YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE with Kal Penn
Athleisure Mag|September 2020
As we get closer to the election (national, state and local), we've all been thinking about the issues, what we want our next 4 years to be and who will get us to where we want to go. This month's cover is Kal Penn who we have enjoyed in House MD, Designated Survivor and of course the Harold and Kumar movies. Kal has always had an interest in civics and even took time from acting to serve during the Obama Administration as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

We were excited to hear about Kal Penn's new show that launches on Sept 22nd, National Voter Registration Day on one of our favorite networks - FreeForm. In Kal Penn Approves This Message, he talks about the issues in this non partisan show to get voters prepared and empowered to vote. We find out more about this show that he hosts and executive produces, how it ties into FreeForm's larger PSA focus and what he was surprised to learn.

ATHLEISURE MAG: We know that you’re the Co-Executive Producer and the host of Kal Penn Approves This Message. Before getting into the show itself, why did you want to create this 6 episode series?

KAL PENN: That’s a great question. Over the last few years, I’ve had different producers and folks reach out and say that they had this political show and they were looking for a host and what I thought of it. Those shows were fine, but they were a little more vitriolic and polarizing than I would have liked. It’s not really my thing and so when we had this window of time during this pandemic, my writing partner Robin and I were brainstorming and we thought about shows that we liked. I liked the Daily Show and I love CBS Sunday Morning – so what if we combine the two and had a show that was funny first and comedy morning. The monologue instead of talking about the 24 hour news cycle, what if we made the monologue about a particular issue? It’s funny, but it’s nonpartisan and it’s issue based. That way your field piece which is very funny, would be an extension of that which is around the issue and then your guest instead of someone who comes on to sell a book - and there is nothing wrong with that as I hope to be able to do that one day soon BUT for now, what if your guest was someone who was an expert in their field as opposed to someone who needed to sell the book or the movie which is the traditional guest bookings. In that case, your interview should end with some sort of call to action that people could take regardless of their political views if they care about a particular issue. Leading up to the election, it seemed like the best way to couch that for the miniseries leading up to the Nov election. If we’re lucky enough to get extended beyond that, then it would be on civics things broadly. So that’s kind of how it all came together.

AM: That’s very cool!

KP: Yeah, thank you.

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