There are not many outstanding 17-year-old magicians who are world class and deeply fooling. If we focus entirely on female magicians, the list shrinks to less than a handful. That’s what makes Amanda Nepo a standout in the world of magic. And she’s not just doing tricks she’s purchased online, but inventing her own magic and, in the process, fooling Penn & Teller.
You can learn a lot more about Amada here: https://www.amandanepo.com/home
Statuesque Canadian escape artist and magician Miranda Allen gets wrapped in chains before diving into a water-filled barrel, which is then chained shut, on Penn & Teller: Fool Us. Will she escape? Hint: she did not die, though she might have.
“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.
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’.
— CW Penn & Teller (@CWPennandTeller) June 26, 2018
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.
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.