He stars as a press secretary on the political drama Designated Survivor

By Emily Strohm
Updated December 09, 2016 09:03 AM
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Credit: Noam Galai/Getty

After serving two stints with the Obama administration, Kal Penn knows his way around the White House. But the one thing that caught him by surprise when he first started his job? The no late-night delivery policy.

“You either bring your dinner or there’s vending machines in the basement for snacks,” the Designated Survivor star says in the latest issue of PEOPLE.

“You can’t order Chinese food at 1 a.m. in the morning. It’s a security issue. So there’s no delivery,” he adds.

  • For more on Penn’s story pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands now

Penn worked in the public engagement office for more than two years, (he still serves on the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities) and stars as a press secretary on the political drama.

“I like to joke that now that I’m in the fake White House, I’m making more money pretending to serve the American people than when I was actually serving the country,” he says.

With all that experience in Washington, Penn hopes he’ll get another shot at working with a future president.

“It was fun having the opportunity to serve Obama in the White House, and I was really honored to do so,” he says, and adds, “It was an incredible experience. I’d love to go back at some point.”