Reality seems so simple. We just open our eyes and there it is. But that doesn't mean it is simple.
Nobody who is a Penn & Teller fan thinks of us first and foremost as magicians, but as a comedy team.
The silent thing onstage allows for a kind of intimacy that no conversation can have. If I just shut up, we're forced to look at each other and really confront that moment.
Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.
Indian street magic tends to be very gory, blood and guts. One trick is for a magician to take a knife and appear to cut his kid's head almost off. The magician then says to the crowd, 'Well I can continue to cut off my son's head or you can all give me some money.' Then he wanders around and takes 10 rupees from everyone and restores his son.
In real life, the most important decision you ever make is, where does reality leave off and make-believe begin? If you make a mistake about that, you're dead. You know, you're out on the street corner. You think there's no bus coming. You step out, you're dead.
Every time you perform a magic trick, you're engaging in experimental psychology. If the audience asks, 'How the hell did he do that?' then the experiment was successful.
I always assumed I'd spend my life happily performing in artsy-fartsy little theaters.
If there isn't at least the threat of violence in art, it tends to be kind of tiresome.
If you do something that you're proud of, that someone else understands, that is a thing of beauty that wasn't there before – you can't beat that.
When a magician lets you notice something on your own, his lie becomes impenetrable.
If you read Shakespeare's stage directions, all the gore and violence is right in there.
Sometimes, magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.
Magic's about understanding – and then manipulating – how viewers digest the sensory information.
Given my absolute druthers, I would certainly like to see that every part of my body is used for spare parts for science.
Generally, magicians don't know what to say, so they say stupid and redundant crap like, 'Here I am holding a red ball.'
People come up to me on the street and make some little joke – like they'll say, 'Excuse me, sir, what time is it?' And I'll say, you know, '5:15,' and they'll say, 'Hey! Made you talk!' And that's merely a way of saying, 'I know your work and I like you.'
To most people who have a point of view, merely being on TV is an intrinsic good.
People do not come to a Penn & Teller show to see a magic show. They just don't. They come to see weird stuff that they can see no place else, that will make them laugh and make the little hairs stand up on the backs of their necks.
The Boy Scouts of America is no longer entirely what people think it is. Essentially, it has been hijacked by religious conservatives.