Penn and Teller have their own theater at the Rio in Las Vegas and make millions, so I don’t think his not speaking onstage* has constrained him one bit. He adopted the non-speaking persona to get audiences to pay attention very early on in his career, and it seems to have worked ever since.
That being said, I think it would have been funnier on TBBT if he hadn’t actually spoken. Rather than saying thank you, I think he should have just given a big grin and a thumbs-up.
I seem to recall Teller did speak onstage in a number of instances, just not as “Teller”. He voiced Mofo the Psychic Gorilla, and a few other things in the P&T show over the years.
Something just occurred to me, and I could be totally wrong here, but I seem to recall reading or hearing that actors who don’t speak are paid less than those who do - maybe that’s why he had to have a line…
“Fan service” would have been having the final scene being all the men singing Stand By Me to Sheldon and Amy. With the sing along being conducted by Rob Reiner and/or Stephen King (I’d throw Benny King into the scene if he were still alive).
And it would still be better than the Krepkie singing ending.
I have a similar problem when the NPR station lists their sponsors. I can’t tell if it’s the Ann E Casey Foundation or the Annie Casey Foundation. And Googling, I find that it’s actually The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
If anyone is interested, back in the day, before Teller had started to speak occasionally in movies and radio appearances, and was always totally silent, members of his family were asked not to reveal whether or not he actually could speak.
I know this, because I used to babysit for the daughter of Teller’s first cousin’s daughter. P&T did a performance in town, and I went, and ran into the family I babysat for in the audience. I asked the cousin if Teller could speak and just didn’t, or if he was covering for something like a bad stutter, or actually couldn’t speak for some reason, and she said “I’m not allowed to say.”
On the plus side, she did take me backstage to meet them, on the promise that I not gush, just shake hands and skedaddle, which I did. She had a backstage pass. They were quite nice, considering they’d just done a show, and were probably exhausted. I said “Thank you; I really enjoyed the show.” Penn said “Thank you for coming,” and I said “Wouldn’t have missed it for anything,” then said “Privilege to meet you. Hope you enjoy our town. Goodbye,” and high-tailed it. Or something like that.
Teller didn’t say anything, but he smiled and shook hands.
If you go see their show in Vegas (I have a few times), after every performance both of them greet the audience as they are leaving the theater and take pictures, sign autographs and talk. I have spoken to Teller a few times. His stock answer if you say to him “hey, you can speak!” is “hey, so can you!”