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“For everyone watching. If you have a dream, never give up believing in your dream, living your dream, and doing something everyday to make that dream happen,” announces Ryan Hayashi as he prepares for the final trick in a superb card and coin routine, “but remember, no matter who you are, no matter how hard you work, or how good you think you are at what you do, there will always be an Asian who takes it to the next level.”

Such is the gut-busting punchline to the “epic monologue,” Hayashi delivered during his excellent Fool Us performance. The routine was an impressive, yet hilarious take on one performed by Penn & Teller themselves. 

Another standout line:    

The amount of mental energy I’ve invested in creating this act could demolish planets. This is the most epic monologue in the history of magic for I am here to inflict psychological damage and that means you’ve now seen the devastation I can generate using two hands.

While Hayashi seems to take his Japanese heritage quite seriously in his  “Samurai show” and Karate Dojo, he’s not afraid to lean into a larger-than-life caricature of the impossibly slick, imposing man-from-the-east stereotype for some killer laughs.   

I’ve now seen Hayashi perform exactly one trick, and he’s already one of my favorites. I’m looking forward to diving into his body of work. 

John Michael Hinton’s friendly persona might not be for everyone, but he did impress notorious P&T on last night’s episode of Fool Us. His impressive Rubik’s cube tricks weren’t quite enough to fool the pair, but did earn an enthusiastic ovation. And a handshake. So there’s that. 

Hinton also made it onto small screens earlier in the week to promote his appearance on Fool Us. He was on WCCB’s News Edge:

And then News Rising. 

Hinton may have not have fooled Penn & Teller, but he mostly likely made a few friends during his busy week. 

American magician, Vinny Grosso, has managed to fool Penn and Teller once again, this time with the aid of a secretive mastermind whose nasally diction might sound familiar to those of you who know your enchanted castles from your caves of wonder. 

The name of this mysterious kingpin is revealed about half way through the video, but I’m not going to spoil it for you. 

This is the second time Grosso has managed to get the better of  notorious P&T, and he didn’t even have to take his clothes off this time. A common sighting at corporate gigs, Grosso has been enjoying an enviable career, that includes appearances on America’s Got Talent, his own Las Vegas show, and a stint as president of The Society of American Magicians.  

The next episode of Fool Us, entitled Penn & Teller Get Loopy, is set to air on Monday, July 9th. 

In yesterday’s writeup of The Sentimentalists’ successful appearance on Penn & Teller Fool Us, I included a clip of Matt Marcy’s hilarious opening gag from his performance on the show. Now we have the full video, I can unfortunately confirm that the majestic levitating shark does not make an appearance. Instead, Marcy performed a card trick.

A pretty funny card trick, to be fair.  

Marcy has been performing as a magician, comedian, emcee, and keynote speaker for two decades now, and has over 3,000 performances under under his belt. The guy has performed at The Magic Castle over a thousand times. He’s done shows for countless high-end corporate clients and literally hundreds of venues around North America. He’s also got a long string of television appearances to his name, including this latest one on Fool Us. 

You can learn more about Marcy on his website, or stalk him on Twitter and Facebook. Or all over the above.

Fool Us made its triumphant return to the airwaves (streamwaves? Someone really needs to update this cliche for the current century) on Monday, and promos are already sneaking onto the internet to torment those of us who haven’t had time to catch the whole episode yet.

In the above clip, adorable mentalist duo, The Sentimentalists, do their best to fool Penn & Teller. Did they succeed? You should probably watch the video.

Also known as Steffi Kay and Mysterion, The Sentimentalists are a fun mentalism act with a cutesy vintage look. They’ve toured extensively, and are regular headliners at Dave and Busters, The CNE, and Canada’s Wonderland. 

Notably absent from the show was a levitating shark, just sayin’. 

Earlier this month, we touched upon the neurological of einstellung, or how our brains get stuck on the first bit of information they come across, and tend to cling to that information even in the face of contradictory evidence. Magicians with good patter often use this to their advantage by telling the audience a version of what’s about to happen that puts them in the right frame of mind for the trick to work.

So when Penn Jillette says he and Teller are going to make a chicken disappear, he’s already telling you a story, giving you an idea your brain’s going to struggle to shake, and setting you up for a mental pratfall. The trick works even if you’re conscious of the attempt at manipulation and misdirection. In fact, that kind of short-lived hyper-awareness makes you even easier to trick. Our mind narrows as we focus; by looking for the vanishing chicken, you’ll miss the second part of the trick entirely.

Performing magic essentially boils down to the control of information. What P&T demonstrate quite beautifully with this trick is that giving the audience information can be just as effective as withholding it.

Tired of leaving of having to leave your house to see magic shows? Don’t feel like raking through hours of stolen tricks and Zach King compilations on YouTube? Good news, your old faithful friend, the television, will once again be host some quality magic shows in the coming weeks. Both Penn & Teller: Fool Us and Champions of Magic will be returning to the small screen before the month is out.

Fool Us returns on Monday, June 25th, with an episode called Penn the Magic Dragon. No prizes for guessing who’s going to be on that show. Unless you guessed Dom Chambers, in which case, yeah, you probably deserve a prize for your weirdly specific knowledge of upcoming variety show lineups*. Appearing alongside Chambers and a certain actual mythical beast will be Matt Marcy, Andrew Evans and The Sentimentalists.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrYcW6AjYCI

On Friday, June 29th, Masters of Illusion season 7 will premiere on The CW. There’s no info on who’ll be in this first episode aside from what you can glean from the short trailer above. I did spot Murray Sawchuck in there. Then again, he’s hard to miss.

If you’re willing to step into the realm of digital entertainment streaming, you’ll also be able to catch Derren Brown’s Miracle when it hits Netflix on June 22nd.    

*Unless you actually are Dom Chambers, in which case, get out of here, Dom. Stop trying to steal our hypothetical prizes. 

In 2015, Shin Lim was crowned the co-FISM World Champion of Card Magic, and just two weeks later, he received a standing ovation on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us. The routine he performed on both occasions, The Dream Act, would catapult the Canadian-born, Singapore-raised illusionist to magic stardom. Thanks to the eternal memory of the internet, you can see The Dream Act it in its entirety in the video above.

Think you’ve got fast enough fingers to perform the act yourself? Lim is selling a bundle that includes all the gimmicks needed to perform the routine and a tutorial on trick mechanics, atmosphere, music selection and lighting.

  

 

April Fool’s Day has come and gone, but those masters of foolery Misters Penn and Teller are making sure you can celebrate after the fact. The April Fool Us Day Special episode aired on Monday, but it is now available to watch online. It includes all sorts of shenanigans, including the dynamic duo playing a trick on their own audience and impressing all the viewers with their own magic performances. It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at one of the top televised magic programs around with plenty fooling to be had.

If you live in the United States, you can watch the show at CWTV.com or on the CW app. Unfortunately, the episode is not available to individuals outside the US through the CW.

Penn & Teller: Fool Us has been a smash success for plenty reasons – unique angle, brilliant magicians, Alyson Hannigan’s charm. Another one of them is how clean the acts are. There are no camera tricks, no trap doors in the stage, nothing gimmicked in how the producers show magic to the audience in the theater or at home.

That all changes for one special night where everyone is a fool. Penn & Teller: April Fool Us Day will highlight some of the top performances from the first several seasons of the CW show. There will also be never-before seen tricks, behind-the-scenes footage, and special guests. Although it’s themed for the holiday on the first of the month, the current air date is April 2.

It’ll be nice to have a little Fool Us treat to tide fans over before the fifth season premieres. Penn Jillette has tweeted a few hints of what’s to come, including getting a cast of his head made and a surprise appearance from Marie Osmond. But the best endorsement of what’s ahead for the show is when he says: “Man, there are some good goddamn magicians in the world.” Is it summer yet?