Kal Penn may be playing a speechwriter for the President of the United States on Designated Survivor, but the actor hasn’t always had such rounded out roles – especially in his early career. In a series of tweets, Penn recalled when he was starting out as an actor and many of the parts he would audition for were blatantly stereotypical.
“Found a bunch of old scripts from some of my first years trying to be an actor,” he tweeted along with a photo that had roles described as Gandhi Lookalike, Snake Charmers, and Fire Eaters.
Penn continued by sharing a slew of scripts, “Jeez I remember this one! They were awful. ‘Can you make his accent a little more AUTHENTIC?’ That usually meant they wanted Apu,” he explained. He even remembered the time he was going to audition for King of Queens, a show he “used to love” until he got sent a script where they had him repeating the Indian name Sanjib because Jerry Stiller’s character Arthur didn’t know how to pronounce it.
He also recalled the unpleasant experience he had when he auditioned for Sabrina the Teenage Witch, “Man. We got INTO it about why he had to have an accent. I’m laughing about it now but they were such dicks,” Penn wrote.
But not all were offensive. Penn thanked the writers behind series like The Steve Harvey Show, Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the “creative people who didn’t have to use external things to mask subpar writing.” He also pointed out House and its creator David Shore, saying, “Also when you cast things like @shorz, largely color & gender blind, it’s more interesting & ratings can look like this. Which is awesome!”
Check out more of his tweets below: