That wasn’t it, sis.
Many years before Kal Penn publicly came out as gay and started dating his current partner, Josh, the Harold & Kumar legend asked a manager for dating advice as a gay actor in Hollywood.
During an interview on Kelly Ripa’s podcast Let’s Talk Off Camera, Penn recalled asking his manager how “actors meet nice people to date,” raising questions like, “How do you know that somebody that you’re dating wants to date you for you?” and “What are the ground rules here, and is it any different?”
The manager chose to set up a lunch between Penn and a Hollywood producer so they could discuss the dating scene for gay actors. According to Penn, that producer told him:
“He goes, ‘Yeah, I mean, I’m just gonna email you a list just of some guys and their photos. And, you know, they’re not that expensive, and they’re never going to say anything.’”
Though the American Horror Story: NYC star was initially excited about the dating tips he’d be getting during this lunch, he quickly realized that what the producer was offering him was a list of escorts that he could hire.
The actor told Ripa, “I was like, ‘Sorry, I think you don’t understand. No disrespect to sex workers, but that’s not what I'm looking for. My question to you is: how do I meet a nice guy, go on a couple of dates?’ And he goes, ‘I don’t know anything about all that.’”
As the story goes, Penn subsequently asked the producer not to email him this list of men who were available for services. In hindsight, though, both Penn and Ripa are now curious to have looked at the sexy guys that he was going to be offered at the time.
Penn publicly came out as gay in his 2021 memoir You Can’t Be Serious. The actor has been in a relationship with Josh since 2010, and the couple is currently engaged. Though this lunch with a producer didn’t lead to anything, it’s still a hilarious story of total miscommunication that Penn got to experience.