Kal Penn
Kal Penn
as Self

Host Biography

Actor/writer/producer Kal Penn is the host, co-creator and executive producer of Freeform's "Kal Penn Approves This Message," a smart, irreverent, election-themed series (premiering Sept. 22—a.k.a National Voter Registration Day) that explores timely issues of importance to millennial and Gen Z voters. Each episode of the non-partisan program, which will air the next day on Hulu, will feature comedic field pieces and one-on-one interviews and will arm young and first-time voters with the tools they need to make an impact and vote..

Most recently, Penn co-created and starred in the NBC/Hulu comedy "Sunnyside" (2019-2020). Penn played Garrett Modi, a disgraced New York City Councilman who sets out to rebuild his life and ends up befriending a group of immigrants navigating the citizenship process. The patriotic, groundbreaking series was especially praised for its diverse cast and writing team, mostly consisting of families of immigrant Americans themselves.

Penn previously appeared on the acclaimed ABC/Netflix drama "Designated Survivor," co-starring opposite Kiefer Sutherland. Penn is known for his starring roles in "House," "How I Met Your Mother" and, of course, the "Harold and Kumar" franchise. He has appeared in a number of independent films, including "Sisterhood of Night," "Outliving Emily" and Mira Nair's "The Namesake," for which The New York Times called his lead role a "crackling, star-making performance."

From 2009 to 2011, Penn took a sabbatical from acting and served as an associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, where he focused primarily on outreach to three groups on behalf of the president, Young Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Communities, and the Arts. He has also taught courses at the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA.

Penn is represented by Industry Entertainment and UTA. He also stars in the upcoming "Silence of the Lambs" drama series, "Clarice," on CBS..