Review of Fool Us Episode "P & T Could Die Any Minute"

Spoiler Alert
I reveal who fooled Penn & Teller below. If you don't want to know, don't scroll down!

Penn & Teller: Fool Us is a TV talent show that is filmed in front of a live audience (or, virtual audience during the pandemic). Oh, and we can't forget to mention that Penn and Teller are there too -- they're the judges!

During each episode, four magicians perform a magic act for Penn & Teller which, at the end of each act the magician-comedian duo try to deduce how the trick was done. In very articulate speech, Penn -- as Teller remains characteristically silent -- commends the magician on a job well done. If the magic act fooled Penn & Teller, they win a sweet Fool Us trophy and a trip to Vegas to be the opening act for Penn & Teller's show!

I want my opinions below to reflect those of a spectator who just saw a performance live. To achieve this, I've only watched this episode once. In real time - no pausing. No slow motion. Once through, with commercials and with my kids enjoying it with me too. Did I remember everything I saw? Did I see everything that happened? Do I remember the exact words that were said? Maybe, but likely not -- which means if I over-portray an effect below then it was just that great of a trick. If I under-portray it, well, yeah. So let's see what this episode's got in store for us!

Episode Recap

This episode was full of magic! Well, obviously =P. But there was card magic, coin magic, even a touch of spiritualism and mentalism thrown in! No two tricks were alike, but that's what keeps us coming back am I right?

The fooler of the night's episode was Jandro. His high-octane energy was potentially what caused him to fool the magical duo, or he's just that good! I'd like to think that it's a bit of both. Following Jandro's act we got to see a robotic-themed futuristic card trick by Ben Kraatz which was pretty neat. After the futuristic routine, we were taken to the distant past in a spiritualism-based mentalism act from Judge Gary Brown... and yes, he really is a judge! Ending the set of magicians trying to fool Penn & Teller was Puck who brought a card trick routine he dedicated to his fathers. It was a nice way to end the different magic sets and really nice magic overall.

Want to know more? Keep reading below!


Jandro's been on Fool Us 4 times already, and fooled the comedy duo all 4 times! This episode is his 5th appearance and he came out with full energy and ready to go!

He stood behind a stand that had two little chests on it. Little meaning they could fit on one hand!

He started off by saying he would show the end of the trick first, you know, just in case Penn and Teller died halfway through the act. A funny premise, at least, during the performance of course. Jandro made Alyson take one of the chests, step away from the table and turn around with her eyes closed.

Penn then took the other chest and opened it after Jandro gave him the key. Inside, which we didn't get to see until the end, were a bunch of coins of different shapes and sizes. Penn had a free choice of any coin and he chose one and put it in his hand. Jandro had both him and Teller hold their hands on the table and open them, and then he started celebrating (remember, it's the "end of the trick").

He pulled out a large confetti cannon and blasted confetti everywhere. But wait, there's more! Then he pulled out another confetti cannon and blasted even more confetti everywhere!

Jandro ending his magic routine and blasting confetti cannons everywhere!

The trick was over, but we hadn't seen anything yet. He told Alyson to open her chest and pick a coin, then to put that coin in Teller's hand without showing it to anyone. When Penn and Teller then opened their hands, they were holding the exact same coin! 

Every trick you bring us is different and crazy!
Alyson, recapping Jandro's performance.

Penn started his speech very confidently. Heck, even I was convinced that he knew. He repeated over and over how he saw Jandro do a sneaky move and use the confetti cannons as misdirection. Truth be told, I thought that -- at first -- he did something with them too, but then I thought that it would've been too obvious and really not enough time (once I saw how many coins there were).

And then, when Penn asked if Jandro had any more confetti cannons he said he didn't and happily turned his stand around showing it to be empty, all except a little sign that said "nothing here."

Penn ended his speech with a comment saying that he wished Jandro had another confetti cannon to blast off because he fooled them for the 5th time!

The trick was fast, it was full of energy, and it was a stunner! Well done Jandro, well done!

Ben Kraatz

Ben is, by his own words, a social media magician. I'd like to consider myself one of those too, though on a personal note I'd also like to do more in person and less online... but enough about me =P

At the end of his set (which I'll get to in a second), he mentioned that he started magic in 2017 because of this show! How awesome is that??

When his act started, we were taken "to the future" with a retro scene of the Space Invaders video game. Standing at a table in a robot outfit was Ben and an audio track was playing. The vibe we were supposed to have was that he was a robot being controlled by another person (or system).

Ben Kraatz in a robot costume performing a card magic trick.

On the table in front of him were a bunch of cards in a line. Some were face up, some were face down.

One-by-one, he took cards and made them do things like disappear. Rather, they all actually disappeared but he did each in a different way. Overall, it was a nice performance and he very smoothly created a scene to fit the way he wanted to perform. Bravo Ben!

Penn and Teller weren't fooled by this one, and neither was I. The method behind it is something I've been playing around with for a while now, nothing I've performed on camera or in person with but something that I'm quite familiar with. I'm not actually sure whether all of his vanishes were done in that specific way though -- I'm not sure whether, in cases like this, Penn and Teller have to know how each vanish is done, or just the majority...

Judge Gary Brown

Judge, as everyone kept calling him, is an actual judge! A cool fact about this is that he said he has performed magic during some of his actual day-job, like when doing an immigration swear-in, he'll produce an American flag out of a tiny box. That's probably pretty neat to see in that situation.

I was a little surprised to see a man who's job it is to try to get people to tell the truth, first, being a magician and second, performing a spiritualism routine -- the former being art that's built on deceit, the latter known to just be morally deceiving. But there he was with a spirit cone (a metal cone) that he would be using to talk to the dead!

During his performance, even at the beginning, I had the feeling that he was presenting it all in jest. Not trying to appear like he's really a medium -- but he never came out and said that it was a sham or anything like that, he "kept up the act" so to speak.

The performance itself had him summon a spiritualist, named Eusapia Palladino. She has been dead for over 100 years, but Judge would be bringing her spirit back to try to read a word that Alyson randomly selected from a book. To channel her voice, he used a spirit trumpet, a device that Palladino was known to have used in her work as well.

Judge Gary Brown having Alyson select a random word from a book.

He brought Alyson over and let her select a page in a book, then a word from that page. Sure enough, the voice of Palladino... though in English rather than the Italian she should have spoken (which turned out to be a bit of comedy) came through the spirit trumpet and eventually correctly "read" the word that Alyson selected!

The trick didn't fool Penn & Teller and although I have a pretty clear idea as to how it was done, I didn't pick up on any specifics from Penn's hints -- which is probably a good thing. 


Puck's background in magic is split, he was into it when he was a kid and then didn't get back into it for over 20 years. Jeez, tonight's episode mesh's with my background so much...

Before he began performing, he shared a story with us about his upbringing and his two fathers (foster, and biological). The performance was a dedication to them both.

Puck performing his card magic on a large stage.

His act was several card tricks back-to-back. He was able to make aces disappear from one hand and appear under another. Then, from several piles of cards he could make an ace disappear and wind up under another pile over and over until all 4 aces were together! Finally, he took the deck of cards and made them all turn blank immediately before using it to print the words "Dads, I made it!". Topping that, he turned over each of those cards and it had a picture of his fathers.

I was able to follow everything from start-to-finish, primarily because I read a lot of magic books. I've practiced one of the routines quite a bit as well -- the other, I've tried a variation that doesn't require special cards.

Penn and Teller weren't fooled by the act, and quite frankly I thought Penn's "clues" were a bit too on the nose. I was trying to think of a better way to code messages, but I wasn't able to really come up with much better.

Penn & Teller

Penn & Teller ended the show with a giant human version of "The Penetration Frame", delivered with a performance that I didn't quite follow all the way.

Apparently, or so the story went, it was an impromptu shoving-of-a-teenager through a window routine? Not really sure what they were going for... but, in any case, it was an interesting performance. Rather, it was a really nice trick adaptation -- something that they're really great at doing. And, the guest teenager was Moxie Jillette, Penn's daughter!

Moxie Jillette being pushed through a sheet of glass during in a magic trick!

As a magician, I really like seeing a trick that I'm familiar with adapted in such a different and unique way. It always reminds me to take a step back and try to think of other tricks in different ways as well.


This episode flew by for me, which is a great thing in my opinion. Sometimes when the magic isn't quite up-to-par, at least to my standards, the episodes feel like they drag a bit. Tonight's, even though I'm pretty sure I know how all of the performances (except Jandro's) were done, was a really good show. Though, I'm still left with the "why isn't there ever more than one fooler in the episode?!" feeling... maybe next time!

Either way, I'm excited for the next round of magic!

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