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  #1  
Old 08-17-2009, 07:52 PM
BluePitbull BluePitbull is offline
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Penn & Teller Bullshit: Does Teller ever talk?

Does he ever speak in this show? Contribute any points? What is the point of Teller in this show?
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2009, 07:57 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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Are you familar at all with Penn & Teller, the stage act? They're magicians. Teller's shtick is that he doesn't talk. One would not expect him to talk on the television show, either.

He CAN talk, and is quite well spoken and extremely smart. He talks on camera, even. Just not when he is acting as Teller Of Penn And Teller.
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  #3  
Old 08-17-2009, 07:59 PM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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I see you are unaware of the Penn & Teller schtick.

Teller never talked during their magic acts (pre-Bullshit, though they may still do them---I'm unsure there) and Penn just did all the comedy and banter. I imagine they just kept the formula the same during the Showtime show, though I've seen an episode or two where Teller "talks" off camera (if I recall, he swore while being "branded" in the PETA show).

Last edited by Birdmonster; 08-17-2009 at 08:00 PM.. Reason: ETA: ZipperJJ beat me to it. And yes, Teller's quite smart, the few interview segments I've seen with him.
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  #4  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:00 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Penn & Teller have been together since long before Bullshit started up, Teller has generally never talked during their performances - just a gimmick that's been part of their show forever.
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  #5  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:02 PM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
... just a gimmick that's been part of their show forever.
IIRC, he did the silent magician bit even before he got together with Penn.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:10 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluePitbull View Post
What is the point of Teller in this show?
Brand name recognition. Who would watch Penn's Bullshit?
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  #7  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:13 PM
Ruffian Ruffian is offline
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Penn & Teller appeared on Fear Factor a few years ago. Penn just did his talk thing, while Teller performed all the various stunts. In one (involving a suspended glass case/elevator; don't remember what actually he was supposed to do), Teller quietly said "Yes!" when Barry Williams failed to match his time. Penn, loudmouth that he is, confirmed my ears when he said, "Did you hear that? He just said 'Yes!'"

Teller did not win, FTR. Keisha Knight Pullham of the Cosby Show did. (Description of that episode here.)
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  #8  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:50 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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Teller is the real talent behind their act, and probably has a lot of input in the Bullshit! show as well. Penn is merely the loud abrasive frontman. He's like the huckster showman at the carnival.

I have a documentary TV series where the two of them travelled the world looking at cultural magic acts, and Teller speaks about a trick he witnessed during one of those episodes.
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  #9  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:52 PM
friedo friedo is online now
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Teller's job on Bullshit is to do funny blink-or-you-miss-it sleights in the background while Penn yells at you.

There's lots of interviews with him where he does talk (intelligently and at length) about magic. But whenever they're performing as Penn & Teller, he keeps his trap shut. Or Penn will eat him.
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  #10  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:03 PM
parthenokinesis parthenokinesis is offline
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Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
Teller is the real talent behind their act, and probably has a lot of input in the Bullshit! show as well. Penn is merely the loud abrasive frontman. He's like the huckster showman at the carnival.
That's pretty dismissive. Teller is certainly a more talented magician, but Penn is a more talented comedian. Since they bridge the two genres, and it's that bridge that made them as successful as they are, calling Teller the talent is just plain inaccurate. The "magic" in their act occurs in the meeting place between Teller's mechanics and Penn's patter

On a side note, Penn is also a pretty talented juggler, which they use to some effect in their act.
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:05 PM
MyFootsZZZ MyFootsZZZ is offline
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Didn't he lend his voice to The Simpsons?
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  #12  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:27 PM
Spudo Spudo is offline
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Originally Posted by MyFootsZZZ View Post
Didn't he lend his voice to The Simpsons?
"I'm not the first Teller!"
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  #13  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:39 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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Trivia: Teller taught Latin in a private school for boys before he became a full time magician. (Presumably he spoke, otherwise it must have been an interesting course.) He also did not know until he was middle aged that his parents were Russian Jews, though I don't know the details of the situation (it was mentioned by Penn on his blog).

Rumor is that Teller's gay- he doesn't 'speak' to the issue obviously. The reason I mention is that I've wondered if his not speaking is because he has an effeminate voice. Today it wouldn't be that big a deal (I don't think anybody believed Siegfried & Roy were two "wild and crazy" bachelors, and in fact I used to assume David Copperfield was until he started dating models and getting sued for sexual harassment) but I can see how 30 years ago it would have been difficult- imagine being an effeminate gay magician working a room full of roughnecks- the fairy jokes would get really old really fast, and I can see how it would eventually just become such a part of the act that you don't change what ain't broke. This is only my own speculative wondering though- I've no idea at all if this has anything to do with it.
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  #14  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:45 PM
Serenata67 Serenata67 is offline
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Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
Teller is the real talent behind their act, and probably has a lot of input in the Bullshit! show as well. Penn is merely the loud abrasive frontman. He's like the huckster showman at the carnival.
I like the idea of Penn is the huckster showman at the carnival... never thought up that image, but I like it.

Teller is involved in the writing... so while it may be Penn doing all the yelling, it's quite possibly Teller's words he's yelling.
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  #15  
Old 08-17-2009, 10:04 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
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He doesn't talk on the show much, but he does speak quite a bit elsewhere.

Peller talking about a trick.
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  #16  
Old 08-17-2009, 10:09 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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Teller gets quite a bit of dialog at the end of their movie Penn and Teller Get Killed. He also says "Hi, Dave" during one of the Letterman appearances, though this was okay since he wasn't the real Teller but simply a lifelike Teller manikin, which Penn demonstrated when he used a pair of scissors to cut off "Teller's" tongue.
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  #17  
Old 08-17-2009, 10:14 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
I've wondered if his not speaking is because he has an effeminate voice.
Err, no.
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  #18  
Old 08-17-2009, 10:20 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is offline
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He appeared on some sort of "History of Magic" show one one of the basic cable channels (TLC, A&E?) some years back, and talked quite a bit. I clearly remember him talking about practicing palming things, using a small wrench for an example, and saying that when he was in school, he would take a small object such as the wrench, palm it, and walk around all day with it in his hand, trying to make his everyday movements as natural as possible.

After their Vegas show, both Penn and Teller come out to the lobby, where they shake hands, sign autographs, and pose for pictures. Teller talks to the fans just like Penn does during these sessions.
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  #19  
Old 08-17-2009, 10:42 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Teller used to do commentaries on All Things Considered. No to the "effeminate voice," yes to "He is the brains of the operation." Penn is the unpleasant equivalent to a woman with big boobs in a sparkling suit, there to distract you while the dog's work is being done behind him.

Last edited by dropzone; 08-17-2009 at 10:43 PM..
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  #20  
Old 08-17-2009, 10:50 PM
astorian astorian is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post

Rumor is that Teller's gay- he doesn't 'speak' to the issue obviously. The reason I mention is that I've wondered if his not speaking is because he has an effeminate voice. Today it wouldn't be that big a deal (I don't think anybody believed Siegfried & Roy were two "wild and crazy" bachelors, and in fact I used to assume David Copperfield was until he started dating models and getting sued for sexual harassment) but I can see how 30 years ago it would have been difficult- imagine being an effeminate gay magician working a room full of roughnecks- the fairy jokes would get really old really fast, and I can see how it would eventually just become such a part of the act that you don't change what ain't broke. This is only my own speculative wondering though- I've no idea at all if this has anything to do with it.
I know absolutely nothing about Teller's private life, but he HAS spoken publicly in several settings, including "Penn and Teller Get Killed."

I have no idea whether he's gay, but he does NOT sound stereotypically effeminate. He has a pretty ordinary, unremarkable speaking voice.
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  #21  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:12 AM
cochrane cochrane is online now
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According to Wikipedia, Teller's silent act originated during his youth, when he performed magic at college frat parties. He found that if he stayed silent, then spectators would refrain from heckling and throwing beer at him and they would focus more on his performance.
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  #22  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:34 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parthenokinesis View Post
That's pretty dismissive. Teller is certainly a more talented magician, but Penn is a more talented comedian. Since they bridge the two genres, and it's that bridge that made them as successful as they are, calling Teller the talent is just plain inaccurate. The "magic" in their act occurs in the meeting place between Teller's mechanics and Penn's patter

On a side note, Penn is also a pretty talented juggler, which they use to some effect in their act.
Fair enough. My minimal words didn't really encapsulate the relationship. having said that, though, Penn himself is usually equally as dismissive about his side of the act as I unintentionally was.
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  #23  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:52 AM
pepperlandgirl pepperlandgirl is offline
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Penn has flat out said several times that when they first began their act, and they were basically street magicians, he was the huckster who would entice the crowd. It was a role he knowingly and consciously took on. He's also flat out said that Teller is the technical magician. Their live show really does a wonderful job of highlighting Teller's talents. He has several bits where he is alone on the stage and he's simply unbelievable. I think he's probably the most graceful person I have ever seen. Fittingly, he's also extremely gracious (as is Penn who is, in addition, very tall).
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  #24  
Old 08-18-2009, 07:49 AM
corkboard corkboard is offline
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I worked with P&T several times on extended gigs where they were rehearsing their stage act in advance of going on tour. I was a stagehand and our stage crew worked with them for a month or so at a time, on 2 or 3 different occasions. Typically, Teller is on stage with the crew planning out blocking, locations of the set pieces, discussing lighting and technical stage directions with the crew, etc. while Penn is at the craft services table chatting up the cocktail waitresses.

Which is not to say that Penn doesn't contribute- it's as if Penn is completely aware of everything Teller's doing on stage even though it appears he's a million miles away, lost in the waitress's cleavage, or something. But then when it's time for him on stage, he doesn't miss a beat- he knows where he needs to be and when, and what to do when he gets there.

There's nothing about Teller, voice or otherwise, to indicate that he's gay. Or straight. We were always trying to figure out his persuasion, or if he even had one. They're both really nice guys.
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  #25  
Old 08-18-2009, 10:03 AM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
Brand name recognition. Who would watch Penn's Bullshit?
Oh, you mean Identity.
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  #26  
Old 08-18-2009, 10:11 AM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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Originally Posted by MyFootsZZZ View Post
Didn't he lend his voice to The Simpsons?
If I recollect right, he was the voice of Comedy Central in the late '80s/early '90s. Their subsequent announcers have been doing their best Penn impression since.
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  #27  
Old 08-18-2009, 10:21 AM
h.sapiens h.sapiens is offline
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Teller sometimes talks on stage, but not as "Teller" his stage persona. I saw their act several years ago, and Teller provided the voice for Mofo the Psychic Gorilla, and the voice of the ghost of Harry Houdini in two routines. When he was Mofo, he just stood off to the side of the stage and spoke into a handheld mic, so it was no secret what was going on. As Houdini, he was hidden behind a sheet whenever he was speaking or singing.

And yes, I believe that when Penn and Teller were on the Simpsons, that Teller had at least one line.
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  #28  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:20 AM
Baker Baker is online now
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P&T guest starred on an episode of Babylon 5, playing a comedy team. Basically, Reebo and Zooty were the same as P&T.

Interestingly only Reebo(Penn) spoke. But as the team were about to leave the station Zooty(Teller) took the captain aside and whispered into his ear. You couldn't hear anything though.
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  #29  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:39 AM
Mr. Miskatonic Mr. Miskatonic is offline
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Originally Posted by Baker View Post
P&T guest starred on an episode of Babylon 5, playing a comedy team. Basically, Reebo and Zooty were the same as P&T.

Interestingly only Reebo(Penn) spoke. But as the team were about to leave the station Zooty(Teller) took the captain aside and whispered into his ear. You couldn't hear anything though.
The best part about that is that Reebo & Zooty were referenced a full season before when Ambassador Molari complained about not understanding humans and using the act of R&Z as an example (Zoot! Zoot! Zoot!).
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  #30  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:41 PM
Push You Down Push You Down is online now
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Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
and in fact I used to assume David Copperfield was until he started dating models and getting sued for sexual harassment)

No.. you were right the first time.
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  #31  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:10 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is online now
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Originally Posted by Baker View Post
P&T guest starred on an episode of Babylon 5, playing a comedy team. Basically, Reebo and Zooty were the same as P&T.

Interestingly only Reebo(Penn) spoke. But as the team were about to leave the station Zooty(Teller) took the captain aside and whispered into his ear. You couldn't hear anything though.

And ISTR that Zooty told the captain either very important/wise or something very secret/funny that the Captain was very surprised about but refused to tell anyone about.
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  #32  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:18 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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I've seen Teller break character at least once before, on Celebrity Fear Factor. Teller silently did all the stunts with Penn following along doing the commentary. After pulling off one particulalry awesome death-defying trick, he started jumping around in elation and shouting "Yes! Yes!" Penn smiled and said "You talked!"
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  #33  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:51 PM
Telemark Telemark is online now
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Originally Posted by pravnik View Post
I've seen Teller break character at least once before, on Celebrity Fear Factor. Teller silently did all the stunts with Penn following along doing the commentary. After pulling off one particulalry awesome death-defying trick, he started jumping around in elation and shouting "Yes! Yes!" Penn smiled and said "You talked!"
See post #7.
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  #34  
Old 08-18-2009, 03:21 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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P&T were on Joan Rivers' daytime show once. They did the trick of suspending her between two folding chairs, then removing one of them. IIRC, Penn said, "Are you doing okay, Joan?" Teller turned his head away from the camera so you couldn't see his mouth move and answered for her, "Yes, I'm fine." I think that was the first time I heard him speak.
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  #35  
Old 08-18-2009, 03:27 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
See post #7.
In my defense, that wasn't up yet when I started on my post. My thumbs are broken, so I'm typing with my feet. Takes a while.
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  #36  
Old 08-18-2009, 03:31 PM
ftg ftg is online now
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The first time I heard Teller talk was in their cable special Invisible Thread where he yelled something like "Hey Penn" into a megaphone. (His mouth wasn't visible of course.)

While Penn did all the jive talking to try and save the planet it was Teller's idea of using the Invisible Thread trick that worked. I assume that's the way they work. Teller figures things out/does the work and Penn talks about it.

(BTW, check out that list of guest appearances.)
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  #37  
Old 08-18-2009, 04:18 PM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is online now
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Originally Posted by pravnik View Post
In my defense, that wasn't up yet when I started on my post. My thumbs are broken, so I'm typing with my feet. Takes a while.
You should try using a pencil in your nose.

Or maybe in your mouth, but not after it was in your nose.
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  #38  
Old 08-19-2009, 12:17 AM
Just Some Guy Just Some Guy is offline
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Originally Posted by Baker View Post
Interestingly only Reebo(Penn) spoke. But as the team were about to leave the station Zooty(Teller) took the captain aside and whispered into his ear. You couldn't hear anything though.
And in one of those odd moments Teller's character had a box as part of his comedy routine that spoke but in this case it was the voice of Harlan Ellison.
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  #39  
Old 08-19-2009, 02:52 AM
nivlac nivlac is offline
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It was James Randi's suggestion to Penn and Teller that got the two together. According to the Amazing One he saw the potential in the act because they're so different like Laurel & Hardy. The rest is history!
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  #40  
Old 08-19-2009, 06:54 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
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Just for the record, Teller speaks in character at the end of their movie Penn and Teller Get Killed

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098073/trivia
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  #41  
Old 08-20-2009, 12:22 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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It's all part of their "don't ask, don't teller" policy. The allure of mystery with a slight-of-mouth for affect.
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  #42  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:17 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
He doesn't talk on the show much, but he does speak quite a bit elsewhere.

Peller talking about a trick.
And here's a speech by Teller about consciousness and magic and the way magicians manipulate people's tendency to see patterns of behavior:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...03098815744181
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  #43  
Old 08-20-2009, 08:13 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Originally Posted by Birdmonster View Post
....

Teller never talked during their magic acts (pre-Bullshit, though they may still do them---I'm unsure there).
Unless they've stopped recently, they still play the Rio in Vegas. Its a good show.

I haven't seen them tour for years.
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  #44  
Old 08-20-2009, 08:30 AM
glee glee is offline
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In their brilliant current act at the Rio in Vegas, Penn does the commentary, juggling, plays the double bass and of course magic.
Teller does magic (some of it solo plus I understand he thought up most of the act) and ... speaks!

SPOILER:
Teller speaks in one trick, but you don't realise it's Teller until the end.


P.S. Teller has an amazing house in the Vegas suburbs.

Last edited by glee; 08-20-2009 at 08:31 AM..
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  #45  
Old 08-20-2009, 12:37 PM
VarlosZ VarlosZ is offline
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I saw Teller speak on stage, as Teller. This would have been about 15 years ago. While Teller was walking about the stage setting up the next trick, Penn was talking to the audience. Towards the end of his spiel, Penn says something like:

"Now, of course Teller would never speak on stage, but in real life he talks just as you or I would. Isn't that right, Teller?"
"Right."


I also got to go onstage for Mofo the Psychic Gorilla (it was my job to recognize Teller, sitting next to me in costume, and to accidentally walk over to him when "Mofo" summons me; I'd seen the trick before, so I played the part). Another time I went onstage to throw darts at bible verses.

Last edited by VarlosZ; 08-20-2009 at 12:38 PM..
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  #46  
Old 08-20-2009, 12:38 PM
ministryman ministryman is offline
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They even took their shtick to Run D.M.C.'s "Tricky" Video.

Watch for Teller "not" rapping at the end. I thought my audio had gone out.....DOH!
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  #47  
Old 08-22-2009, 07:14 PM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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We saw them years ago when they were on tour. What a great show. As noted, Teller talks plenty when he's not in character as "Teller" -- we chatted in the lobby with him, and he did both the Houdini and MOFO bits in the show we saw. Indeed, in the MOFO bit they even played this part up -- a kid was brought on stage to write a number on a piece of paper so MOFO could guess it with his amazing psychic powers. So while the kid is writing it, Teller creeps up behind him, peers over the kid's shoulder, and then goes back to the wings so he could say the number in character as MOFO when Penn asked for it.

--Cliffy
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  #48  
Old 08-22-2009, 08:20 PM
Lochdale Lochdale is offline
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He does indeed speak as many others noted. I'm a big fan and I love their show Bullshit.
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  #49  
Old 08-22-2009, 08:36 PM
Interconnected Series of Tubes Interconnected Series of Tubes is offline
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Teller is the pen and Penn is the teller.

Simple.
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  #50  
Old 08-22-2009, 09:20 PM
oliversarmy oliversarmy is offline
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Teller speaks

I'm breaking a pledge to never post here again, but, in this case I must.

I've spoken to both Penn and Teller. They both spoke back.

Teller's silence on stage and TV is part of the act.

They both are extremely nice guys who go out of their way to be polite and engaging to the people who have made them rich and famous.
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