In this video, Aaron Fisher and friends react to the best of Penn and Teller, the legendary magic duo who’ve been lighting up Las Vegas for nearly 20 years.



Speaker 1 (00:00):

Hey everybody. I’m Erin Fisher. I’m here today with Adam graze, Alex slammer and Steve Barcelona from Chondra community, the world’s best magic club. Today you’re going to get a taste of what a great magic club can do for you. So please do us a favor. If you like what you see, click the light button. If you find a subscribe button beneath you somewhere to so you’ll be notified every time we go live with a fresh new video. Adam, what are we going to do today? What video will get banned today?

Speaker 2 (00:31):

Alright, so Alex picked out some great stuff for us today. Uh, this today is going to be about Penn and teller, but not about Penn and teller fool us, which I would call the second, uh, the second century of Penn and teller. The entire first century of Penn and teller was back when they used to do magic shows and they were like the biggest name in magic 3d throughout the eighties and nineties. Um, they’ve had a rebirth and uh, and so we’re going to look, we’re going to take a look back in time at some older, uh, older footage. Then I think

Speaker 1 (01:05):

very exciting. I, I literally became a magician because I watched a Penn and teller PBS special.

Speaker 2 (01:13):

It’s, it still stands up and it’s still as strong as ever. It’s a great ride. If you’re interested, go watch that PBS special. It’s called Penn and teller go public. It’s really, really, they’re just, they’re as good as they get for magic and it’s awesome to see them become a elder statesman.

Speaker 1 (01:28):

Yeah. In our live event on forces, we taught the force that they taught in that TV special to regular people and it’s still just one of the best forces you’ll ever find this. So good. What are we gonna watch first?

Speaker 2 (01:43):

Here it is right here. This is everybody. See this? Yes.

Speaker 3 (01:50):

Just hang out. Find the one that is without a doubt, our most famous and definitely our best looking. It’s also there, so they may or may not have made me say that last spot to see them do it. Take lettuce, denim, and go crazy for payment.

Speaker 4 (02:06):


Speaker 3 (02:07):

yeah, I’d like to address a classic of magic or actually the classical magic and matter of fact, it’s the cliche of magic. It’s a cliche that when someone does something impossible, they’ve pulled a rabbit out of their hats and it is the, it is the I call and of magic to have a 19th century magician with a top hat and a wall. The little tap rabbit coming out and every magician does this. We have everybody’s issue. We’ve had out here as part of their routine, they will pull a rabbit out of their house. Every birthday party magician, you see, every backyard magician, everybody just should off Broadway on the strip. No, no. It’s a really rare trick. It’s the cliche of magic and Yasser magic. Classical magic. I’d never seen it. Everyone’s seen it. Tell her she’s more magic than I do. He’s never seen it.

Speaker 3 (02:56):

You’ve never seen that simple trick of a top hat, a wand, a couple of taps and out of there comes a live rabbit. There’s a few reasons you haven’t seen it. One is it’s become an anachronism. In the 19th century, this became a cliche. Many men wore top hats. The theater, they’re called opera hats. They fold up to go into the seat, but now it’s very, very rare to see a man or a woman wearing a top hat in 21st century Las Vegas. Maybe when there’s cause play in town or, or maybe there’s somebody who’s up into steam punk, we’ll see one or two. Mostly we see a cowboy hat now and again, a baseball hat or a cap. I’m just going to, I’m just gonna loan this to you if I may and just, you know, you make sure you fold it up, open it up, folded up, open it up, put it on your head, kind of make it your own for a little while.


We hope you’re enjoying this discussion of the best of Penn and Teller magic! Remember, you can watch the video above to see exactly what we’re talking about. 


Speaker 3 (03:45):

I’m loaning it to your right here. So since they can’t borrow a top pad, they’ll use something else. They’ll use love magicians called a silk, which is really just a handkerchief and they can do a lot of routines with those. There’s a lot of magic developed for this and they’ll have a picture of a top hat in a silk and they’ll, they’ll pull out a graph, but it’s a rabbit pulled out of a picture of a top hat, not a top hat. It’s also not a real rabbit. This was called a kicker. It’s sold in magic stores, a very expensive, it’s a spring covered in Fern if you puppeteered properly, which tell the does at least in the long shot kind of looks like a, like a real rabbit makes the magic much easier cause you can compress this, you can kind of Palm it, you can also hide it up your sleeve. It’s easier to handle this and it also deals with another problem. Another anachronism, which is the 19th century. We didn’t really care very much how animals were treated, but the sphere of compassion for humanity has grown in the 21st century. We insist magicians and audiences alike that life is treated with compassion, dignity and respect. So it makes it really hard to do the,

Speaker 1 (05:00):

Hey, first of all, they have used the anachronism twice. See Barcelona, I need a ruling. Is that, is that overshoot the Barcelona penalty? I think it does. I think it’s a lot. I think that’s a lot of words. Is it that it’s multi-syllabic or is it that it’s ostentatious or is it, you know, I would just say yes. It’s, what’s the issue? Uh, explain it to you that I don’t think I know what it means. Okay. And acronym. I’ve always found an anachronism to be weird. Second first time I ever heard of magician used the word Palm. It was Penn and teller, right? So as well, and they started doing a card trick and Penn said, Oh, tell her they see your poem there. You can’t do that. You know? And I thought, what’s that? It’s fascinating. It’s a great old ruse. Do you see the way Penn uses the word Palm, like everybody and their brother knows what that means? Is that a word y’all knew what it meant the first time you heard it? No.

Speaker 5 (06:01):

No. I think it’s that secret language. You know, it’s, we, we throw around things like that, like Palm all the time in the club here. But that’s secret language.

Speaker 1 (06:11):

Penn and teller card stab, they used the word pass, they used the word Palm, they saw your past teller and I went, what’s that?

Speaker 5 (06:19):

It’s sort of the equivalent of someone doing like the snake oil a pitch, right? It’s just something from another time that you’ve never heard before unless you’re sort of on the end with that so that it makes sense and you have to go and seek that out. You have to seek those people out. Magic is that you have to seek it out. It’s a great device, right? What a great device on stage.

Speaker 1 (06:37):

So I think what an anachronism is have been, I had to figure it out cause it got so annoying to me that I just had no idea is that it’s, it’s when you use something totally out of time context, but people assume don’t realize it. Right? If they don’t, it doesn’t register with people right at all. That, uh, it, I only know about this because I’m here now. If I was there then that wouldn’t have made any sense. That sword didn’t exist then at all. You know, there’ll be some, a video of some movie that takes place in the 12 hundreds but someone’s clearly using a sword that wasn’t invented to the 1700

Speaker 3 (07:23):

rabbit out of the hat trick. Anybody here have a top hat? Anybody have a top down the audience? It’s your top hat. You go the top X can go up here please write a few. Yeah,

Speaker 4 (07:36):

John, Pat would you right up here please. Thank you so much. This, this teller

Speaker 3 (07:44):

right here and can’t take a look at that top hat that borrow the top hat back for a moment please Kat, thank you so much. And now you get a chance to fold it up like this and you open it up like that. I did all that. Did you look around on the inside? It’s completely empty cause I’m going to show this to the camera but it’s black on black. So I take a magic one. Here’s the trick that you wanted to see. The cliche borrowed top hat borrowed from cat, a couple of taps right here, circular gesture and then out of that top hat

Speaker 4 (08:33):


Speaker 1 (08:34):

you think of the ads that that was really her top hat. How many times y’all tried to find a top hat and only to give up on finding one that pops up when you were kids.

Speaker 5 (08:51):

There was one that came with like this Houdini magic set and you could buy it was made a, it was

Speaker 2 (08:55):

made of like half plastic and cloth, but it would pop up in a little bit. I remember having one of those real pop open hats, like someone gifted it to me and they said, you should do that trick with the rabbit. This is the perfect app for it. You know, watching that video there, Alex, it reminds me of Frank Brent’s and one of my mentors, Frank Prince used to come out on stage and he would show this. He would show this giant cloth, crumple it up, whatever, open it up. He reached underneath it and he were produced a live duck, not a rata, a huge duck. Right. And he would set it down and then he would reach underneath it and they would produce a second live doc. And then he would open up the call that he would show the cloth and as this, and then he would reach underneath it and he would produce a third one and then a fourth one.


We hope you’re enjoying this discussion of the best of Penn and Teller magic! Remember, you can watch the video above to see exactly what we’re talking about. 


Speaker 2 (09:46):

And so Frank was like the man and he would go to these magic conventions as he would kill people. I had no idea how he was doing these duck productions. Giant duck productions. Right. So when I finally got to, you know, w when Frank finally showed me how it was done, I was amazed because he literally just w he literally just had these ducks hanging one of them hanging on his back. Okay. And so he would do these duck loads by shifting his weight and the duck would swing around his body right into his hand. Right. Cause you can only fit one duck on your back at a time. So he would have his assistance come out and as they would come out to get the duck, they would hang a new duck on his back. Yes, that is showbiz right there. So it was the really only two ducks and they just rotated and it looked like there was four.

Speaker 2 (10:38):

He had four. And when, when I first met Frank, it was on a cruise ship and he was working at cruise ship and he had in his cabin, he had two ducks living in his bathtub on a cruise ship in a cruise ship bathtub. The worst literally. Sounds awful. It is the worst. Oh my gosh. He had like 12 doves in there too. Yeah. It’s like six or eight doves and you’ll, you’ll really reconsider the choices you’ve made. Yeah. People end up vanishing bananas. That’s right. That’s how you ended up doing the vanishing banana. You travel with doves for awhile, right? Hey, do you notice chicks dig rabbits, man? You know what I’m saying? How you got to think in general. Everybody digs rabbits there for me. And I tell you, they, you know, if you’re a single magician, you want to attract some attention.

Speaker 2 (11:32):

I’m just saying unpleasant to live with. Um, it can be, yeah. I have buddy bunny who lived a long time and he was litter box trained and just kind of hung out. Did you produce buddy the bunny? Yeah, it did. Doves to rabbit. Oh nice. Yeah. And buddy was like gigantic was like this huge rabbit and thought he was a dog. We had a rattle when I was a kid that was like that. Yeah. You would go in the litter box and you sort of just hung out and would come and sit on the couch with us and hang out. Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. Like I said, we were gonna watch old Penn and teller footage. What I should have said is we’re going to watch before and after, right? So we’ve got newer footage first. Then we got older footage. All right, let’s take a look at this next clip.

Speaker 2 (12:18):

You guys. This is, uh, I think this is really, really cool. This is called, well, I always said I have a bad habit of telling you what it’s about to be. Let’s just watch it. Can’t, can’t win. Teller in poker is this, this is something that we’ve talked about here in the community and this is in this collection on purpose because I think Penn and teller are one of their great gifts is putting dressing on two affects that you might’ve read and sort of just pass by. This is an effect we all know, but they made it into a showpiece a stage piece and I think it’s a great example of the work that Penn and teller do and a very inspirational enjoy. This is very cool.

Speaker 4 (13:05):


Speaker 3 (13:05):

I’ve been here at the Penn and teller theater at the Rio in Las Vegas for 17 years.

Speaker 4 (13:15):


Speaker 3 (13:15):

the longest running headliners in the history of Las Vegas. Having the real just up us, I mean not to get here for the first time for another four years.

Speaker 4 (13:34):


Speaker 3 (13:35):

for a Vegas act teller has a gambling problem and teller has the worst gambling problem possible. If you want to work for a casino and that is a teller, all the ways wins. What he’s doing, he always wins and the Rio hates that. Instead, if we can show that, tell the can sometimes lose. They’re going to take away our contract, so we need someone to beat teller and who better do that than our buddy Tom green

Speaker 4 (14:11):

[inaudible]. He’s

Speaker 3 (14:12):

beat teller at one hand of poker. That’s all you’re going to, okay, so we’re going to play a game of poker. He just do the ranks of cards. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You’re not. You’re not going to use these. See Tom right away. He was trying to cheat. You have to check from our cards and check for them. You do what is called going to the movies, right? He’s flipped the back of the cars like this and if anything moves around on the back, those cards are marked blue dots moving around. They’re all marked, right. Any deck of cards you check like that. You can see if there are marked and also if I’m not mistaken, I know his style. Yeah. He’s got two ACEs on the bottom and two on the top. He can second deal and he can bottom deal and cheat you that way.

Speaker 3 (14:49):

We’re not going to use these. We’ll use cards that he can’t, Paul. I don’t think he can POM these cards. Put your hand there and he’s not gonna be able to. Paul. Matt is he and he’s, these are not marked, I don’t believe. Nope. They’re not marked. Who would like you to do? He could also do a bottom deal. Why don’t you just count off 10 cards? Just count off 10 we’ll just use the 10 right here. Yeah. Okay. And this way, if he’s only using 10 cards, then he can’t switch. He can’t bought them deal. He can’t do anything. So Tom is going to deal out the 10 cards and then Tom will beat him at poker and we’ll go another four years here. Oh, it sounds good.

Speaker 1 (15:25):

It’s doing it again. I love all that. All the language, bottom of the jargon. Have you ever seen such a wildly marked deck of cards in your entire life? If you’ve got a deck of cards that has that drops of bleach on each card like that. You don’t, don’t cheat with that unless you’re working for illusionists. Don’t do it. Big tip. Big tip there guys. Big tip

Speaker 3 (15:52):

10 is out of his way. We’re done with those. Okay. Tell her now Tom, we’ll beat you. Go ahead. Just, uh, just deal them out. Okay. I don’t feel good about this either because this way he could have controlled that some way. Tom. So you tell me, which one of these cards do you want? Which one do you want to tell us? Have you tell me it’s your decision. Just when is all I care about? Tom just went, okay. What do you want? I’ll take that one. Take four towards, put this one over here. Fuck you. These next two are gonna be Dell out here. And you tell me which card do you want? Which card will make you win? Come on, tell me which card will make you win that one.


We hope you’re enjoying this discussion of the best of Penn and Teller magic! Remember, you can watch the video above to see exactly what we’re talking about. 


Speaker 3 (16:29):

Don’t change your mind. Now I’ll go with the original. This one call here. You already got up there. The next one we’re going to have you pick which one you want under these two. Okay, just do that. Which one do you want? Which one do you want there? Give me that one. This one? Yeah. She can put a couple for teller. Which one of those you want? Which one’s the stinky one? Which one’s the Limburger which was the worst car? Those two. The stinky one. Now do another dude. Which one goes to tell her here and that which one goes to tell him that one to tell him and now we’ll get another one for you. This is for you. Top 21 for you. That one for me please. I want to freeze you and one more for teller. Which one you want to go to jail, which is the bad. Ought to tell her that one’s a bad one. Okay, now we’ve got two left. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. Look at your cards. Couldn’t make this so you can win. No trouble looking up. Looking. Look at the hand you got. How about to do something that’s never been done? History because you’ve got to win. Tom, you got to win. Tom. How you tell me, you tell me Tom, which one of these cards would make your hand better?

Speaker 3 (17:31):

Which one do you want that one please? Yes please. That’s when you want the one right there. I will give this one to tell her what he got. What he got. Oh, not bad at all. That’s going to full house. He’s got nines full of ACEs. [inaudible]

Speaker 6 (18:05):

yeah. Yeah man. I love dude. Right after we did a show in Contra community about this trick, Alex, that you, you’ve taught this poker deal. Um, I started, I immediately started doing it and I went and did it for my dad and just killed him with it. Cause when you take the way you teach it, you’ve got like five phases in there where each time, I mean it’s just, it seems like they’ve got, you know, every time they’ve got free choice and every time they lose, it’s pretty good.

Speaker 5 (18:34):

Another trick and what a great handling of that trick, right? It makes it into a completely new showcase that’s so different than what you’re doing when you’re doing closeup. But it plays so big and you know, it’s Penn and teller, like it’s Penn and teller written all over the thing. I love it. It’s a show piece that showcases who they are in addition to being that wonderful, wonderful trick. You know, so cool.

Speaker 6 (18:57):

Yeah, no doubt. Um, I, there’s the last phase of that too, Alex, that I really love and it’s the one where you do the add, you add that last card on from the deck, you know, the last, the very last phase in that. Yeah, they didn’t do it, but when you teach it, you know, there, you put all the cards on top of the deck and then that person gets to deal it anyway, there’s a last one.

Speaker 5 (19:21):

Right, right, right. That’s it. Yeah. There’s a different, we went over all the, that that plot is basically the 10 card poker deal and we covered a lot of ground in that 10 card poker deal that show that we did. And it just, you know, so I think that there was a couple of different things and I’m glad that they sort of blended together and they’re just one thing. But there’s definitely different routines. Go and check it out, go in the backroom and go and watch that because there’s a, there’s another version of that trick that uses pretty much a shuffled deck and it’s just, it’s sort of you’re ringing a couple more drops out of it. Like Adam’s saying, then you are out of this band and thing. The Bannon thing I think is the cleanest and it’s almost a self working one. But the other one you can get some real nice psychological battles going on. These pseudo psychological battles that really are fun to play with. And it’s a, I’m a fan of the plot. I think it’s really one of the, one of the cooler card tricks out there. I hope you guys go and check it out. And then this and this one is power poker. This is John Bannon’s handling of it, which I think is pretty tough to beat. It’s pretty tough to beat. It’s really the name of that show where you train on that. I think it might just be called a 10 card poker deal

Speaker 1 (20:27):

nail. Right? Cause there’s like three different ways to start with 10 cards and basically in a thousand different ways have had the spectator pick which cards they want, you know, and always lose. Right? And it’s all based on one principle basically. And Harry Lorraine, uh, in his book, close up card magic many, many years ago really had the version of it that everybody loves so much, regardless of which phases you like to do. And whether you had one Jonah card, you had two Jonah cards. It’s all based on something called the Jonah card, which I won’t describe here, but fascinating. And the key has always been how do you take it between the spectator play the game over and over again? Same as the shell game, same as a lot of these other games where no matter what they do, they lose. So the game is how to make it, it gets more impossible as it goes on.

Speaker 1 (21:25):

But the skill is in presenting it traditionally so that people, uh, find it to be appealing. The whole Lorraine premise was, I want you to win. I want you to win. I’m going to make this even clearer. So now you have a better chance to win cause I want you to win. So in addition to using the Bannon method here, which is one and done right, just one beautiful test conditions, every card and then this perfect ending, this picture, perfect ending, right? Uh, in addition to that, uh, packed it all into one phase, had a real good reason for wanting you to win, right? Penn is really actually quite both of them really wants you to win cause it’s the only way for them to keep their gig. Right? And in addition to having the third person having the intermediary, really it’s a little bit hard to keep selling to the audience that you want them to win. When you want to win, you’re going to win every time by Penn being there. It’s, it’s, it’s that same thing they always do when they set up teller as a master sleight of hand artist, which is Penn beats up on teller and he on the side of the audience has been to keep teller from cheating. Right? And so it’s that same sort of classic Penn and teller set up.


We hope you’re enjoying this discussion of the best of Penn and Teller magic! Remember, you can watch the video above to see exactly what we’re talking about. 


Speaker 6 (22:43):

And what’s interesting, Erin, is that like when we look at this, so what we just saw were two modern day, uh, presentations about Penn and teller. Okay, now we’ll, but when we take a step back many years and look at earlier Penn and teller, you’re going to see that there’s still threads of that. I mean, they always were the most creative force in magic. Uh, even when they were angering magicians in the eighties, right? Uh, when they exposed the thumb tip on national TV, it was still, I mean, they, I remember how much magicians hated Penn and teller think about how much they’re revered now in our art, right? I mean, how much the tables turn and just 20 or 30 years. But this is a, this is a look at old Penn and teller. Not, not the oldest, but it is, it is older. And you’ll watch how this, the threat is still there. I mean, they always had this amazing creative energy and creative force that they were able to bring to presentation of magic. All right, let’s check it out.

Speaker 4 (23:45):


Speaker 3 (23:54):

you said many times before. My name is pendula as my partner teller. We are Penn and teller. We’ve been on the show a a zillion times. We’ve always done a lot of tricks for uh, for day. But if we could like do a trick for Paul, we have you come on in me. Just come on over here.

Speaker 4 (24:13):

Really since you bought,

Speaker 3 (24:14):

we’re going to do a slight of hand for you, for me. And, and since you’ve watched a lot of us doing this slight of hand, you know some of my upsells, a lot of close up magician a lot. I’m afraid you might be too good. I don’t want to get caught. So I’m going to ask you to take your glasses off and my glasses. I just want to, well your ocular hygiene is astonishing, Paul. No, they’re very clear. They’re very clean my mouth and looked away and cleaned them off with a beef Patty. But these are beautiful, but you can send it out. You can see me okay. A little bit, a little bit. The soft focus, but still put these right here. Would it be safe? Now, Paul, the audience’s relationship was your prescription. I know they are. These are two very different, their relationship with me, they trust you in a different way. So if you were not here with me, now we’re going to show a billiard ball and just say that’s a billiard ball. Some people watching at home wouldn’t believe me because they sell billiard ball shells that are used for manipulation. They sell collapsible billiard balls and some wouldn’t believe me just because I’m a liar. So if I’m wanting to show the solidity of that, object to Mike over here and just do something like this.

Speaker 3 (25:20):

But with you here, I don’t have to do that because the audience trusts. Right? But I still do it because of the noise. Tell them, and that brings me joy with you. Here. I can just have you examine the billiard ball really to examine it thoroughly. Okay, Paul, check it out carefully. Can use this magic wand and tell her, look toward Paul A. Little bit. There you go. Is that a real billion? I believe it is. Yeah, it has. It has the weight of a real good. It’s solid. It’s just a real magic wand. My knowledge. This is a real magic wand. Here’s what’s going to happen. This is not attached to anything. Is that right? Okay. What’s the catch? Anything I’m going to, I’m going to tap this three times on the third time. This is going to vantage. Okay. You all sit up and you can see, okay, right here we go. Here we go. One, two, three. What the wan disappeared. Well, wait a minute. It’s right. It’s right behind you here. Well that was a very good,

Speaker 4 (26:18):

what was that about? Two seconds. Two seconds. So for

Speaker 3 (26:23):

that two seconds, you experienced like full body Disney? Yeah, glanced up here in the South was just collapsed and went to abject. So that’s all I got. Bull. But fortunately for everyone it’s a two person performing ensemble and tell her is a lot better than I am. A lot better. So I’m going to show you something. Now. What did I feel you said two seconds, maybe a second and a half. This is my school year. A little longer. Paul, watch this. Watch every move carefully. You don’t want to remember this, Paul. Oh my goodness. Look at this Paul. It’s a cinder block. What are you doing Paul? I don’t expect you to be able to see that phone without your glasses. So go right up there and

Speaker 4 (27:27):


Speaker 2 (27:29):

never ever seen that before. I’ve never seen that either. Object to an impossible location. It’s, it’s wonderful. What’s interesting about it, they didn’t feel any need to like do a big vantage of the glasses or anything like that that would really Telegraph it was like he had a great reason for taking them away and uh, that was good enough. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (27:50):

Such was the impossibility of the location, the impossible location with sealed in concrete and in plain view before the glasses were ever borrowed. When you have that kind of clarity and that kind of impossibility, I mean it was inside the black concrete, inside the helmet on his face, you know, eh, the V making it disappear is almost telegraphing the ending. Right,

Speaker 2 (28:16):

right, exactly. That’s exactly what I meant. Yeah. This is great cause cause now I’m thinking about the bill, your ball, right? Like, what was the like, like the billiard ball? It’s just smoke the smoke. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He needed a reason to turn and, and knock it on the, on the thing and do the thing. But I, it was uh,

Speaker 1 (28:40):

it was the middle. He just needed a middle. Like there’d be no middle. He’d borrowed the glasses for no reason to take the hammer. You’d go crush open the cube and that would be straight line, you know. So he borrowed the glasses. I could get you to help me with a thing and it’s just enough to

Speaker 2 (29:00):

get that all the way from there. Well, it’s interesting because what I wonder is, well, the bill, something was necessary like teller hat, our pin had to move over there towards the box so he could do the business. Okay. We needed something. So the billiard ball, uh, was, was, was integral to the method.

Speaker 1 (29:19):

So if you could tap on the cube so you could walk over crossover to teller and tap on the cube.

Speaker 2 (29:25):

Right. And he walks over twice, right? He walks over to tap and then he walks over again to say, no, turn this way, tell her, and that’s when he loads the thing, right? Yeah. But it’s just getting the audience used to the idea that he’s going to go close to teller and there’s no reason to be suspicious about it. And that’s what that little routine with billiard ball offers

Speaker 5 (29:42):

is that it’s just all innocent. It seems like it’s just a stupid trick, right? Until you get to the end and you go, Whoa, that was a miracle. It’s good. It’s strong. It’s that, and that seems to be like the pattern that they follow when they create these things, and it’s astounding that they’re able to do it again and again and have that same pattern be the thing that that gets you there where you go at the end goal. It’s a miracle. I have no idea.

Speaker 1 (30:04):

Isn’t it good, Erin? I’m sorry. No, that’s fine. I was just going to say though, a kid isn’t like Paul Shaffer’s like a, what’s the word I’m looking for? He’s like, he’s just patronizing so hard. You’re just like, it’s like palatable. You’re like, I can’t, I can’t even listen to it anymore. You know, I, you know, I couldn’t tell whether that was just he was unlistenable or he was being patronizing and he was already, I’m listening business is business business. Would you say that this particular sort of Penn and teller format is really suited and designed for television because it’s really like what’s the minimum amount of components to get to a big ending for a big good TV reveal?


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Speaker 5 (30:53):

Yeah. I think when you watch a lot of those David Letterman appearances that Penn and teller did, they, they are that right? You have the element of Penn beating up teller. He’s, he’s sort of beating up the little guy because he’s a bigger guy and then he has all this stuff about a pseudo trick that’s happening that you don’t care about. And then at the end you have that giant reveal. Like those elements seem to be present, present in all of these, these pieces that they put together. And it, uh, it just speaks again to, they have a style, they have a personality, right? It is Penn and teller. When you see it, there’s no denying that it’s Penn and teller. And that’s tough. As a performer it’s tough to sort of create that identity like that to where you see it and within 10 seconds you’re like, right, this is Penn and teller. You know, even if you just heard them speak and didn’t see them visually, you would know this is Penn and teller

Speaker 1 (31:36):

is like what? Uh, you know, for these TV audiences it’s like cold traffic. It’s like people who’ve never seen them before, people for whom they really need to get the idea of Penn and teller across quickly with that, that core idea of Penn being at odds with teller and also the initial setup is this visual instantly, visually arresting thing. I remember when they came out on stage with the giant deck of cards on a forklift. You know, there’s, there’s always a very clear visual setup that arrests the eye and, and lodges in your brain forever and then it’s brief as they can and getting to that big reveal, uh, rather than when you see them on stage. An awful lot of stuff has got a little, a lot more middle to it. Yeah.

Speaker 6 (32:26):

Yeah. You know also too when you think about this trick, like, like I, I never seen this before and that’s because I didn’t see that Letterman episode. And the truth is is that they created this trick to go on that show and they probably never did this trick ever again on stage or in a show anywhere else ever again. At least I never saw it. I may be wrong, but I think it would probably, they sat down and created this just for this show. Right. So it was a one off for them and it’s so cool to see somebody that, you know, you got to think like they, how much thought they had to actually put a lot of thought into that. I mean that that wasn’t just something you could sit down and think of in an hour. There was a lot of thought. The methods involved in that, like what was going on with tellers, arms, like the whole what had to be built

Speaker 1 (33:14):

for that method to work. Does it, does it seem to you like they work that one backwards like we want, this is how we want it to end. And then they just kind of worked it backwards from there and figured out what it could be.

Speaker 5 (33:26):

But that seems like a good method to get to that presentation. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (33:29):

You know those guys do that show several nights a week and so full evening show in Las Vegas and, but you know every morning they’re up and by 11 o’clock you know, well we’re in rehearsal working all day long and now they’re shooting a TV show there. They’ve always been, when they’re not on stage, they’re off to rehearsal. They were in rehearsal all day or shooting something all day or you know, they’ve maintained this incredible professional performance schedule while doing what amounts to two full time jobs in addition to keep their, their calendar of appearances, which are the real secret I think they will tell you to how they’ve kept that show for so long is that they are constantly doing stuff in the mass media in order to sell tickets.

Speaker 5 (34:19):

They’ve been, they’ve been on television aside from the magic stuff, right? For like the past 20 years, they had that show, uh, the, the BS show that they had run them for a long time where it was debunking all those ideas that are in the change stream. It was a great show, but they were doing that while they were doing the radio show. Right. It was like every day they were like, Aaron just said, they’re doing two full time jobs. They’re TV stars and they’re magicians doing this evening show. It’s a lot of work for a lot of years to be where they’re at.

Speaker 1 (34:47):

And I’m saying like three full time jobs because they’re not just showing up and hosting a TV show. I mean, bullshit. They were doing an awful lot of the writing on all that stuff. They do, you know, they invent more of their own magic than any great magician. Any famous magician you’ve ever seen. You know, just what Adam is saying. You know, they did design that trick. They did prototype that trick. They did have untold, uh, cement blocks made, you know, only to find out what was enough to be broken cement and, and what actually was dangerous. You know, when that hammer comes crashing on, on onto it, you know, they, they’ve always had such a big role in all of the material they do. We all know how hard magic is to develop and they’ve always packed their TV with so much original thought and ideas. Um, it’s really just no secret. In their case, they’re, they’re really just the hardest work and people in show business.

Speaker 2 (35:49):

Yeah. It, William says, just to be able to incorporate teller’s character without getting uncomfortable, it’s pretty difficult. Yeah. On a bigger picture. Yeah. But that’s sort of the whole game, right? It’s like instant conflict because Penn is beating up on teller and you’re like, Oh, why is he beating up on the little guy? It’s like instant. You’re like, Whoa, conflict. Wait a second. There needs to be resolution. It’s like a perfect theatrical device, just like built into the act. Right. It’s really, really a beautiful thing that they’ve created there, that’s for sure. All right. We’re going to go back now and we’re going to look from 2001 so we’re going to go a little further back and we’re going to see something from the Conan show that uh, is pretty spectacular as well. This is old, old Penn and teller.

Speaker 7 (36:31):

Hey, sorry. Sorry. You can see them at the Rio hotel and casino in Las Vegas July 20th through August 19th please welcome Penn and teller.

Speaker 4 (36:46):


Speaker 7 (36:47):

you’ve talked a little bit of behind the scenes how magicians, how we practice a lot. Certainly VH one behind that. Yes, school, you know how you get into it and this is also good. Anybody at home to watch to learn magic could do it. This is where straight slide of hand you don’t like. Sometimes when baseball players warm up, they’ll use heavy bats or a couple bats or something, right? We do slight of hand, we use double edge razorblades and that means you’re not only going to be quick, but you’re also going to be very, very careful because those things are just, those are incredibly sharp. And this is the Gillette brand that when the same spelling that I have, but these are, this is what we use now, this razorblades usually think of these are double-edged. So there’s sharp here and there’s sharp here and the not sharpened the sides here.

Speaker 7 (37:28):

Usually think of using these to like, you know, shave a little bit of hair off, right? Right. But on your chest you can actually use these because it’s dull here in Dole here, this is the classic Palm that you use for coin where you can put it in your hand like that, the slight, you can hold it right in position just like that. It looks very natural. Now if you want to get really advanced, the sun is so stupid that we’re doing, these sides are very sharp. If you don’t slide, you don’t get cut. So you can actually Palm it like this. I don’t do that. Hold it like that. Okay. And that gives you a very natural hand position that David Blaine uses when he does his natural hand position.

Speaker 2 (38:12):


Speaker 1 (38:17):

let’s see.

Speaker 2 (38:18):

Wow. I was acting that and, and, and, and just, you know, 20 years later we see Blaine is still with its baby. He’s still the King too. That’s pretty funny.

Speaker 1 (38:32):

That’s pretty funny. You don’t see jokes like that anymore. Tele show.

Speaker 8 (38:36):

No, you do not. Yeah.

Speaker 7 (38:40):

So there’s nothing in there. Right enough of that. I’m the one that’s not very good at this tellers. Astonishing. I don’t know how much you know about slight of hand, but watch this. He’s going to do the classic poem here and he does it beautifully and then he can do the write up the slave thing and right across and then your classic out of the slave into a glass. Very nice.

Speaker 4 (39:02):

Amazing. This amazing grapefruit.

Speaker 7 (39:07):

You don’t know his, his whole back is bleeding right now. And we’ll put this right in here. Okay. And we’re going to show you a, another classic, no, not what you would use for a Halloween gone wrong practice to practice coins. But here’s what you would use to, uh, to practice cards. Ever seen anybody do a four ACE trick where they have like four ACEs out of that and they keep pretty, yeah, you four ACEs, one, two, three, four ACEs. It put one Ange away and you have one, two, three, four ACEs. That’s four ACEs, one, two, three, four, eight and you have two, three, four ACEs, just like that. Two good. Four ACEs, one, two, three, four. He put one away and you have one and two and three and four ACEs just like that. So that’s how you would,

Speaker 4 (40:07):

no, that’s true. I’ve

Speaker 7 (40:08):

never felt, all I’m doing in this trick is holding this complete moron. You’re doing a fine job. Going to find job. We’re going to show you a classic delusion that you can do a lot with badges where this is not slight of hand. This is the classic Chinese linking razorblades look right there. Okay? And now Conan, you get a chance to do a little something. You can pick any one of those razorblades just pick any one of those there. And this is going to take some time. What if I took 40 minutes right now? I want that one, right? I can take it out. We trust you with that. Okay, good. And then take that and you might want to set it right down there on the table. It’s on the table. And then write your name right across it. Real big, real, real definite.


We hope you’re enjoying this discussion of the best of Penn and Teller magic! Remember, you can watch the video above to see exactly what we’re talking about. 


Speaker 7 (40:50):

You can recognize it again. All right. Not even your name. Anything you want, right? Too late. My name went down. Okay, good. And you recognize that again. Now hold your hand Conant flat like you’re feeding a horse. It doesn’t, doesn’t want to hurt you. I’ve never been in the country. I don’t know how to beat a horse, but it will send it right there. And don’t, don’t, don’t move your hand at all. Trust me. You have the guy we rehearsed this with did and we didn’t like that. So here we go. We’re going to just do this, show you this little magic thing here where we take the shaving cream and put it right on there. And now Conan, say the magic word, which is a steric acid and squeeze spray. That’s a familiar sensation, isn’t it?

Speaker 4 (41:48):

[inaudible] [inaudible] just tell me, you gave me a lot of credit here anyway, go ahead. Yeah,

Speaker 7 (41:53):

I’m gonna stop calling them sled. I’m going to stop. Stop right there. That’s the one you’ve chosen and you’ve chosen one of these three beautiful grapefruits. There is that to a mess in there. I just want to show the menthol with the citrus. That’s the great thing is a nurse and you’re working with uh, with uh, learning to use a hypodermic needle. You first use a grapefruit cause the puncturing of the flesh feels exactly the same as if you were cutting into a human. So I want you to watch this. You saw the grapefruit, you chose the grapefruit three cutting into the fleshy pink center of the grapefruit. And there in the center of the grapefruit is one razor blade and Conant cause your reach in there and get out of the center. Be careful now if I can’t get it out here we go right here. Okay. There it is right there. And pull it out. Pull it out and show it to the kids.

Speaker 4 (42:56):


Speaker 1 (42:58):

that was great. Never seen that before. Never really. Right. Just kill her

Speaker 6 (43:05):

again. Another, another whole thing put together for a TV appearance that had so much magic in it. Man. I mean

Speaker 1 (43:13):

so much set up. So much stick. You know what a great band

Speaker 6 (43:19):

razorblade right. It was awesome that, I think that might’ve been a Steinmeyer idea too. I mean that, that vanish, that razorblade vantage was pretty, pretty Steinmeyer risk, you know? Um, yeah, I was really great.

Speaker 1 (43:31):

All that talk of palming the razorblades only to then put the razor blade in his hand and having him, so like looking back on it, right. They demonstrate what secret holding of a razor blade would look like.

Speaker 9 (43:50):


Speaker 1 (43:50):

And then put it in his hand to have him leave it there, don’t move and then vanish it himself. Pretty, pretty stunning to you when they start putting that whipped cream. It was a really grabbed all of my attention.

Speaker 9 (44:08):


Speaker 6 (44:10):

Yeah. Yeah. That was definitely conflict in there. Like, like, you know, when you’re looking at designing and presenting your shows, like conflict is always good. You know, conflict is what sells the story. So, uh, yeah, plenty of conflict in that squeeze. Squeeze. He was like, no, no, I don’t want to do it. Like it took him a minute to realize he was supposed, because how would you know with two people like Penn and teller, what you’re really supposed to do when they tell you, they might tell you to poke something in your eye, you just don’t know.


We hope you’re enjoying this discussion of the best of Penn and Teller magic! Remember, you can watch the video above to see exactly what we’re talking about. 


Speaker 5 (44:41):

You know there’s another, there’s another clip I almost debated putting it in words. It’s Conan O’Brien with them and Penn is doing a knife throwing demonstration and Conan’s got to go stand in front of the board and he’s throwing the knives at him. But it’s all a gag, right? They blindfold cone in and tell her just goes up and stabs the knife and the law. But it’s like right on the edge of being a little bit too much. But it’s exactly what you’re saying where it’s like, how much do I really want to trust these guys? You know, really, really strong conflict, right? The whole way through. You’re just right on the edge of your seat the whole time. It’s like watching a horror movie. It’s great.

Speaker 6 (45:18):

Yeah, I, and, and one thing we do see from watching very new Penn and teller to old Penn and teller, we see that, you know, there’s a, there’s a through line through the whole thing. Like they always put the time in. They always are going to develop something original. They’re always going to come from a really original place. You know, when you look at all of those performances, we just watched like we watched a bunny, we watched a card trick with giant jumbo cards. We watched, uh, we watched um, a slide to hand him illustration with the fruit and we watched the Spanish. And every single one of those is some original take on an old plot of magic. And I would say is well within anyone’s level to come up with. But I would have never thought of any of that stuff. Like it’s just their thinking and their creativity behind how they decide to, you know, put together, put together a routine really is. So, um, so everybody, uh, we have a jam session starting uh, next with Michael Sproul. So, uh, the link is in our Facebook group. Make sure you get in there and join it. And for the rest of you guys, we want to thank you for joining us on afternoon astonishment today. If you liked this video, make sure to hit, like, make sure to subscribe to our channel if you can. And, uh, you’ll be notified when we go live on our next, uh, afternoon astonishment, which we will see you very soon. All right, stop.


We hope you enjoyed this discussion of the best of Penn and Teller magic! Remember, you can watch the video above to see exactly what we’re talking about.