‘Kal Penn Approves This Message’ – The theater of politics


Kal Penn goes local and national

Kal Penn of ‘Kal Penn Approves This Message‘ Tuesday on Freeform

Q: How much do politicians have to be actors and how much do actors have to be politicians?

A: … Obviously when you turn on traditional news, but also when you’re scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, it just seems like everything’s vitriolic and you’re not really sure who to trust and how to trust people. I would imagine there’s a fair amount of performance in everything that many of us do, whether we’re in front of the camera, behind the camera, whether you’re in public service. My college friends call this the professional voice. So, if you hit up your college buddy and they’re at work, there’s suddenly a different demeanor when they pick up the phone. So, I guess everybody has their professional voice.

It was one of the things we wanted to do when we cut through some of the noise out there, that how do you actually talk to younger audiences who have not yet felt the need to hide behind their version of a professional voice? You can have much more honest, open conversations. So, I think that those experiences of just seeing how different people speak and interact is something that we wanted to set aside in moving forward.

Q: You focused on some local propositions. How do you decide which of those to include in an episode?

A: One of the reasons that we are focusing on all of these other races is, look, this is not just an election to see which old gentleman will lead the country for the next four years … it’s a lot of ballot initiatives, local races. A lot of times those races are decided by just a handful of votes, and a lot of times those are also far less polarizing.

So just in terms of the laying the land of civics, which is one of the things we really wanted to do in the show, we thought it really made sense to make sure that we’re really explaining how your vote matters and, when you’re researching your ballot before you go to vote, look at things like police reform, climate change, taxes, health care. No matter where you are on the spectrum of what you believe, so much of that stuff is decided at the local and state level.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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