The CW reaffirms it’s love of magic in the first of two magic-themed shows premiering this week. The first, premiering Wednesday, July 30 at 8pmET is Penn & Teller: Fool Us.
World famous illusionists Penn & Teller have issued a challenge to aspiring magicians: Show us your best trick, and if you can fool us, you can perform with us. In the U.S. premiere of a program that Penn & Teller originated in the U.K., wannabes are invited to perform in front of Penn, Teller and a live studio audience. If Penn & Teller can figure out a trick after seeing it performed only once, they win. But if they fail, whoever tricks them earns the right to perform with Penn & Teller’s Las Vegas show.
There are a lot of things that I love about Penn & Teller, I’ve been a huge fan of theirs ever since I saw a special that must have been linked to their early ‘90s book, Penn and Teller’s How to Play with Your Food. They are not only masterful magicians, illusionists, entertainers and tricksters, they have a genuine love for magic and never convey jealousy or ill-will to anyone else who is successful in the magic sphere. In other words, they are true fans of magic. As performers, they’ve always taken a keen interest in participating in any variety of program that asks them. I’ve seen Penn & Teller in their Showtime series, Penn & Teller Bullsh*t, I loved Penn Jillette in the TV game show Identity, and he was interviewed for a show I worked on for E! Entertainment, so in the interest of full disclosure, obviously I’m a biased fan.
But I also think it’s extremely brave for Penn & Teller to bravely sit in front of their peers and ask them to make them look bad. It’s the same bravery that Bobby Flay exhibited in his show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay. When you’re good, you don’t mind of other people look good too. You want other people to shine and if they can fool you (or in Flay’s case, beat you) it doesn’t diminish your skills and talent, rather it shows that your competitor is also good. There’s enough applause in the world for more than one person to succeed. And in The case of The CW and it’s multitude of magic-themed shows, the more people who are exposed to magic, the more elevated that art form becomes. If you’re one of the best magicians in the world, it’s only awesome if people want to watch you perform. And who doesn’t want to be the best and something that is a popular big deal?
I recently spoke to Gay Blackstone, the widow of one of the greatest magicians in history, Harry Blackstone, Jr. She is the executive producer of the other magic and illusion themes shoe that the CW is airing this week, Masters of Illusion. Her insights into why magic is great for families was really thought provoking and she explained how different kinds of magic appeals to different ages. I’ll post that tomorrow, and I hope you’ll check out that program too.
Penn & Teller: Fool Us > The CW > Wednesdays beginning July 30
image credit: Kieron McCarron/September Films & 1/17 Productions