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Kal Penn’s Upcoming Memoir is a Story About Struggle, Triumph, and Learning How to Keep Your Head Up

Kal Penn’s Upcoming Memoir is a Story About Struggle, Triumph, and Learning How to Keep Your Head Up

  • Titled “You Can’t Be Serious,” the actor’s humorous and inspiring memoir-in-essays will release on Nov. 2.

Kal Penn says his upcoming memoir is “for anyone who has ever wondered if it’s possible to have more than one calling.” Titled “You Can’t Be Serious,” Penn’s memoir, which comes out on Nov. 2, is “a humorous and inspiring memoir-in-essays about ambition, fame, and his unusual career path,” from actor, college instructor, and former White House staffer, as per publishing company Simon & Schuster. “Kal demonstrates by example that no matter who you are and where you come from, you have many more choices than those presented to you,” the publisher says. “It’s a story about struggle, triumph, and learning how to keep your head up.”

Along with telling his life’s journey so far, Simon & Schuster says Penn “pulls back the curtain on the nuances of opportunity and racism in the entertainment industry and recounts how he built allies, found encouragement, and dealt with early reminders that he might never fit in.” And he reveals how, “after a decade and a half of fighting for and enjoying successes in Hollywood, he made the terrifying but rewarding decision to take a sabbatical from a fulfilling acting career for an opportunity to serve his country as a White House aide.”

Axios says Penn, represented for the book by Robert Barnett, had been “a stoner in the “Harold and Kumar” films and a sports medicine doctor on the hit TV show “House” when his cast-mate Olivia Wilde invited him to be her +1 at a campaign event for then-Sen. Barack Obama.” The New Jersey native has worked as an associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, where he was President Obama’s Liaison to Young Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the Arts communities in America.

Penn has also served as an Adjunct Lecturer in Sociology and Film Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and in Sociology and Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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He has played leading roles in some of the most-watched television shows, including “How I Met Your Mother,” “24,” “Designated Survivor,” “House,” among others. He currently stars in the CBS series “Clarice,” a sequel to “Silence of the Lambs,” and the Disney Junior animated series “Mira, Royal Detective.” He was also the co-creator and star of the NBC/Universal comedy “Sunnyside,” and host, co-creator, and executive producer of a six-episode series in October 2020 for Disney’s Freeform Channel called “Kal Penn Approves This Message,” aimed at entertaining and informing young voters. 

On the big screen, Penn has starred in movies that have collectively grossed more than a billion dollars, including the Harold and Kumar franchise, “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” “Superman Returns,” “The Namesake,” among others.

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