Penn & Teller


Penn & Teller

Penn & Teller (Penn Fraser Jillette and Teller) are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard throughout their performance. They specialize in gory tricks, exposing quacks and frauds, performing clever pranks, and have become associated with Las Vegas, atheism, scientific skepticism, and libertarianism. [ [http://www.pennandteller.com/03/coolstuff/bio.html Penn & Teller Bio] ]

Careers

Penn and Teller were introduced to one another by Weir Chrisimer. From the late 1970s through 1981, the three made up an act called "Asparagus Valley Cultural Society" which played in San Francisco at the Phoenix Theater. This act was sillier and less "edgy" than today's Penn & Teller act. Chrisimer helped to develop some bits that continued on to be performed by Penn & Teller; most notably Teller's "Shadow-Flower" trick.

By 1985, Penn & Teller were receiving rave reviews for their Off Broadway show and Emmy award-winning PBS special, "Penn & Teller Go Public".Fact|date=April 2007 In 1987, they began the first of two successful Broadway runs. Through the late 1980s and early 1990s, the duo made numerous television appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman" and "Saturday Night Live", as well as "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", "The Today Show", and many others.

Penn & Teller had national tours throughout the 1990s, gaining critical praise.Fact|date=April 2007 They have also made television guest appearances on "Babylon 5" [ [http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/countries/us/guide/096.html Penn & Teller on Babylon 5] ] (as the comedy team "Rebo and Zooty"), "The Drew Carey Show", "Hollywood Squares", "Muppets Tonight", "The Bernie Mac Show", "Fear Factor", "The West Wing", "Home Improvement", "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch", and "The Simpsons". They also appeared as Three-card Monte scam artists in the music video for "It's Tricky" by Run-DMC in 1987.

Their Showtime Network television show "Bullshit!" takes a skeptical look at psychics, religion, the pseudoscientific, conspiracy theories, and the paranormal. It has also featured critical segments on gun control, astrology, Feng Shui, environmental issues, PETA, weight loss, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the war on drugs.

While their social and political views are libertarian, the pair also describe themselves as teetotalers. Their book, "Penn & Teller's How to Play in Traffic", explains that they eschew absolutely all alcohol and drugs, including caffeine, though they do appear to smoke cigarettes in some videos. Penn has said that he has never even tasted alcohol, and that his tolerance is so low that his doctor only had to administer a minute amount of anesthetic relative to what one would expect necessary for a man of his size to undergo surgery.

The pair have written several books about magic, including "Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks For Dear Friends", "Penn & Teller's How to Play with Your Food", and "Penn & Teller's How to Play in Traffic". Since 2001, Penn & Teller have performed six nights a week (or as Penn puts it on "Bullshit!": "Every night of the week . . . except Fridays!") in Las Vegas at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino.

Penn Jillette hosted a weekday one-hour talk show on Infinity Broadcasting's Free FM radio network from January 3, 2006 to March 2, 2007 with cohost Michael Goudeau. [ [http://www.infinitybroadcasting.com/releases/view_release.php?date=/051025 Infinity Broadcasting article on Penn] ] [ [http://www.pennandteller.com/03/news.html Penn & Teller website] ] He also hosted the game show "Identity", which debuted on December 18, 2006 on NBC.

Penn & Teller have also shown support for the Brights movement and are now listed on the movement's homepage under the Enthusiastic Brights section. [ [http://the-brights.net/people/enthusiastic/index2.html The Brights' Net: Enthusiastic Brights] ] According to an article in Wired magazine, their license plates are customized so they read, "Atheist" and "Godless", and when Penn signs autographs, he often writes down, "there is no God" with his signature.

Tricks

Their tricks include Teller hanging upside-down over a bed of spikes in a straitjacket, Teller drowning in a huge container of water, Teller being run over by an 18-wheel tractor-trailer, Teller swinging over bear-traps on a trapeze, and knives going through Penn's hands. Many of their effects rely heavily on shock appeal and violence, although presented in a humorous manner.

Sometimes, the pair will claim to reveal a secret of how a magic trick is done, but those tricks are usually invented by the duo for the sole purpose of exposing them, and therefore designed with more spectacular and weird methods than would have been necessary had it just been a "proper" magic trick. For example, in the reveal of one trick, while Teller waits for his cue, he reads magazines and eats a snack. Another example is their rendition of the cups and balls, using transparent cups.

Penn and Teller perform their own adaptation of the famous bullet catch illusion. Each simultaneously fires a gun at the other, through small panes of glass, and then "catches" the other's bullets in his mouth.

They also have an assortment of card tricks in their repertoire, virtually all of them involving the force of the Three of Clubs on an unsuspecting audience member as this card is easy for viewers to identify on television cameras. [ [http://www.pennandteller.com/sincity/penn-n-teller/faq.html#Show Penn & Teller on force trick] ]

The duo will sometimes perform tricks that discuss the intellectual underpinnings of magic. One of their acts, titled "Magician vs. Juggler", features Teller performing card tricks while Penn juggles and delivers a monologue on the difference between the two: jugglers start as socially aware children who go outside and learn juggling with other children; magicians are misfits who stay in the house and teach themselves magic tricks out of spite.

In one of their most politically charged tricks, they make a U.S. flag seem to disappear by wrapping it in a copy of the United States Bill of Rights, and apparently setting the flag on fire, so that "the flag is gone but the Bill of Rights remains." The act may also feature the "Chinese bill of rights", presented as a transparent piece of acetate. They normally end the routine by restoring the unscathed flag to its starting place on the flagpole; however, on a TV guest appearance on "The West Wing" this final part was omitted for drama. [ [http://www.westwingepguide.com/S6/Episodes/120_ITR.html#quote120 Guide to West Wing on Penn & Teller] ]

One of their more recent tricks involves a nail gun with blanked (missing) nails from its strip of nails. Penn begins by firing several nails (presumably real) into a board in front of him. He then proceeds to turn the nail gun on himself several times while suffering no nail-puncture related ill effects. His patter builds as he oscillates between firing blanks at himself and firing nails into the board. While performing he explains the need for pseudo-randomness in switching between himself and the board. The bit ends with a bit of prediction when audience members choose where the next shot will be aimed. The whole bit is explained during its performance, except for the prediction.

Off-stage relationship

Penn Jillette has told interviewer Larry King that a big part of the duo's success and longevity is due to the fact that they have never been close friends. They enjoy working together immensely, but have little in common besides magic. As a result of their drastically different lifestyles and interests, they rarely socialize or interact when not working. Jillette believes that their partnership succeeds precisely because they give each other a great deal of space off-stage.

Television projects

*"Penn & Teller Go Public" for PBS (1985)
*"Don’t Try This at Home" for NBC (1990)
*"Behind the Scenes" for PBS (1992)
*"The Unpleasant World of Penn & Teller" series for Channel 4 (1994)
*"Phobophilia" for Channel 4 (1995)
*"Penn & Teller’s Home Invasion" (1997)
*"Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular" for FX (1998)
*"Magic and Mystery Tour" (2003)
*"" (2003 - )
*"" for NBC (2005)
*"Dancing with the Stars" for ABC (2008)

Movies

*"My Chauffeur" [ [http://imdb.com/title/tt0091579/ IMDB on My Chauffeur] ]
*"Penn & Teller’s Invisible Thread" for Showtime (1987)
*"Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends" (1987)
*"Penn & Teller Get Killed" (1989)
*"Fantasia 2000", introducing The Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence.
*"The Aristocrats" (2005), a documentary film written and co-directed by Penn
*"Hackers" (1995) - Penn only, as "Hal" working in the Gibson room
*"The Fantasticks" (1995) - Teller only, as "Mortimer", who 'dies' for a living
*"Toy Story" (1995) Buzz Lightyear's TV Commercial (V.O. by Penn Jillette only)
*"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", Penn as a carnival worker, Teller behind him [ [http://imdb.com/title/tt0120669/ IMDB on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas] ]
*"Michael Moore Hates America"

Other appearances

*"Miami Vice" "Prodigal Son" (Season 2)- Penn only
*"Muppets Tonight" "The Gary Cahuenga Episode" (Season 2, Episode 10 - 1997)
*"Saturday Night Live" Episodes 1101, 1106, 1109, 1112, 1115, 1116, 1207 (1985–1986)
*"Run DMC" "It's Tricky" Music Video (1986)
*"Ramones" "Something To Believe In" Music Video
*"David Letterman" (1989)
*"Pizza Hut" Commercial
*"Lois & Clark" Illusions of Grandeur 1/23/94 Penn only
*"Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" Pilot, Terrible Things, Jenny's Non-Dream, First Kiss (1996–1997)
*"Dharma and Greg" - Cats Out of the Bag (1998)
*"Babylon 5" - "Day of the Dead" (1998)
*"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"-Penn out front, Teller behind him (1998)
*"Hollywood Squares" Dates: 10/1/99, 01/08/01, 10/06/03, 10/07/03, 10/08/03, 10/09/03, 10/10/03, 04/05/04
*"Fear Factor" Episode 301 (2002)
*"Las Vegas" Episode 108 "Luck Be a Lady" (11/17/2003)
*"The View" Dates: 02/19/04, 10/31/05, 02/23/06, 10/31/2006, 6/24/2008
*"Ford Motor Company" Golf Commercials (2006)
*"The Drew Carey Show"
*"The Simpsons" in "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder"
*"Friends" "The One With The Cuffs" -Penn only
*"Criss Angel Mindfreak"
*"America's Got Talent" (8/10/06 & 8/16/06)
*"Space Ghost Coast to Coast"
*"The Colbert Report"- Penn only
*"Celebrity Deathmatch" in a fight against Siegfried and Roy
*"The Colbert Report" to debate the origins of various magic tricks in relation to the recent democratic takeover of the senate-Penn only (2006)
*"The History Channel" special "Nostradamus: 500 Years Later" (2006)
*"While You Were Out" Episode aired on March 21, 2004: Penn redecorates the backstage greenroom with the help of the WYWO crew while Teller is away!
*"The West Wing" #608 "In The Room" - Broadcast: December 8, 2004 - Presidential Daughter Zoey has a birthday party in the White House and Penn and Teller do magic tricks for her and the guests. And they do a trick that makes the guests think they have burnt an American flag inside the Bill of Rights (which was untouched). The press later hears about it and questions are raised about whether Bartlet was in the room when the trick was done.
*"Car 54, Where Are You?" both Penn and Teller appear as gun dealers in a bar.
*"¡Mucha Lucha!" as themselves and El Malèficos assistants.
*"Bill Nye the Science Guy"
*"Home Improvement" (TV Series)
*"Just For Laughs"
*"V.I.P." Episode 122 "Val The Hard Way"
*"Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?"

Books

* "Penn & Teller's How to Play in Traffic" (1997, ISBN 1-57297-293-9)
* "Penn & Teller's How to Play with Your Food" (1992, ISBN 0-679-74311-1)
* "Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends" (1989, ISBN 0-394-75351-8)
* "Sock " 2004, ISBN 0-312-32805-2 (Penn Jillette sole author)
* "How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker: The Wisdom of Dickie Richard" 2006, ISBN 0-312-34905-X (Penn Jillette and Mickey D. Lynn)
* "When I'm Dead All This Will Be Yours: Joe Teller -- A Portrait By His Kid" 2000, ISBN 0-922-23322-5 (Teller sole author)

Awards and recognitions

*Visiting Scholars of MIT
*Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award, 2001
*Richard Dawkins Award, 2005 for promoting atheism

Video games

*"Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors" 1995 - Absolute Entertainment for Sega CD & 3DO, Unreleased.

References

External links

* [http://www.pennandteller.com/ Penn & Teller's official website]
* [http://www.google.com/patents?id=B1cZAAAAEBAJ Penn's "Hydro-therapeutic stimulator" (aka Jill-jet) patent]
* cite web
url = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qQX-jayixQ&NR=1
title = Penn and Teller Explain Sleight of Hand
accessdate = 2007-12-29
publisher = You Tube
One of many Penn & Teller videos accessible on the internet.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Penn and Teller — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Penn und Teller — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Penn & Teller — lors des Emmy Awards de 1988 Penn Teller est le nom d un duo d illusionnistes constitués de Penn Jillette et de Teller. Leur nom est associé avec Las Vegas, l athéisme, le scepticisme et le libertarianisme. Ils se définissent eu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Penn Radio — Penn Jillette Hosting Penn Jillette Michael Goudeau Updates Daily Debut January 3, 2006 End date March 2, 2007 …   Wikipedia

  • Penn & Teller — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Penn Fraser Jillette — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Penn Jillette — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Penn & Teller: B.S.! — Dieser Artikel wurde aufgrund von inhaltlichen Mängeln auf der Qualitätssicherungsseite der Redaktion:Film und Fernsehen eingetragen. Dies geschieht, um die Qualität der Artikel aus dem Themengebiet Film und Fernsehen auf ein akzeptables Niveau… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! — Dieser Artikel wurde aufgrund von inhaltlichen Mängeln auf der Qualitätssicherungsseite der Redaktion:Film und Fernsehen eingetragen. Dies geschieht, um die Qualität der Artikel aus dem Themengebiet Film und Fernsehen auf ein akzeptables Niveau… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Raymond Joseph Teller — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Arthur Hiller Penn — (* 27. September 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) ist ein US amerikanischer Filmregisseur. Durch Filme wie Bonnie und Clyde und Alice’s Restaurant gilt er als einer der wichtigsten Regisseure des New Hollywood. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.