Photo: Kal Penn (Designated Survivor/ABC)

Kal Penn may have had his breakout role in the stereotype-busting Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, but like many actors of color, his early years were spent going out for every stereotypical role under the sun. Penn took to Twitter to share some of his early audition sides and scripts, and a pattern quickly began to emerge:

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Much as in the “Indians On TV” episode of Master Of None, Penn’s early auditions were often for characters with heavy accents:

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Or the scripts had other stereotypical and hackneyed jokes:

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And it wasn’t just auditions that were the problem. One of Penn’s earliest roles was as a character called Prajeeb in a 2000 episode of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, which he had this to say about:

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Penn’s thread emphasizes the fact that while any one of these roles is troubling in its own right, it’s the sheer collective weight of all them that becomes really grueling. Penn does try find a silver lining, however, praising the writers on shows like The Steve Harvey Show, Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Penn’s first role in an episodic TV show was in “Beer Bad”), Angel, and 24 who “didn’t have to use external things to mask subpar writing.”

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And he ends the thread with a quick plug for his current (non-stereotypical) role as White House Press Secretary Seth Wright on ABC’s Designated Survivor.

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