Few transitions are as rife with confusion as the shift from comedic actor to comedic-actor-who-sometimes-does-serious-roles: one minute you're a goofy pet detective comically wedging asparagus spears in your mouth, the next minute you're peeing in a corner on set because it's something that your dark, number-23-obsessed character might do. For Kumar, excuse me, Kal Penn, the shift from riffing on pussy with Neil Patrick Harris to starring in film adaptations of novels by Jhumpa Lahiri is just beginning, but it's already showing signs of rockiness. If Penn's blog for The Namesake is any indication, he seems to be having trouble reconciling his comic, White Castle side with his serious, Namesake side. Take, for example, this video called "The KKK Reviews The Namesake,"–a video clearly created by Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle 2 star Kal Penn as a jokey, tongue-in-cheek promo for The Namesake. But then there's this long, boring explanation of the joke promo that was clearly written by The Namesake star Kal Penn:
The video was shot on the set of a film i'm currently working on (Harold and Kumar 2), during some downtime. When I see KKK guys in their outfits, they make me think of clowns. Cowards. People who hide their faces, knowing the shame (not to mention moral and legal remorse) they should feel for their actions. The reality of the KKK and it's part in the brutal suppression of non-white, non-heteronormative, non-Christian Americans is that the organization and its members murdered, tortured, and terrorized innocent people. One of the objectives of their actions was to violate the human rights of people of color.
So in deciding to shoot a short video with actors dressed as KKK members discussing a film featuring predominantly characters and performers of color, the entire existence of the Klan is being ridiculed and disempowered. This is done specifically without using any racial, ethnic, or gender-based indicators. It purposely subverts racism and violence rather than expanding upon or embracing it. For more on some of my personal heroes, I urge you to read essays by Gandhi, King, Assata, and Malcolm X on issues pertaining to structures of power, race, and violence. Of course, the basis of the MLK nonviolent civil rights movement is Gandhian in nature, and I think that ties in to the very universal themes of the film in many ways (not overtly, but with regard to the progressive Bengali political sphere).
Geez, The Namesake star Kal Penn. Way to harsh Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle 2 star Kal Penn's mellow. (Also, explaining a joke doesn't make it funny.) With this kind of internal strife, peeing on the floor to stay in character can't be too far behind.