Kalpen Modi Returns To White House Job After Leaving To Film ‘Harold & Kumar’ Sequel

Nov 15, 2010 5:59pm

ABC's Michael Falcone reports:

After a brief hiatus to film a sequel to the popular "Harold & Kumar" movie, the actor, Kalpen Modi (also known as Kal Penn), has returned to a job in the White House.

"The White House is pleased to have Kalpen Modi join the Office of Public Engagement as an Associate Director," White House spokesman Shin Inouye said in a statement on Monday. "While OPE works collectively on conducting outreach to the American public and various organizations, he will be the point person for those in the Arts, Youth, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities."

Monday was his first day of work.

Modi, who may be best known for his role as "Kumar" on the big screen left a similar job in the Office of Public Engagement over the summer. He originally joined the Obama White House in July 2009 as a liaison to the Asian American and arts communities.

Modi hinted that he was returning to the political arena with appearances on behalf of Democrats and President Obama at rallies across the country in the closing weeks of the 2010 election cycle. In October, both Modi and the president stumped for California Sen. Barbara Boxer at an event at the University of Southern California. He spent a day with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid touring college campuses around Nevada to energize young voters and appeared at other events in Florida and Illinois.

Modi, who played a starring role in the film, "The Namesake" and was also a regular on the television medical drama, "House," spent months campaigning for Obama in 2008, focusing his efforts on turning out the the youth vote. His character was written off "House" in order for him to take the job in Washington in 2009.

The actor turned political aide quit his White House job to fulfill a prior commitment to film a third "Harold & Kumar" movie — "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas" – scheduled for release in 2011.

During his previous stint in the Obama administration, Modi took part in a variety of educational and cultural programs and wrote several posts on the White House's official blog. While he was filming this summer, Modi worked in his personal capacity to promote the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the passage of the DREAM Act. He also met with artists, arts businesses and youth entrepreneurs in the Detroit area where the "Harold & Kumar" movie was shot. He also visited U.S. troops in Hawaii, South Korea and the Korean Demilitarized Zone on a USO tour in August.

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