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You Can't Be Serious
You Can't Be Serious | Kal Penn
8 posts | 10 read | 26 to read
In this refreshingly candid memoir, Kal Penn recounts why he rejected the advice of his aunties and guidance counselors and, instead of becoming a doctor or something practical, embarked on a surprising journey that has included acting, writing, working as a farmhand, teaching Ivy League University courses, and smoking fake weed with a fake President of the United States, before serving the country and advising a real one. You Cant Be Serious is a series of funny, consequential, awkward, and ridiculous stories from Kals idiosyncratic life. Its about being the grandson of Gandhian freedom fighters, and the son of immigrant parents: people who came to this country with very little and went very farand whose vision of the American dream probably never included their son sliding off an oiled-up naked woman in a raunchy Ryan Reynolds movieor getting a phone call from Air Force One as Kal flew with the countrys first Black president. With intelligence, humor, and charm on every page, Kal reflects on the most exasperating and rewarding moments from his journey so far. He pulls back the curtain on the nuances of opportunity and racism in the entertainment industry and recounts how he built allies, found encouragement, and dealt with early reminders that he might never fit in. And of course, he reveals how, after a decade and a half of fighting for and enjoying successes in Hollywood, he made the terrifying but rewarding decision to take a sabbatical from a fulfilling acting career for an opportunity to serve his country as a White House aide. Above all, You Cant Be Serious shows that everyone can have more than one life story. Kal demonstrates by example that no matter who you are and where you come from, you have many more choices than those presented to you. Its a story about struggle, triumph, and learning how to keep your head up. And okay, yes, its also about how he accidentally (and very stupidly) accepted an invitation to take the entire White House Office of Public Engagement to a strip clubbecause, lets be honest, thats the kind of stuff you really want to hear about.
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Sapphire
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Pickpick

More thought provoking and inspiring than I expected. I bought this thinking I would be able to hear more about how designated survivor overlapped or was inspired by his real life White House experiences. But it was good and helped with some of my career fed in rough times dilemmas.

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JoyBlue
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Pickpick
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Hooked_on_books
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I love that Kal Penn asked to be written off a tv show so that he could go work in the White House. That‘s just cool. He talks about that here alongside breaking into acting and how difficult that was as a non-white person. He‘s funny and seems like a very normal, good guy. This was fun!

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CRR
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Pickpick

I happened upon an interview of Kal Penn and was intrigued about his recent book. I am not up to date on tv/movies so hadn‘t heard of him before. I‘ve never seen any Harold and Kumar movies! Despite these things I love the book and learning more about him. I especially appreciated the insight into racial challenges he had faced over his career. Also enjoyed hearing more about his time working with President Obama.

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rather_be_reading
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Book 257

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Jas16
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For some reason I did not plan on reading this book until I heard Kal Penn on Pod Save America. I am so glad I checked this audiobook because Kal talks about going against familial expectations to pursue his dreams of acting, Hollywood racism, and leaving a successful TV series to work for the Obama administration with the humor you would expect from him and with real candor.

Suet624 Thanks for the recommendation! 10mo
ChaoticMissAdventures I loved that interview! So interesting how he left tv for the wh. Glad to hear you liked the book also. 10mo
Jas16 @ChaoticMissAdventures I loved that interview too and it definitely left me wanting more! 10mo
Jas16 @Suet624 I hope you like it as much as I did. I will say that it gets better as it progresses. 10mo
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BookishTrish
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Many years ago I worked in a Library and possibly glued a photo of Kal Penn to my office cupboard. Legend has it, nobody has been able to remove it despite multiple attempts. I love Kal Penn; I loved this book. You should definitely read it - he‘s had a more interesting life than most.

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BookishTrish
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This book is the highlight of my week

BiblioLitten The premise sounds interesting…stacked! 12mo
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