Dr. Lawrence Kutner
played by Kal Penn
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio

Dr. Lawrence Kutner was #6 on his application for the fellowship. He was initially fired, but he turned his number card upside down, turning it into a #9 and proposed the idea of stress testing a patient's liver by alcohol intoxication. This amused House and allowed Kutner to stay.

Out of all the new fellows, Kutner takes the most risks and partakes willingly in House's antics, including grave-digging and breaking into patient's houses. He is also the most enthusiastic.

Dr. Kutner is jokingly titled by House the "Chief Defibrillist", because of his quick use of the defibrillator to save two patients. In both situations Kutner either set the patient on fire or shocked himself. His recklessness because of this is a reason why Cuddy disapproves of him; so she had arranged with Cole, another "contestant" to force House to fire Kutner. However, this backfired on Cole and Kutner was successfully hired by House to be a member of the new team.

Born first generation Indian-American in New Jersey-his parents emigrated with little money-Kal Penn yearned to perform since he was a kid. Though his parents hoped it was a passing phase and he would eventually become a doctor or lawyer, he continued to pursue his dream, attending the Freehold Regional High School for Performing Arts in Englishtown. His interest held when joined the theater program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Penn's big break was "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," a teen comedy with plenty of sex and gross-out jokes, but also possessing three-dimensional main characters who long for more than just tiny burgers after a few bong tokes. Penn and his co-star John Cho ("Better Luck Tomorrow") played Ivy League-educated roommates who, after indulging in some Cannabis sativa, suddenly crave White Castle hamburgers. The quest for the mythical sandwiches becomes a wild journey of self-discovery, as the two underdogs learn more in one night than they ever did in college. Though perfect for the part, Penn had to earn his spot despite meeting the screenwriters at a party. Producers scoured the country and beyond for the right Harold and Kumar in an extensive audition process. After several auditions over the course of three months, Penn got the part and was thrilled to finally play a character devoid of the stereotypical trappings that plagued earlier roles. The film ultimately garnered a widespread cult fan base.

The exposure from "Harold and Kumar" allowed Penn to play more diverse roles in larger projects. He appeared in an episode of "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001- ) and was cast in a few Hollywood blockbusters, including the decade-late sequel, "Son of the Mask" (2005), with Jamie Kennedy, and the lame romantic comedy "A Lot Like Love" (2005), both of which failed to spark a modicum of interest with critics and audiences. Meanwhile, Penn was cast to appear in the road comedy "Vegas Baby" (lensed 2005) and Lex Luthor's genius lackey Stanford in the long-awaited cinematic return of the Man of Steel, "Superman Returns" (2006). Meanwhile, Penn was set to star in the sequel "Van Wilder Deux: The Rise of Taj" (2006), reviving his character to take center stage, as Taj goes to Oxford University to study and show the uptight student body how to have a good time. For his next feature, "The Namesake" (2006), Penn went a different direction into drama, playing the son of Indian immigrants whose search for his own unique identity might cause him to lose touch with his heritage.