons just finished his 2nd shift at Sizzler, and he is not happy about this.

Question: Does this make any sense to you? Did you actually like Harold and Kumar?

"Kumar" Goes to the White House, Gets a Job. [WashPost]

[1] BlogLog, there's your punchline for tomorrow's edition. I'll bill you later.

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