Penn Jillette retains recordsdata on his laptop for magic tips and others for fiction, however he retains them collectively and the excellence between them is just not all the time clear. He as soon as wrote a brief story, for instance, that his longtime associate, Teller, thought would make a very good magic trick, in order that they turned it right into a bit referred to as King of Animal Traps.
“The very first thing I wished to be was a author,” he mentioned in a current telephone interview. “I feel if you happen to acquired both Teller or I to be fully sincere, we might in all probability inform you that what we’re doing within the Penn & Teller present is writing.”
Jillette’s newest novel, “Random,” is a few younger man who inherits his father’s crushing debt to a mortgage shark and turns to cube — and different harmful measures — to dig himself out. That the cube convey him luck sends him a brand new philosophy of leaning choices each huge and small as much as probability.
Whether or not he’s writing a novel or writing a bit, Jillette mentioned, he’s all the time making an attempt to inform a narrative.
“My happiest moments are Teller and I getting collectively and determining what we need to say, what we’re feeling with a trick, with a bit, and to determine how to do this,” he mentioned. “Now, I don’t need to lie and say I don’t love being onstage — I find it irresistible, and I like the applause, and I like the laughs — that’s the factor I like most on the earth, aside from placing the stuff collectively that I’m going to place onstage. Writing fiction seems like very a lot the identical factor.”
Right here, the writer, magician and co-star of the CW’s “Penn & Teller: Idiot Us,” talks about how he takes his watermelon, why he prefers skepticism to cynicism and the way he satisfied Teller to pay for half his new bass. These are edited excerpts from the dialog.
1. Too Sizzling Baths Each night time I take a shower that’s so sizzling that I come very near passing out — and I take advantage of scented oil, the entire thing is completed as girly as doable. And I learn on my Kindle. I’m making an attempt to study Spanish, so I learn Spanish for at the least a half an hour, after which I learn in English for one more half an hour.
2. Too Chilly Watermelon I misplaced a whole lot of weight a number of years in the past. One of many methods I hold the burden off is by consuming watermelon. It appears you’ll be able to eat extra watermelon than every other meals and it nonetheless feels good and it nonetheless tastes good. The key is reducing it up and getting it tremendous chilly in order that it virtually hurts your enamel.
3. Lava Lamps I all the time travel: Am I a beatnik? Am I a hippie? I do know I’m one of many two, and I do know that no alcohol will get in the way in which of me being a beatnik, and no medication get in the way in which of me being a hippie. I feel I personal 20 lava lamps. They’re in each room of my home. And I like to take a look at them and fake, although I’ve by no means been excessive, that I’m excessive.
4. Tony Fitzpatrick I examine music somewhat extensively as a result of it’s unnatural to me. And that’s what fascinates me about it. I’m very unhealthy with visible stuff, too, so I’ve art work throughout my home to attempt to drill it into my head why it’s stunning. One in all my favourite artists is Tony Fitzpatrick out of Chicago. I’ve his etching up everywhere in the home.
5. Ray Brown There are such a lot of nice bass gamers, however Ray Brown had that sound and that solidity and that energy. He’s an inspiration and he’s one among my methods into jazz. I like his recording of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” with fellow bassists John Clayton and Christian McBride.
6. Skepticism, Not Cynicism I’ve fought my entire life to not be cynical, however to be skeptical. You can have many minutes of arguments between me and Invoice Maher over why cynicism is unhealthy and skepticism is sweet. Cynicism is attributing the worst motives to individuals. Skepticism is in search of the reality.
7. Tiny Tim On a wall in my dwelling, I’ve Tiny Tim’s costume that he wore for many of his profession, the ukulele that he performed for many of his profession and his footwear. I like the truth that an individual got here alongside who was so sincere that cynicism couldn’t stay inside him. A few of the most cynical individuals who have ever lived — Bing Crosby, Johnny Carson, John Lennon, Howard Stern, Frank Sinatra — within the presence of Tiny Tim, they fully broke down.
8. Phrase Processors I wished to be a author so badly. My mother taught me to kind and I used to be an excellent typist, however I nonetheless made errors and I’m a very unhealthy speller. I lastly purchased a pc after Teller and I had our present Off Broadway, and inside 24 hours of getting a pc, I wrote two tales that have been revealed. I’m sitting in entrance of probably the most highly effective laptop Mac has to supply — I might edit “Avatar” on it — however 95 p.c of what I do is phrase processing.
9. Paul Toenniges Double Bass I play the bass for an hour earlier than Penn & Teller exhibits. An excellent bass participant named Alex Frank informed me I used to be higher than the bass I used to be taking part in. He discovered a bass for me that was made by a person named Paul Toenniges. He mentioned it was very costly but in addition the most effective bass he’d ever performed — it had been owned by the late bassist Dave Stone. I emailed Teller to see if he thought I can buy it. As a result of the way in which our taxes are structured, he’d pay for half of it. The e-mail got here again inside a minute and mentioned: “We by no means economize on our instruments. Purchase it.” I hadn’t even informed him the value.
10. Bob Dylan I feel it’s doable that I’ve listened to Bob Dylan daily for the previous 52 years. Bob Dylan is one thing we encounter very hardly ever, which is unbelievable talent, coupled with a wildness of spirit. All you’ve acquired to do is see a Paul McCartney live performance and a Bob Dylan live performance. Paul McCartney, you understand precisely what you’re going to get. Bob Dylan? You don’t have any concept.