Kalpen Suresh Modi (born April 23, 1977), known professionally as Kal Penn, is an American actor, comedian, producer, and former civil servant. As an actor, he is known for his role portraying Lawrence Kutner on the television program House, as well as the character Kumar Patel in the Harold & Kumar film series. He is also recognized for his performance in the film The Namesake. Penn has taught at the University of Pennsylvania in the Cinema Studies Program as a visiting lecturer.
In April 2009, Penn joined the Obama administration as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. This necessitated that his TV character, Lawrence Kutner, be written out of House. Penn briefly left his post in June 2010 to film the third installment of the Harold & Kumar series, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, returning to his White House job upon the movie's completion. In July 2011, he again left the White House to accept a role in the television series How I Met Your Mother.