Kal Penn's Fiancé Almost Didn't Get a Third Date

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday November 6, 2021
Originally published on November 3, 2021

The man who's now Kal Penn's fiancé might not have gotten another chance after a lackluster second date, the "Harold and Kumar" actor revealed in a not-yet-published interview, Entertainment Tonight reported.

Luckily, things progressed to a "really great conversation," but at first it wasn't looking hopeful.

"Our second date was supposed to be just come over for Sunday afternoon," Penn told Newsy Tonight. "He rolls up with an 18-pack of Coors Light. And I had 'Spongebob Squarepants' on the TV because I'm a romantic."

But Spongebob quickly exited the scene: "He changes the channel, puts on the NASCAR race and then puts the rest of the beers in the fridge.

"And I was like, 'Did this just happen unironically?'," Penn recalled. "This guy from Mississippi rolls into my apartment and touches my TV and puts on NASCAR."

"So I immediately was like, 'This obviously isn't going to work out. He brought 18 beers, there are going to be 16 left that he can take with him'," Penn said.

That was 11 years ago, and things have changed a bit since then. For one thing, the two got engaged two years ago; for another, Penn publicly came out of the closet recently while doing a promotional appearance on CBS Sunday Morning for his memoir, titled "You Can't Be Serious."

Penn and his fiancé, Josh, initially met at a Washington, D.C. bar, while Penn was working at the Obama White House.

"I know that it seems like it's new," Penn tells Newsy in the upcoming interview, ET detailed. "But he's a really quiet guy, similar to my parents," Penn added about his fiancé. "So part of the reason I didn't share early on is out of respect for Josh."

On CBS Sunday Morning, Penn joked that being gay wasn't the biggest shock for his family. "When you're the son of Indian immigrants who says that you want to be an actor, the chaos that that creates in your family and your community will trump anything else always!" the 44-year-old "Clarice" star, whose birth name is Kalpen Suresh Modi, told host Luke Burbank.

In the Newsy Tonight interview, Penn addresses the timing of his new memoir in a more serious way, ET noted, saying that the "book is for the 20-year-old me, the kid who never really had a guidebook on how do you become an actor as a man of color."

"And then the crazy things that I think, whether you're 20 or not, that many of us feel, especially coming out of a pandemic: Am I satisfied with my job? What's the crazy thing that I want to do with my life that everyone's telling me I shouldn't do?"

The Newsy Tonight interview will air on Nov. 5, ET noted.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.