YOUTUBE TRANSCRIPTS: Penn and Teller on Reddit's Top Ten Questions

Teller's fond of saying that magic is binary, it's either/or. You don't have a magic trick that kinda fools you. It's a house of cards, and if the whole thing doesn't fool you, you might as well not do it. We also do stuff that's supposed to look dangerous. We point guns at each other, put nail-guns through my hands, Teller swallows needles... So there is a moral, and artistic and self-preservation reason to not have things screw up.

There's been some bragging lately... David Blaine, and, uh.. Chris Angel do this bragging stuff about discomfort. Bragging about being hurt. 'I used to do card tricks... Now I hang my fish-hooks by my [bleep].  I used to do card tricks... Now I can hold my breath longer than anyone in the world... I'm in a box with my own [bleep] and I'm either eating or not-eating depending on what country I'm in.' My idea about that is... when your classic nerd covers himself in rubber cement and runs around saying he's a horrible burn victim, which was certainly [Teller's] whole jr. high experience, and a lot of mine... The video games that celebrate that kind of excitement are--whatever Hillary Clinton says--not celebrating death and not celebrating pain, they're celebrating health. You rip that rubber cement off and you're okay and you're healthy and you're feeling fine! What makes the stuff beautiful is the fact that it is a trick. It's not beautiful if it's real. If you're really in a box full of your own [bleep], that's not beautiful! Unless you're doing something during it, unless you're going to the moon! Pointing guns, shooting them at each other's face, after they've been signed--and the audience knows it's completely safe--that's where the beauty is.

What you want out of art, what you want out of life, what you want out of sex... Is for the visceral and the intellectual to collide as fast as they can. When you're on a roller coaster, your gut's telling you, "We're gonna die!" Your intellect tells ya, "If everybody died, their insurance rates would be too high, they couldn't keep the park open.' So that's what you're trying to do...


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