14 Years and Still Going Strong – The Boisterous Penn and Silent Teller
For those who like the magic without smoke and mirrors, the long running Penn & Teller show at the Rio Hotel is a must see. An intelligent production, this duo has been shocking, awing, and sometimes ticking off audiences all over the world for over 30 years. And even though they are always in demand elsewhere, they still manage to show up in Vegas 6 nights a week.
The physical appearance and onstage personas of Penn Fraser Jillette and Raymond Joseph Teller are very distinct. The big boisterous dude is Penn, and the small quiet guy is Teller. Penn is the one quick to give an opinion onstage while Teller never says a single abracadabra throughout the entire show.
And the Magic is Born
Penn & Teller were introduced in 1975 and almost immediately started performing live together as a trio with Weir Chrisimer. Weir left showbiz in 1981 and the duo was left to their own devices. They got rave reviews for an off-Broadway show as well as an Emmy for their PBS special. The schtick? Reveal some of the mystery behind magic, but somehow still make the audience scratch their heads in disbelief. It worked, and the pair has gone on to make dozens of TV appearances, including talk shows, sitcoms and music videos.
Penn & Teller Take Vegas
The famed pair made their first Vegas appearances starting in 1993, and began their residency at the Rio in 2001. This makes them the longest running headliners in Vegas who are still in the same hotel. Unlike other magical acts, Penn & Teller take a humoristic view of illusions and expose the audience to a whole other side of mind trickery.
Touted as being genius, eccentric and hilarious, the show is well received despite the absence of half naked assistants, big blasts of flames and the usual high-end theatrics found in magic acts. Instead, the audience is entertained by a never ending stream of intelligently delivered wit by Penn and perfectly delivered tricks by Teller.
A Bit of Controversy
There is no mistaking the pairs disdain for much of the so-called magic that lures people in. This has been seen not only in a number of their televised shows, but also on stage. One group in particular, who Penn & Teller enjoy debunking are psychics while at the same time thrilling the audience with their apparent psychic ability.
While many believe that the pair is revealing industry secrets, the truth is that many of the sleight of hand and illusions that you see have been put together by Penn & Teller just so they can have the fun in showing off how they did it.
You are going to be shocked, awed and entertained for every second of the 90 minute Penn & Teller show. Despite it being severely understated in comparison to other Vegas shows, the intelligence behind the acts, the dry humor and non-stop confusion about how these tricks are being pulled off gives it the appeal needed to last as long in Vegas – and in showbiz- as these two guys have.