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Kal Penn On Going From ‘Harold And Kumar’ To The White House

Kal Penn says he never expected to leave acting and go into public service. But he's glad he did.

George asks him about what motivated him to make the leap from being a Hollywood star to working with the President.

And then George asks for Kal's take on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and Kal tells a great story about meeting some soldiers in Seoul, Korea.

In this clip, Kal talks about...

What he gets out of public service
"The reason that I took a break and wanted to go work for the President was, you know I had a lot of friends who were overseas in Iraq, I had buddies who couldn't afford college, friends who didn't have access to healthcare - all that stuff.

And you kind of think, as actors, you get to participate in a fundraiser for an organization or kind of really chip away a little bit at all these issues. But then, when I started volunteering for the President years ago and that kind of segued into having a chance to work there, you can't say no to doing it full time."

Meeting some soldiers at a gay bar
"I was doing a USO tour, going to visit troops in different places, and I was in Seoul, South Korea... We end up at a bunch of ex-pat bars, and one of them happens to be a gay bar. And we're going up to the bar to order drinks, and there are like eight guys with crew cuts singing an army song.

And we start talking to them, and we're like, "just out of curiosity, you guys are all just able to come out to a gay bar?" And they're like, "well, one of our buddies is gay, the other seven of us aren't, so when we have a night off, we go to gay bars and straight bars and everything in between, just so everyone has something."

And I thought, this is so different. A younger generation of service members is so much different than the older folks who are kind of setting the rules, and 10 years from now, to answer your question, it's just going to be so much more progressive than it is now or a couple of years ago."


THE BIO: Kal Penn