Seriously? OMG! WTF? » Will we see the current political climate on immigration on Kal Penn’s Sunnyside?
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[ # ] Will we see the current political climate on immigration on Kal Penn’s Sunnyside?
October 10th, 2019 under Kal Penn, NBC

Kal Penn has a new show on NBC Thursday nights at 9:30p and Sunnyside is about becoming a citizen in America. Five immigrants (Diana-Maria Riva, Joel Kim Booster, Poppy Liu, Moses Storm and Samba Schutte) from all over the World hire Penn to help them study for the citizenship test. Immigration is a very hot topic in America now.

When it comes to Penn, back in 2009 he actually took a job in the real White House in Washington, D.C. Which makes you wonder, will we see what is going on in America today on the sitcom? During the first episode, one of the characters was taken away by ICE and tonight they are going to try to get him out of the detention center. Which looks nothing like the ones we saw Mike Pence and Lindsey Graham raise their snotty little noses at when they went to visit the one in Texas.

Anyways, I am not going to talk about politics. Will Penn do that on his show? That was one of the questions I asked the actor recently at NBC’s Summer Press Tour Day at the TCAs.

Will the current political climate about immigration make its way on to Sunnyside?
Kal Penn:
Well I think neither. I think because the idea of this is five years old and really like the topic of immigration goes back to our country’s founding, even before our country’s founding. So, it’s not like we’re, you know we are definitely not a reaction to anything. Obviously, it is topical but the show’s inception and its creation and how it’s come together has never been a reaction to anything. And I think if I use that Harold & Kumar metric that’s so important to me is we just want to make everybody laugh. And comedy can be a vehicle for bringing people together and I think that’s so special and it’s why I think a lot of us hold dear about making audiences laugh. Of course we all have our own beliefs, as do our audience, but I think if we do it right we’ll be a show that everybody can enjoy.

What type of research did he do for the show?
Kal Penn:
So [Executive Producer] Matt [Murray]’s wife has worked in the immigration space before. We’ve certainly looked into how long does this process take? I think there was a question about what happens if and when all the characters get their citizenship? We’re like oh hopefully that’s a nine-year process for our story purposes, but in reality yeah it can take a really long time. There are hurdles to jump through, there are tests, there’s a lot of bureaucracy that kind of makes our experience at the DMV seem innocuous. So I think there’s a lot of flavor there based on the reality, but at the end of the day, you know, like the second episode is about Hakim, Samba’s character, and Diana and I thinking that he’s a hit man. So we do go off the rails purposely in a lot of ways that are just way more universal than where the characters came from.

Would Penn go back and work at the White House?
Kal Penn:
Well, I just have my literal dream happening in having a chance to create and sell a show to NBC a comedy at that. So I loved the two years plus that I had you know in the Obama White House, but I’m even more thrilled that I have to chance to make people laugh right now.

Laughing is what we do on Sunnyside and we need more people to watch it. Since it is a chilly Thursday night, what better thing could you be doing than watching Sunnyside? There is nothing better, so watch it. I promise it will put you in a good place for your Friday.


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