According to a Simpson's episode,
Teller is not the first Teller that Penn started out with almost a quarter
century ago. Unfortunately, I forgot to get Teller to confirm or deny
this. I will say that in talking with him at various times, the current
Teller claims to have no memory of events at which he was present in,
say, 1980. On the other hand, the original Teller was the kind of bullshitter
who would love to start one of those 'Paul is dead', (back in the early,
early 70's, when their career really tanked, the Beatles put out a rumor
that McCartney was dead, and record sales temporarily revitalized) kind
of things. I don't know, read the interview and judge for yourself.
to stop by Pete's essay detailing his relationship with Teller over
the years. Teller and Me.
|Drop by the
official Penn and Teller
Pete: Are you a celebrity?
Well first maybe you should define celebrity. For example, you ever
had a stalker?
Teller: Other than
you, you mean? Generally, we attract a rather pleasant and intelligent
class of stalker. We send all the slack-jawed dimwits with empty eyes
to the Back Street Boys.
Pete: Last 3 P&T shows
I went to, Penn goes on about how sick of doing P&T you guys are. Well,
why don’t you call it quits? Break up? You can’t possibly need the money.
You’ve got a nascent writing career. You must have enough of a cushion
to where you could quit P&T and still live comfortably for a year or
so until the writing income got flowing.
Teller: A better choice
would be to go to night school and learn to become an electrician. I've
had some work done at my house lately, and, man, those guys rake it
Pete: Sandra Bullock
or Keanu Reeves?
Teller: Oh, Sandra,
absolutely. If I ever get stuck in a paper bag, I'll need help acting
my way out.
Pete: OK you’re an atheist correct? Suppose it turns out you’re
wrong and God does exist. You get there to the pearly gates and St.
Pete is at his post and Petey goes “Hey, Teller!” So, God is walking
by right then, on the other side of the gate, and he hears the commotion
and comes out and goes “Teller? The famous magician and entertainer?!
Far out, dude!” So you nod your head and maybe blush a little, cause,
damn, even God knows about you. But then God and St. Pete look at each
other, then they turn their backs and have a little conference, and
maybe God calls in some of his homeboys, like Gabriel and whatever other
hoodrats are hanging around in Paradise right then, and they’re having
this huddle, and you know, checking you over the shoulder and all, and
you’re getting kind of nervous.
Teller: Nervous? Unlikely.
I've had Al Hirschfeld with his drawing pad in my audience.
Pete: So finally God turns around and says: “Well, Teller, rumor
has it you’re an atheist. Confirm or deny?” In that situation what would
Teller: I'd ask for
Pete: Well, you think about it, you think God knows everything anyway,
you gotta come clean, so you pipe up: “OK, yeah I’m an atheist, or I
used to be, anyway.” So then God and St Peter and Gabriel and all the
divine officials go back into a conference, and they’re arguing, but
finally they seem to arrive at a consensus and God turns back to you
once again and goes: “Well, Teller, here’s the deal. You denied the
existence of God, and that hurt my feelings, OK? But in the process
of denying the existence of God you pretty much had God in your thoughts
more or less continuously, which, according to the rules, anyone who
keeps God in their thoughts almost all the time, gets into paradise.”
Teller: Oh, that old
goofball sure talks funny!
Pete: So here’s the
question: At that point would you enter paradise, could you enter paradise
with a clear conscious?
Teller: Sure, if he
couldn't spell any better than that.
Pete: Being as how
you spent your life saying God is a phony, would you still feel you
have a valid claim to spend eternity in Paradise if you turn out to
Teller: Wouldn't want
to. I can't play the harp and look fat in chiffon.
Pete: What kind of car do you drive?
Teller: A gas-guzzling
SUV that whisks me over raw desert to my bat cave.
Pete: How did you manage to spend a bunch of time at college without
getting infected with any of the regular informational Viruses like
Freudianism or Marxism or Feminism or Existentialism or smoking pot?
Teller: Parallel construction,
my boy, parallel construction! Your "smoking pot" idea needs a term
with "-ism" on the end.
I fell for Freudianism in
high school, then read Freud in college and realized he was mistaking
poetry for medicine. Marxism seemed like no fun; even the uniforms are
ugly. Genuine feminism -- the kind that helps women get what they've
earned and have a good time (as opposed to the anti-porno nut stuff
of Andrea Dworkin)-- well that's terrific. I'm okay with Existentialism,
too; it's almost enough to justify the vanity of the French. And (wow,
I'm done at last!) the idea of mind-altering substances gives me the
willies. Fill your tank with nitro, the car goes fast, sure, but not