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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Presto! An Evening with Penn Jillette

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ALISON CUDDY: Hello, all of you!

It's great to see you. So great to see

you. So I want to start, it's

wonderful to see you, wonderful to have

you here and I'm excited to talk with

you and I wanted to start by

congratulating you on writing a book

about dieting that is funny and

entertaining and totally smart which is

not I don't think an easy thing to do.

PENN JILLETTE: Thanks! It's the only book that I that I

written that I've written like eight

that people seem to want me to write, you

know. No one wanted a book on atheism or

cheating at poker, but when I lost

this huge amount of weight, which i did

not lose some sort of stunt or vanity,

it was strictly for health. Many, many,

many people would come up to me because

I was you know, I was known and on TV as

a fat fuck, and said, you know, how did

you do this? So I had to kind of, you know,

I felt that if I put it down in a book

it'd be a little easier than telling

each person individually. AC: right and

a little more efficient. PJ: This a very good time

to say and this is very important if

you take, and i'm going to speak freely

about what I believe about this, but if

you take medical advice from a Las Vegas


you are an asshole and you deserve to

die. [laughter]

Now I will speak freely with my medical

opinions. [AC:] Terrific.

Ok, so I love what you write in the book,

you say I know that big parts of this

might be bullshit but I joined the cult,

which is a surprising thing to

hear from someone who is a

self-proclaimed atheist who hosted a

show called Bullshit, where, you know

really try to oust a lot of or out a

lot of charlatans and hucksters and maybe

cult leaders, but so talk about that.

What was the cult? [PJ:] There's just,

there's a piece of information

that completely blows my mind and that

is placebos work even if you know they're


I don't even know how they tested that!

What was the control group on that?

But they do and my friend Cray Ray,

who's Ray Cronise, who I met when he

was in NASA, he's the one that took me on

the vomit comet, where I was weightless. He's

been involved in my weight for a long while.

He's been a friend for many many years,

as a matter of fact, if anybody saw a

movie I did called Tim's Vermeer,

where Tim Jenison is building Vermeer's

studio in a in a warehouse in San

Antonio, Texas. Ray is the one driving the

forklift knocking down the wall in that.

Ray started this program with some

real scientists to try to get people to

to lose weight for for health purposes

in a different way, and this would never

go out to the public, they'd only run it

with like a few hundred people, which

might as well be 0 when you're doing

scientific testing, and so this book is

very odd, because one of the guinea pigs,

one of the first people through this was

me, and I wrote a book. So the popular

book came out before the book that

actually backs it up. The book that will

actually be peer-reviewed, I mean this

book is also peer-reviewed, but I'm a Vegas

performer, so my peers are Carrot Top.

But peer reviewed by scientists, will be

out after this, and one of the things

that Cray Ray, as I call him, was discovering,

was that a lot of these techniques that

are used for very unpleasant purposes

can actually be used with the subjects'

full knowledge you're using them, so Ray

would say to me you're not allowed to

talk to anybody about what you're doing.

First rule of Fight Club is you don't

talk about Fight Club, you know, you're not

allowed to get support from your family

and friends and talk to them. I'm going

to cut you off the people you usually talk

to. You're also going to take everything i

say as absolute gospel, and you will go

with that even when i'm not sure what

I'm saying, I'm going to say it as though

I was sure and you're going to believe

it. And the strange thing is you can make

a decision to fall for all this

bullshit, while knowing it's bullshit and

it still seems to work on some sort of

very deep lizard brain

level. I found that

really fascinating and I followed all

the rules, as a matter of fact in the

three-and-a-half months that i was going

through this with Ray, I did not vary off

the program. [AC:] You would call him, like he

was your sponsor. [PJ:] Absolutely, and I

would call them on everything. I did not

make one mistake the whole time, and to

give you an idea of how effective this

was, my average, and the word average

is really important,

my average for this time was point nine

pounds a day is what I lost.

I say a hundred and ten, i was on it

for three months, those numbers don't

really sync up because i did lose some

of the weight beforehand, but when i was

actually losing the weight, and all sorts

of things that Ray discovered are, you

can't say counterintuitive because they

are intuitive, but they're

countercultural, which is

if you want to gain a lot of weight

frequent high protein meals and lots of

exercise. That's bodybuilding and that

works and it's working to make a lot of

people very very fat. For the time that I

was losing the weight, I did not exercise

I soon as I lost the weight, got to my target

weight, I started right away exercising.

Exercise is very very good but not when

you're trying to lose weight, I did not

worried at all about protein, and I ate

meals very infrequently, I mean even now

I try to go about 16 hours before

first calorie after I've eaten, so i ate last

night about 1am, and i haven't eaten

since. [AC:] That's a long stretch.

[PJ:] Yeah, but you get really used to it and

also learn when you're, there's a

different kind of hunger you get, or at

least I get, once again all of this is

very, very personal, so

I'm not saying this is what you should

do or what will work for you, but I found

when I was eating fat, salt, and sugar all

the time that going two or three hours

without food caused headaches and caused

my stomach to grumble. It was very very

uncomfortable. I find now that I eat

whole plants and extremely low salt,

sugar, and oil, that after 15 hours

without eating

I get this wonderful feeling of

well-being and comfort, and I don't ever

feel the hunger I felt when I was eating

the other diet. Now there's all sorts of

theories about microbiome changing and

there's words thrown around like

addiction, which I don't like to use, cause I

don't think anybody knows what it means, but

there certainly is, for me, a very, very

different relationship with the word


It's really different. [AC:] I like

too that you write in the book, and I

think it's something that we all could

use to think about. I mean

essentially what happened in this

sort of, maybe more extreme approach to

dieting, something that seemed really

unorthodox, which I'm sure was appealing

in some ways, was that you took your food

goggles off, like you started sort of

seeing food culture and the kind of

world of food you've been living in and

how you been eating it in a way that you

might not have you hadn't decided to eat

potatoes for two weeks. [PJ:] You know there's

a very strange thing which is, I've

always known that I wasn't particularly

good in moderation, but I came to realize

that not only am I not good at it, I don't

respect it.

If you're good at moderation, I think

you're an asshole.

The people that I love and respect are

not good at moderation, and I don't need

to go into quoting the famous Kerouac,

but it's very much like that, and it's

very, very funny that I didn't

identify theologically with what all

Americans did, I don't watch the TV

that's the most popular, and also the

music that's the most popular, I don't

read the books that are most popular, and

yet I was eating absolutely straight

down the middle of what was the most

popular, and when my doctor said --- I

was wicked sick ---

my doctor said that they were going to

do a stomach sleeve on me, because I was

so fat, and they couldn't get my blood

pressure down. When he said that, what he

offered me was that we're going to do

something extreme,

we're going to cut me open, because of

this. So all of a sudden, this operation

was scheduled few months down the line,

all of a sudden, I was given this freedom

to go crazy, and what Ray offered me was

something that was really, really hard to

do. And my conversation with Ray went like

this, and the beauty of this to my

personality is so pure, I said to Ray, "You

know the doctor says I gotta lose like

30 pounds," and he said, "Why not lose a

hundred? A hundred would be better." and I said,

"Do you have an easy way for me to do that?"

He said, "NO!

Itt'll be really hard. Really, really

really hard and you have to really work

hard and be real proud of it when you're

done, but you worked hard on juggling, you

worked hard on magic, you worked hard

playing bass, you worked hard at day-to-day

life, your dad worked hard your mom worked

hard, everything they respect, why the

fuck you want to do this easy way?" and it

was this incredible revelation of. wow

this could be something that I can focus

on and really be proud of and do it in kind

of a puritanical, mind-over-matter way,

instead of having a

piece of salmon this big, why not try

having a piece of salmon this big? All of

that stuff had never worked for me for a

moment but going crazy, and to give you

an idea of how crazy we went, for the

first two weeks I did what's called a

mono diet and the idea of a mono diet is

to take away food as entertainment, take

away food socially, and get you away from

the advertising you eat just one thing.

Now, that one thing you eat can be any whole

plant, it could be brown rice, could be

broccoli, it could be beans, but we chose

potatoes, because potatoes are funny and

I thought that eating nothing but plain

potatoes. [AC:] What's funny about


[PJ:] you just said the word potato. [AC:] You say potato, I say

say potato. It's a little lump.

[PJ:] It's a funny thing, potato and saying I'm eating nothing but -

It also solves the entertainment problem because

they're not entertaining

It solves a social problem because

of the whole time the two weeks i was

eating nothing but potatoes

not one person called me and said, Hey

man just landed in vegas,

let's go get a potato. And he also

doesn't let you eat at mealtimes or

socially, you just eat when you're really,

really hungry, you have a potato and it's

amazing, and I describe this in the book

and I've described it to friends, and

nobody believes me but I'm telling you

it is true, I spent two weeks eating nothing but

potatoes, I lost 16 pounds in those two

weeks. I felt so much better, day three

and four are horrible,

they're awful, you feel terrible, and then

day five you get this wonderful

feeling, you're essentially

fasting, the potatoes aren't giving you

that much

caloric content, so you're essentially

fasting but then on day 15, Cray Ray said you

can have a piece of corn on the cob have

some corn on the cob and my taste buds

have been so used to habituated to

salt sugar and fat

it was like I couldn't taste any more

and I had that corn and I'm telling

you it was the most intense wonderful

flavors I ever had

I never realized that corn was sweet I

never realized that corner with salty

and this is without butter without

anything on it

I never realized that there's all these

complex flavors

it's kind of like you've been listening

to nothing but three-chord rock and roll

at deafening volumes and you love it

because three-chord rock-and-roll

at deafening volumes is wonderful and then

all of a sudden decide to turn it down

and playing there is Miles Davis and

Stravinsky and there's all these

wonderful experiences that were always

there you were just covering them up and

that first piece of corn I knew that

that there was a huge change that

happened and the change and I'm

embarrassed to say this because has been

has been mentioned other places I've

said it once or twice before I'm an


um so I don't believe in any sort of

mind brain separation I believe that

what we experience is chemical I really

do believe that and yet if you'd asked me

when I was fat

do you think being fat affects your mood

I would've said of course not

there's me there's pen and there's this

body well that that's separating out

everything we know that is the most non

atheist thing you can say and I was kind

of embarrassed because as this weight

dropped off me

my mood changed and I smiled more and I

say this with a great deal of shame I

have two young children they're 10 and 11

years old they noticed I was happier and

I thought I was always thrilled to be

around them. [AC:]Well you could play with them more.

[PJ]: Well, sure, I always forced myself to do it, but I

didn't know they knew I was pushing

to do that and I didn't know they saw

right through me which of course your

children always see through you on

everything and but I was so amazed that

I did it because I had to get my blood

pressure under control and there are all

these other things among the most

surprising was enjoying food

I used to eat anything I wanted

which turned out to be three things fat

sugar and salt and when I stop eating

those things when I limited my diet all of a

sudden the food I ate I now hundreds of

things and I now experience all these

different tastes it's a it was a

remarkable thing and I should also say

that many of my friends and a lot of

people have heard me talk about this

have done the same thing and have had very

very similar results we're very eager

for Ray to get his book out so

that you're not just hearing this from

a nut but you can actually hear

it from people who are scientists. [AC:] Right, right you can read the science.

I mean it is interesting because you do

talk like you're a convert in a way right

you and there were parts of this

that you didn't fully understand and parts

that were maybe a little concerning like

you had this light headedness when you

were doing the show

and they never could really figure out

why that was happening. [PJ:] Could never figure it out, still don't know

[AC:] but nonetheless you stuck with it

[PJ:] I stuck with it and it's

really it's really been been really fun

[AC:] It's made you happy. [PJ:] I should also say and I

I forgive me for doing all these

disclaimers I'm not doing them for legal

reasons I really am doing them for moral

reasons because I really am a Las

Vegas magician

I'm not a scientist I don't have any

information on this but I will say I

also have my doctor who I told all about

this he talked to Ray he had all the

information and when you lose weight

this quickly I was on six top doses of

strong blood pressure meds so as I

started losing weight my blood pressure

came down the very medicines that were

stopping me from stroking out became

poison so I had to take my blood

pressure every day and there were times

I was using a withings scale and blood

pressure cuff that sent the information

instantly to my doctor as soon as I took

it I had times when I got pretty much

emergency calls from my doctor saying do

not take that pill tonight your blood

pressure will crash so what I was doing

was very much extreme you know when you

read books on diet it's usually all about

making it easy and fun and safe and what

this was was you know hardcore crazy you know.

this was punk rock this was not the

carpenters [laughter]

to use a contemporary example

[AC:] right, very contemporary

this was not emo music this was punk

The extreme side of your

personality and that punk rock that was

the term that people used to describe

what you and Teller were doing and

even before that when there were three

of you that kind of magic you were doing

and the show you were putting on where does

that come from

for you I mean how did you develop that

personality was it your parents you said

they were super hard workers like you

are but what what drew you to the

extreme to the unconventional to like

trying to like turn things over

you know I don't think I don't think we

have access to that I just don't think

we know what makes us who we are

you know I was from a small town the

first person I ever met in show business

was me [laughter]

[AC:] How was that? [PJ:] well I I thought that I mean Steve

Martin said if you desperately want to

be in show business and have no talent

you should become a magician and he's

exactly right. [AC:] you're not kind of magicians

in this book . [PJ:] I'm not but I mean it's

all done with a great

deal of love the truth of the

matter is that magic can be very easily

a way to hide behind the trick because

magic tricks done badly still have some


you're still you have built-in irony

without having to have any wit because

you have automatically something is

different than what it appears to be in

everyone knows that that automatically

gives you a fascination even with no


no clever turn of phrase no nothing now I

did not like magicians when I was when I

was young because I've always been

obsessed with lying and I always thought

that lying was wrong and it took me a

long time to realize that when you put the

proscenium around something those lies

can become art and it was a very hard

thing for me to realize so I

became a juggler because the juggler is

the opposite of a magician

magicians are always trying to do things

the easy way

jugglers will try to do it hard I would

learn my entire routine and then learn

it all left-handed and you know [laughs]

then I would say well I can do this

juggling pattern for a long time I

wonder if I can go two hours without

missing stand there do the same stupid

shit for two hours and that was my

personality so I learned to juggle

when I was 12 and then I would do you

know get five dollars to do a show in a

nursing home you know and then we would

do like you know the the overnights at

the YMCA we would be the entertainment and

I found out that with this with this

Mike Motion who's

the Macarthur Grant juggler probably the

most important juggler of the 20th century

which is the definition of damning with

faint praise [laughter] I taught him to juggle and

he went on to be great I went on not to but

we discovered when we did our shows

that we started out doing like 19

minutes of juggling and I would do one

minute of talking and we got paid five

dollars and then I started doing you know

16 minutes of juggling and four minutes

of talking and we got eight dollars by

the time we were out of high school we

were doing three minutes of juggling and

17 minutes of talking and I just started

weaseling my way into show business that

way but when people ask me my influences

in magic you know

Teller will always answer first and

Houdini and [inaudible]

he studied magic from the time he was

five years old and then he will bring in

Hitchcock and Poe you know but the

influence is I had on magic were Bob

Dylan, Lenny Bruce, Kerouac you know

this is what I was completely immersed

in you know The Mothers of Invention

Captain Beefheart these are the people

that I absolutely loved and adored and

were so different from Greenfield

Massachusetts so when I first started

working with Teller and we were dealing

with how to tell the truth my

sensibility was not that I had grown-up

always wanting to do card fans my

sensibility was I was trying desperately

to find some way you know I wanted to be

a musician and I looked at the hand I

was dealt and I simply didn't have the

talent I don't have really good

intonation and also there's what I

call the Guns and Roses problem which is

when you're starting Guns and Roses and

you love the Rolling Stones as soon as

you put on Sticky Fingers

why don't you disband Guns and Roses [laughter]

I wanted to be the Velvet Underground

there was a Velvet Underground I

wasn't going to do it better

I wasn't going to be better than Dylan

just don't hold your breath 'til I win

the Nobel Prize in literature don't

don't wait for that so I would look and

say well if I go into music I'm going to

be competing with Lou Reed, Frank Zappa

Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan I don't have

a chance if i go into magic I'm gonna be

competing with Doug Henning and David

Copperfield I can kick their fucking

asses [laughter] you know you have to look at what

you're handed if I was handed the hand

that Bob Dylan was handed I would be

in music but you know in this i'm able to

carve out a little bit of a space for


Teller also believes that you get

interesting stuff out of people who

don't belong in a field and once again

I use the Guns and Roses example

If you're desperately

trying to be the Stones then the

difference between Guns and, Guns and

Roses are a wonderful band and great performers

but they are

we've got the Stones you know so it's

it's all in the margins the differences

whereas if you come into something that

you really don't like Alfred Hitchcock

once said if you want to make movies

don't see movies that are great and say

I'm going to do that see movies that are

terrible and say at least I won't do


so Teller and I used to go to magic

shows and say here are the 10 things we

hate from that show these are 10 things

we won't do and that seems like a really

good way you know people come up to me

after the show sometimes and they'll say

you know I really hated this about your

show and I say something that I meant

completely sincerely and from the heart

but it came out so snotty I never found

a way to say it with kindness but the

real thing I really feel is when someone

comes up and says you know I hate the

blasphemy in your show I hate the fact

that you attack this kind of stuff I go

well you know that's good because when

you do your show

don't do that [laughter] and I don't mean that

snotty I mean that's exactly what I did

you know I would sit there seeing Doug

Henning who you know before he died we

were friends I respected him very much

when I was first deciding to create

something I would go see Doug Henning

and go hate that hate that hate that

hate that and then go home and write all

night of how I could do a show that

wouldn't, that that wouldn't do that

Salvador Dali I used to be amazed when

people would come up to us after a

show and say man you know I've seen

David Copperfield and I've seen you guys

and you guys are all great and I go

we're doing stuff so different from

David Copperfield and then I found this

quotation from Salvador Dali that I

will now mangle I don't know it word for

word I didn't memorize it perfectly but

the way I remember it which means I

might have made it up [laughter]

the way I remember it is Salvador Dali

said it is the artist's job to hate all

other artists but they must never be

surprised when the audience doesn't and

that's really really important to me

these people that I'm saying I hated

you have to understand that I'm talking

about the show and I'm talking about

very specifically for me. David

Copperfield's a friend of mine we hang out

and stuff and he knows very well that

our acts are very different and the

stuff that I hate about his act and

changed is the stuff he now hates about

my act and that's perfectly okay you

know but that was part of the

sensibility we just wanted to take out

and I first watch Saturday Night Live

I hated the dope humor i hated the fact

that it had to loosen feel that it

wasn't tight ass they hadn't thought

stuff out and those were the things I

was also trying to do different

yeah yeah um the so you had what you

didn't want to do you had like models

for something that inspired you you

weren't going to be Bob Dylan but he

inspired you and so how did you

translate that into the magic that you

were going to do with teller like or you

know the way that your show works which

some people have said is not really

about magic it's about ideas and about

what we believe in and why we believe in

things like you were talking about

earlier the placebo effect right like

why we can believe something even when

we know it not to be true

yeah you know one of the things that

teller and i talked about you know and

tell there was a high school Latin

teacher like grief is older than I am

which is not important now we're the

same age now because we're both in our

sixties that we are meeting that doesn't

matter when you're in your sixties when

i started working with tell her i was 18

and he was 25 and that's a big age


it means he was teaching high school the

whole time i was in it different high

schools but all the same and we would

sit for hours

one of one of the be questions

we're trying to answer is can you do a

magic show without insulting people ever

and Jerry Seinfeld later said this

before but after we've been thinking

about this but he said every magic show

is here's a quarter now it's gone you're

a jerk now it's back you're an asshole

show's over

and we had a magician get mad at us once

who said afterwards

whose side do you want meaning the

audience with the magician site

yeah and I thought about you know can

you imagine Keith Richards saying to

eddie van halen whose side do you want

well this is supposed to be the relation

with the audience is not supposed to be

adversarial even the sex pistols

spitting on the audience you know and

saying how to auto fail debate childhood

you know all that stuff that's not real

he doesn't really hate there isn't

really the adversarial position so one

of the things that are teller and I how

we composed everything was comedians are

constantly trying to find a universal

they're trying to find the thing that we

all share i should say comedians also

poets i guess you could say all artists

are trying to discover and Nicholas and

Baker my favorite author does this all

the time

try to discover that little thing that

we all share and we may not know we all


that's where the beautiful thing is and

magicians take things that they know

people know and deny they know them

the thing that teller and I did that I

think set us apart the most is that we

were willing to use the word Paul every

late person knows what Paul means to

hold an object in your hand concealed

it's used all the time

everybody knows that there are things

called fall shuffles everybody knows

that a free choice of a card is

sometimes not a free choice

everybody in the audience had a magic

say and Teller and I just tried to start

with where the audience really was and

we try to say this is what we share and

we are not saying we know this and you

don't haha

because while i was learning to handle a

deck of cards other people were learning

to perform surgery and program the


code yeah and fix cars and stuff that

some people consider to be valid as

valid as learning how to do a perfect

Faro shuffle some people think saving

lives is important is that and so for me

to come out and say haha i can do this

you can't is offensive but for me to

come out and say you know what you were

doing all these wonderful things I was

also learning some of the glitches we

have in our heads that make us believe

stuff and if i have to you know idiots

you know one of which is

college-educated the other get out of

high school in a plea-bargain you know

if these two people can make us question

reality it automatically has political

moral and Theological ramifications yeah

and and then you know as we got older I

started especially recently to really

fall in love with the kind of magic I

didn't like as a child and I've been

learning and studying with a with a

mentor of mine Johnny Thompson who's the

greatest magician alive he now comes

over and gives me magic lessons the ones

that I would have got when I was 16 yeah

because i really like that kind of

finger flinging stuff now that I've gone

the other way but I think our discovery

of what we want to do in magic was just

trying not to do stuff that i consider

to be impolite name so as you said

earlier as you learned to be a performer

of different kinds you carved out you

said a small space it's obviously a huge

space you do so many different things

you're wonderful after I loved one of my

favorite movies these tough guys don't

dance you actually learn and you're so

great and it's a cute like a cameo but

it's wonderful but you also like I was

surprised i didn't realize what a vast

resume you have as

a reality TV star that's officially the

celebrity version so hot that you're

very funny about this

yeah yeah yeah I've been on a lot of ya

celebrity shows including god celebrity


yeah i did two tours of duty towards

actually even when I think you did three

because maybe you got kicked out of the

Trump casino in penn jillette get killed

for that you know maybe you weren't

really with yeah I have

yeah and so I have perhaps some people

think i have i have a secret information

about Donald Trump tell us

yeah i think he is you know one of the

things that I find interesting about

politics is I don't think we need hacked

email servers i don't think we had hot

likes that are hidden

I think if we take the candidates at

their absolute word and believe they are

one hundred percent honest and they will

accomplish everything they say that

going to accomplish there is nothing

more damning

we have a candidate who said he will

build a wall and he will throw people

out of our country who are already he's

already living here among us and we're

friends and neighbors and we love we

don't need anything else

we don't need a horrendous hot mic

recording that is appalling and he must

not be President

oh yes yes i SAT and rooms with him for

hours and hours and hours and the stuff

that he said made me cringe

now i am a white man and I am NOT I am

not qualified to talk about the fact

that i cringe at things is different

than the actual person who has been

addressed as a matter of fact I rolled

my eyes so loudly in the boardroom that

Donald Trump took the habit of turning

to me and saying that isn't sexist is a

pen to which I would reply i believe

it's the textbook definition but I have

not spoken and I want to make this

really clear i have not spoken about

things that Donald Trump said in the

boardroom even though right afterwards I

went and told France even though I was

appalled and felt that it might be

morally wrong for me to be on the show

even with all of that i will not neither

here or in the press or anywhere quote

those things because I'm a storyteller

and the way I remember things as in

stories which you can argue that's where

we all remember but I'm the worst added

I i pull things into a story and I like

telling a story like telling a joke and

I know for a fact I've been tested that

my memory is not reliable

and i know that i will get exactly what

I felt in my heart I can tell you

exactly what I felt in my heart but that

doesn't necessarily mean that what i

recreate tell that to you are the words

were said in the room and the stakes are

so so high that i must not be busted i

must not if you listen which I when I

guess we shouldn't listen to because

it's not are right but I didn't listen

to it the hot mic recording with Billy

Bush every syllable of what Donald Trump

says and how he says it is important

because the word pussy is not offensive

what is offensive about that is the

exact wording that says he does not care

about consent

there's nothing wrong with sex there's

nothing wrong with obscenity it's that

exact little nuance and if i were to

report a new once-off even by that

amount to quote Bob Dylan because i

haven't done that yet and i need to

every hour

Bob Dylan wrote fearing not i become my

enemy in the instant that I preached and

if I want Donald Trump to tell the truth

I must tell the truth so i will not

report that other than to say which is

my right eye was extremely uncomfortable

in the room with things he said of a

sexual nature and things he said

racially I was very uncomfortable that

and that's all I can say in good

conscience but I think you can make all

your decisions on Donald Trump without

getting any information I don't think

you need the Billy Bush tape and you

know and for Hillary Clinton you know I

take her completely under word she is

pro-death penalty

she's pro war on drugs and she is more

of a hawk that obama and that's all I

need to know what this so i think that

the political system the whole country

has gotten much too cynical we're always

trying to look behind the curtain in

politics we don't have to

pretend they don't lie and what you have

is even more horrific me so there where

your your libertarian and your candidate

you were supporting gary johnson and I

was supported gary johnson and then a

lot of people made the argument that

Trump is not fit to be President and

that Nevada where I live is a swing

state and a bunch of ppl night I didn't

do vote swapping because i believe i

know it's legal and I've had the

argument that its moral but it feels to

be a little icky

um so what I did was I said to a lot of

my friends who live in New York and

California and Massachusetts I said to

them you know you guys have been telling

me for eight months that we must have

let Donald Trump be President and if

that means going for the lesser of two


we must do that and I have fought

against you on that and I've said voting

for the lesser of two evils will always

get things more evil that I've said that

publicly and I have been friends with

gary johnson and I interview I've

stopped for him a bit i've interviewed

him but you know that is a swing state

and you've made your point and I'm going

to go and i have already I've already

voted because you can surely vote in

Nevada i'm going to go in and I'm going

to vote for Hillary Clinton and I'm not

asking you

I'm not asking any of you to promise me

that you will trade for me doing that

because what you did it was not by

saying you're going to do something you

don't want to do you did it by making a

logical rational argument that worked on

me now I would like to turn that

rational argument around and say the

chances of Donald Trump winning

California our point old one percent you

are pretty safe i think that having a

third person on the stage the debates

would have been really really useful to

us and i'm not talking about spoilers

i'm not talking about game playing for

your team winning by the way your team

did win maturation but I'm not Jackie

got this team winning i'm talking about

the idea that we want a larger

marketplace of ideas and please if you

think it was really really important for

me to vote for Clinton in Nevada please

vote for gary johnson or Jill Stein who

I disagree with on everything but Joe

not really because mode the libertarian

the Green Party spent all their money

and all their effort trying to get on

the ballot in all 50 states and if we

get them five percent there on that

automatically then they can go out with

their ideas so I don't want to vote swap

with anybody but if if you're in an area

and I was just talking to some chicago

friends today who I won't mention

because anybody found out that he had

decided to vote for gary johnson they

would beat him to death but i have a

couple friends who said you know you

made that point so so ah ok but here's

my question show you because I mean

there's a lot of people dissatisfied

with all of the candidates right i mean

there are people who support them as

well and and although i have a better

but I mean it didn't what didn't happen

this year was we didn't get a third

candidate and you could say I'm not here

to debate why or why not

I mean get that person to debate but do

you think that we're at the point where

this system such as it is should be as

some people think like the benefit of

this this election which so many people

find so hard is that it could kind of

blow things up that we should blow it up

and start again or what's what's your


I think if I didn't know Donald Trump I

might have fallen a little bit for the

burn it down

philosophy but I the things that he said

it's so awful I don't and I mean by the

way Hillary Clinton is much too

anti-immigration 44 from my cases

motherfucking Statue of Liberty says

come you know it says welcome and I I i

think that immigrants deserve to be here

more than I do they want to be here I

was born here um very unpopular opinion

by the way but I sold but i think that

what i would like to see is the

strongest thing I can say about Gary

Johnson who is a nut

the strongest thing I can say about gary

johnson is that he's not running the

campaign based on hate and fear I was

over 20 Fitzpatrick this afternoon with

some friends who I love so much as

anyone in the world and they were

talking politics as we as we so often

are you noticed a few days out and I

said can we just do a little bit of time

and not talk about hate fear if Trump is

elected it's the end of the world we

hate those they were talking about these

Trump supporters he's fucking nitwit

these fucking they're out they're going

to beat people up there

black no black lives matter they were

fighting those guys and then you know

and I've heard the truck people say that

this awful stuff and you know one monkey

don't ruin the whole show and the fact

is we are not we Americans we human

beings out of 7 billion people on the

planet around seven billion are really

good and you can round it off to that

and things are getting better we are

getting safer we're getting a better fed

we're getting kinder to each other

that's happening and the worst-case

scenario of Donald Trump being president

which one which would make me cry for

two days I have to understand would be

okay in the long run because people are

good and Hillary Clinton who I disagree

with will be okay all i would like is

the next election cycle i would like the

arguments about ideas to be as mean and

direct and honest and passionate as

possible but stop hating big groups of

people I just stop doing it

let's turn to these good people we want

to get some of your questions and so we

have microphones on the ground floor

raise your hand and someone will be the


thank you for coming here and we really

appreciate it

you are extremely articulate and I think

you know that and you've developed that

personality your partner teller is

extremely articulate as well and you've

identified that how did you decide for

him not to say a darn thing during your

i have doesn't do with it um calories

very articulate celery's the better

educated probably the better speaker of

the two of us but tell her uh put

himself through college doing magic at

frat parties which I forgotten what

circle of Dante's hell that is but very


and children would be heckled very badly

as wood by saying something like

television magical frat party & Teller

found that if he didn't say anything and

did things that were very creepy people

would grow tired of heckling him he also

got very interested with how you lie

without speaking and we when I first met

teller he was already doing magic you

know in library basements as a teacher

you know inventory and he was already

working silently and I got him a gig

because I when I left high school was

homeless is is to load the word but I

didn't live anywhere i rechecked around

the country and I would juggle street

corners in bars between rock bands and I

was louder more aggressive and faster

than the audience

oh that's what I worked on when i first

got teller job working together we were

two separate acts on the same bill and

so when we want to do stuff together we

have to maintain the integrity of the

two solo acts so we were forced to have

teller working silently in order not to

hurt tellers solar routine and we

discovered something which is every

comedy team you think of essentially

works in this reference to the audience

Smothers Brothers Nichols and May Burns

and Allen Martin and Lewis they talk to

each other with the audience looking in

even if they're aware of the audience

you know even though Tommy and Nicki are

never in a in a in a different

environment they're talking to each

other they're doing like this what

television I discovered was with teller

not talking we could turn it face front

and we could essentially do a one-person

show with two people and we're

fascinated by that because we started to


successful in the eighties and uh in the

eighties was when partnership friendship

trust and working together became known

as codependence and where bad things I

don't think those are bad things i think

people working together in eating each


that's a good thing and there was one

moment that was so symbolically perfect

that completely blew my mind I was being

interviewed in the early nineties and

the woman that can be interviewed me

said she interviewed me before and she

said I used to work for people that I

work for us and now i work for self

children i wanted to buck that so we're

very proud of the fact that it doesn't

you can't really see how we would work

in the show without one another and yet

we never look at each other I think I

make eye contact with tell her three

times during a 90-minute show and I

think that that makes us very very

different in how comedy teams work but

it was not our idea we stumbled upon

this we're not smart enough to think of

it he does look at you adoringly when

you're doing interviews

that's his job believe me he doesn't

feel them

here we go

hi i saw director's cuts in chicago and

i really loved it thank you

thanks so much and i wanted to ask if

you could tell us a little bit about the

new movie that you're making where the

Slammers being destroyed

well I've actually got two movies

there's a movie that i will finish soon

as I get back to vegas called the

gambler's ballad which is about Johnny

Thompson my mentor who's the best

magician alive and he spent the past two

years teaching me the hardest routinely

done and we did together as a duet we

did that as a little documentary the one

you're talking about is um I built a

house in vegas called the slammer on 10

acres of land not named after prison but

rather named after the level five

containment unit and use samer added for

infectious fatal diseases so I went

through there for the tour because I

happen it can have a hobby infectious

fatal disease they had a place that

nobody could get to you couldn't get to

it it was completely air-locked from the

rest of the world when people got like a

bowl or something that you put in this

room and I said wow you know sometimes I

just want to be like that i wanted the

airlock from the whole world i can think

i'm going to call my house the slammer

and we built this gigantic house with

fire poles and sex dungeons and and

hidden rooms

strangely enough the hidden rooms the

sex Duchess retreated for places because

worst thing is an automated room and

then I had a family and my children are

young and it turns out children don't

want to live in the middle of nowhere in

a crazy house away from all their


they want to live in a gated community

where they can walk to their friends

house and ride bicycles and stuff we

bought another house and the land that I

built the slammer on was now valuable

and the house itself because it was

written but was built and designed by a

crazy person could not be sold so I was

going to sell the land and they said

they're gonna tear down the slammer

so I said you know if you're going to

tear it down I can i record first and

they said sure and I said okay so I

called a friend of mine Adam Savage is a

show called Mythbusters and I said how

what's what

how would you destroy your house you

want to show actually blow it up and

adam savage said no we blown up a lot of

shit what you drive a tank through it

and I said can you do that he said ya

find the tank and drive it through and I

said all good so I then i wrote a movie

a low-budget horror film that evolved

this sacred land that a cult was living

on that attack drives through and we

spent two weeks shooting the movie which

is called the grounds where I play a

cult leader which is what I dyed my hair

blonde and I played a cult leader named

Walt after disney and a dangerous cult

leader and then we filled the tank

coming through my house so that that's

called the grounds and i hope someone

likes it and it comes out but if it

doesn't go for tag for the fucking out

1 i'm sorry to say we have time for just

one more

oh so what I do roll so you obviously

have a wonderful array of imagination

and and opinions we are now on the brink

of a new generation of space travel

going to Mars brings me to grow

what would you wear your viewpoints

unlike a new planet and how would you

arrange a society on the harmonies order


yea sorry I'm not qualified for the kids

are going to Mars I but I'm the one

who's going to quote colorize bars i had

a vasectomy

I'm not the guy you know I don't know I

think we get the singularity before that

the computer solved for us i think the

singularity is coming so I'm gonna sneak

in one last question because throughout

this book there are references to too

many musicians and you quote for many

but Bob Dylan is a recurring theme you

obviously have a great connection with

him and I just wanted to give mean Nobel

laureate Bob don't ya know what do you

think about Nobel laureate Bob Dylan

well he was by six Nobel prize-winning

friend that that's pretty good means

you're getting close

yeah yeah although i don't think it's

done like that

I was just asking you tell us about

zhabin and the Nobel and what you think

about it on

well I know that there's this game

that's played by by Allmusic Stobbs

which is if you could go back in time

and see one show what would it be

would it be would be bak you know

performing on the keyboard would it be

Stravinsky's Rite of Spring when people

write in would it be the sex pistols the

first time in London would it be would

be the Beatles at Shea Stadium I think

if I were able to go back in time and

see any single show it would be Bob

Dylan the night in Las Vegas that he won

the Nobel Prize wait a minute i was

there all my dreams have come true now

thank you thank you

thank all of you

The Description of Presto! An Evening with Penn Jillette