Penn Jillette On Looking Forward To Getting Back On Stage Post-COVID: 'I Love Doing Shows, It's Really Been My Whole Life'
Penn & Teller: Fool Us returns on Monday, June 22nd at 8/9c airing on The CW. Penn & Teller are back with special host Alyson Hannigan in a new season of episodes filmed before the COVID-19 pandemic. This season is packed with never before seen tricks and even a very special treat as Penn Jillette takes the stage to fool his long time partner.
CBS Local's Matt Weiss spoke to Penn about his quarantine routine and what's to come in this new season.
MW: Penn, good morning, how are you?
PJ: Good morning, how are you doing?
MW: Doing well, doing well. A lot going on with quarantine, where are you right now? Where are you hunkering down?
PJ: I'm in my home in Las Vegas where I have been for three months apparently just sitting in this chair.
MW: I think a lot of people can relate to you. You probably can't say too much but any tricks you've been developing during the last few months at home?
PJ: Well, yeah. Teller and I are working very often over Zoom. We've got three or four tricks that are brand new that we've been able to think of and write. We've even been able to do a certain amount of rehearsal electronically. I'm doing a lot of practicing.
I know that all the card magicians in the world are getting better. No one is better at sitting in front of a mirror alone than magicians. We're all doing a lot of practicing. I'm playing my base. I am fortunate to be locked down with my family. I'm spending a lot of time with my wife and children. Although having two teenagers 14 and 15 locked in the house for months is a little like living with a horse in a closet. But I'm hanging in.
MW: Just think how much easier it will be once everything opens back up; parenting will be a piece of cake.
PJ: Absolutely. Parenting gets easy again.
MW: Season seven of Penn And Teller: Fool Us premieres tonight on The CW. What can you tell us about tonight's episode and also the new season as a whole?
PJ: Tonight's episode, we've been on sevens seasons, so hundreds of magicians have come on. Even though only 12% fool us. Tonight's show is a nail biter because we have all magicians who have fooled us twice before and are coming back to fool us a third time. We were wicked nervous when we recorded that.
Also, in a couple weeks we have a contestant who's never been on the show before and that is me. I spent a whole year behind Teller's back working on a magic trick. The producers didn't tell him. He didn't know until Alyson introduced me as the next contestant. I tell you I was trembling as I go on. Instead of Penn and Teller it's Penn vs Teller. That was pretty nerve wracking.
We have wonderful magicians; it was all shot before the pandemic. We finished up right before lock down, so you've got kind of a refreshing look for the show. Magicians from all over the world, China, Japan, Italy, Spain, and you've got a full live audience and no social distancing people on stage. It's kind of nice to remember the way the world was and the way we hope very soon will be again.
MW: It'll be really cool to see that, people sitting next to each other indoors. Could you even imagine something like that.
PJ: Yeah, it's crazy talk. [laughs]
MW: Yeah, very weird. You mentioned Alyson and she's so well-known, she's been in the spotlight for a long time. What's it like working with her?
PJ: Well, she's fantastic. She's just wonderful. The nice thing is she's not a magician. She comes into this club of people and then she gets to watch it all with fresh eyes. It's wonderful for the audience but also for us to be able to see the magic through Alyson's eyes.
MW: Awesome. Last question before I let you go. We touched on a little bit of quarantine earlier and the world is a very different place than it was when the show was recorded. What does it mean to you to be able to provide people with entertainment and an escape when they really need it?
PJ: It's really been my whole life. I love doing shows. This pandemic is the longest I've gone without doing a show in front of live people for 53 years.
PJ: I started when I was very young and it's a very strange thing. I'm so looking forward to not only doing shows on television but being back in front of people live. It's a really wonderful interaction that I think when we come back, I may appreciate it even more.
MW: Definitely looking forward to Penn vs Teller. I might put that on my calendar, look out for that.
PJ: Thank you! [laughs]
MW: Awesome talking to you. All the best and stay safe.
PJ: Nice talking to you Matt!
Penn & Teller: Fool Us returns to The CW for season seven on Monday, June 22nd at 9/8c. Check your local listings for more information.
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