Kal Penn (born Kalpen Suresh Modi; April 23, 1977) is an American actor, producer, and civil servant of Indian origin.As an actor, he is known for his role portraying Dr. 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 critically acclaimed film, The Namesake. Additionally, Penn has taught at the University of Pennsylvania in the Cinema Studies Program as a visiting lecturer.On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Penn would join 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 resigned his post as Barack Obama's Associate Director of Public Engagement on June 1, 2010, for a brief return to his acting career. He filmed the third installment of the Harold & Kumar series, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and subsequently returned to the White House Office of Public Engagement as an Associate Director. In July 2011, he again left the White House to accept a role in the hit television series How I Met Your Mother.