Out Actor Kal Penn to Star in Gay Sitcom about Coming Out

Monday November 22, 2021

Kal Penn
Kal Penn  (Source:Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Kal Penn has signed to star in a sitcom pilot for FX about a man coming out in midlife, Decider reported.

"Belated" will "be written, directed and executive produced by 'Rescue Me' and 'The Job' co-creator Peter Tolan," Decider noted.

Deadline broke the news, summarizing the half-hour show, which "follows Owen (Penn), a recently out man in his 40s, and his ex-wife Diana as they attempt to find their new normal and take on new relationships while continuing to co-parent together. The project also follows an unexpected intergenerational friendship between Owen and Clay, a 17-year-old trans teen."

The article offered more detail, relating that Penn's character "seemed to have life all figured out: He had a great wife and family, a home in a quaint, upscale Connecticut town, and a distinguished job as the head of pediatrics at a top New York City hospital. But a hookup with another man makes Owen reevaluate his sexual orientation and belatedly realize that he is gay."

Deadline went on to note that the pilot "has personal significance for both Tolan, who came out as gay later in life, and Penn, 44, who came out a couple of weeks ago, announcing his engagement to his partner of 11 years in his memoir 'You Can't Be Serious,' published on November 2."

As previously reported at EDGE, Penn not only came out, but also announced plans to marry his longtime boyfriend. Sharing the story of how he and his fiancé, Josh, first got together, Penn recalled that things weren't looking great early in their relationship.

"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."

That was 11 years ago; needless to say, things have changed a bit since then.

The "Harold and Kumar" actor is also "executive producing and starring in Comedy Central's upcoming holiday film 'Hot Mess Holiday,' headlined by Surina Jindal and Melanie Chandra, the first Diwali holiday movie," Deadline noted.