The actor-screenwriter-organizer will release his first book in November, 2021.

By Seija Rankin
March 02, 2021 at 06:00 AM EST
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Kal Penn has been a movie star, a farmhand, a showrunner, and a member of a presidential administration. This November, he'll add author to his resumé.

You Can't Be Serious will be part memoir, part essay collection, following all the different forms his life has taken on — and EW has all the exclusive details.

Penn will write about his childhood in north-central New Jersey, where he was one of only two brown children in his school and was on the receiving end of family pressure to become a doctor or engineer. He'll cover his move to Hollywood and the constant racial microaggressions that came with it (compliments on his English, questions about whether he owns a turban). Penn got his big break with roles in Harold and Kumar and on House, and also co-created the sitcom Sunnyside — readers can expect stories from all of those projects.

You Can't Be Serious by Kal Penn
Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Penn is also unique in Hollywood for his hiatus. In 2009, he moved to Washington, D.C. to work for then-President Barack Obama. He served as Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement and later on the President's Committee on the Arts & Sciences, a career move that began when he attended an Obama campaign event with House costar Olivia Wilde and found himself so inspired that he joined the campaign himself. You Can't Be Serious will touch on his time in the White House, all under the guise of reminding readers that your life doesn't have to have just one path.

"I've had some ridiculous experiences so far in life," Penn said in a statement. "From a summer job working as a New Jersey farmhand (which by the way I highly recommend because it gives you incredible abs) to starring in big movies and television shows, to serving my country in the White House. This book is for anyone who has ever wondered if it's possible to have more than one calling."

You Can't Be Serious will be published by Gallery Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, on November 2, 2021.

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