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Video/Q&A: John Cho, Kal Penn of 'A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas'

October 31, 2011|By Matt Pais | RedEye movie critic

What’s something that you have bought late-night, under the influence or not, that is a WaffleBot-like purchase?
JC: Oh, a WaffleBot-like purchase.
KP: You know—
JC: “Not this, but what have you bought that’s like a robot that makes waffles?” [Laughs.]
KP: I’m going to go ahead and say, I once bought—I love to cook—and I once bought a Slap Chop thing at like two in the morning online. And it didn’t work! It came broken! [To our video camera:] If you guys are watching this, the Slap Chop people, it’s a complete fraud. I was very upset about this ‘cause I was so looking forward to it working and making quick salads and stir fry. [Gives thumbs down and makes fart noise with his mouth.]

Now you’re wasting your life making salad and stir fry the slow way.
KP: The slow way. It takes like a good 20 minutes. Instead of 8. According to the fake commercial.

Now that you’ve both been on “How I Met Your Mother,” which of your characters is more likely to be the mother?
KP: [Whispers.] I’m the mother. I’m the mother. Kevin is the mother.

How will viewers feel about that?
KP: They’ll enjoy it. It turns out that—
JC: They will be stunned.
KP: There’s a flashback and you learn that Robin was dating a woman named Kevina, and that she's the mother.
JC: [Laughs.] Kevina?
KP: I should have gone with Kevita, that would have been funnier. But I went with Kevina instead.
JC: That’s why the bit fell flat.
KP: The joke's not funny. The bit was awful.
JC: It was awkward.
KP: Well, only because you keep insisting and dwelling on it—
JC: It’s embarrassing.
KP: Like you’re doing right now.
JC: You are pulling the franchise into the proverbial mud.
KP: I don’t think so. It was a question about “How I Met Your Mother.”
JC: It’s not literal mud. It’s like a metaphor for—
KP: He understands.
JC: Do you know what I mean?
KP: He gets it, dude.
JC: It’s not actual mud.
KP: He understands that you’re not talking about—
JC: So I’m not pulling a copy of the film—
KP: We’re wasting his time!
JC: —into wet dirt.

I think I follow you.
KP: [Laughs.]

When you made “White Castle,” what were the chances it would become a trilogy?
KP: Very low. So when we signed on to do the movie in 2003, it was a three-picture option, which means the studio has an opportunity to do [it] if they want to. But the first one tanked at the box office, which everyone seems to forget ... Fans should really be credited with—they’re the ones that went out and bought the DVD, gave it to each other, that gave us a chance to do a second movie. That did well enough to garner a third. And it was actually more of a feel-good thing that these two guys were underdogs. The audience identified with that—
JC: Not literal dogs …
KP: He understands!

So the dogs are underground for some reason?
[Both laugh.]
JC: We’re people! Do you know what I mean? We’re clearly homo sapiens.

So what’s left to do in the fourth one?
KP: I’m going to be consistent with my answer on this one. I have always wanted to play an astronaut. I really want them to go to outer space. To the moon, ideally.

Because movies like “Leprechaun in Space” and “Muppets from Space” were so successful.
KP: The “Leprechaun”—
JC: How dare you. [Glares at Matt.]
KP: Any Muppet movie, my God, I would love to—
JC: How dare you.
KP: Hey.
JC: I’m incensed right now.
KP: Hey.
JC: I’m fuming. But not literally. Fuming means like being angry. It doesn’t mean that I’m on fire. Like literal fire and I’m smoldering from the embers of my burning hair.
KP: You should teach a class in colloquial English to new Americans.

Plus:
On Chicago: “I wish we had more time when we come to cities to have fun. I have cousins who live here so it’d be good to hang out … There’s good pizza, there’s good random bars. I don’t have a go-to.” (KP)
On President Obama’s reelection chances: “I think we’ll see how it plays out. I’m particularly proud of what the President’s done for young Americans, bringing our buddies home from Iraq, and increasing financial aid, and I hope folks give him credit for that.” (KP)
What Cho wants for the next installments of the “Star Trek” and “American Pie” franchises: “Uh, millions of dollars. And then more millions. And finish it up with some more millions.”

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7:30 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com. @mattpais

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