Kal Penn Starts Work at the White House

The former actor says he's a pretty normal guy.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

So perhaps celebrities really are just like us. Actor Kal Penn started work at the White House today as an associate director in the Office of Public Engagement and is already downplaying his Hollywood star power. For starters, he's asking White House colleagues to call him Kalpen Modi, his real name, which friends and family use now. He's also renting, not buying, a place in Washington and taking the bus to work. "I'm a pretty normal guy if you remember," he says. And his first day has been pretty regular, too. "First-day prep is pretty similar for a lot of folks on the team here at the White House—there's a lot of paperwork, a lot of introductory meetings, getting your E-mail account set up, and getting situated and settled," he tells reporters. "But I'm very eager to dive in, so I'm happy we're starting out today."

Penn hasn't indicated when he might return to acting, and he says he won't use this position to springboard into politics, either. "I have no plans to run for office of any kind," he says.

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