Review of Fool Us Episode "Magic is Sexy"

Episode Overview

This episode of Fool Us was full of a variety of acts. Some meant for close-up, some for the large stage, but all for our viewing pleasure!

Card magic, magic with photos, juggling, and even an explosive escape act. What a huge range of performances, surely there's something for everyone here.

Keep on reading below to get an overview of the different acts, and to see who fooled Penn & Teller!

Cash - The Ambitious Card

Cash, or "Cash Magick", as the Fool Us title showed -- or Casshan Wallace as my Google search magic shows =P -- is a magician who's been on the scene for a decent amount of time now. I'm, personally, just now hearing about him but it looks like he's already marketed an effect or two, and after his performance on Fool Us I'm sure I'll be hearing about him more in the future!

I wasn't able to find many social media accounts for him, unfortunately. The info I did find, from The Magic Café, isn't accurate so no clue.

Act Overview

There isn't a whole lot to describe about this one. At least, writing about it won't help sell it much.

The tl;dr is that Cash had Brooke select a card which was then lost in the deck. Except, it magically appeared on top! He placed it back into the center of the deck and bam! On top again. This went on a couple more times until the finale.

Cash performing on Fool Us!
Introduced as "Cash", but the screen says "Cash Magick". I dig it =]

The card was placed in the center of the deck and Cash set the deck down on the table and stepped away. If you blinked, you would've missed the moment it happened but bam -- the top card, which was face down, magically changed into the selected card (face up)!

Did He Fool Penn & Teller?

Penn and Teller were, obviously, not fooled. I say "obviously" because Penn even started off his whole speech by calling out that Cash came on Fool Us to just perform an Ambitious Card routine, something all card magicians know and perform.

He also gave Cash a lot of praise, so at least there's that! But, as ACR is a well-known routine that most magicians do know, this one didn't fool them.

Personal Thoughts

This is where we might get a bit contentious, but I personally don't think routines like this should be allowed on Fool Us. There was nothing special about this routine, it was a run-of-the-mill ACR. Even down to the "reveal" of the final card, which I'm assuming was the main piece of the routine that he was hoping would fool Penn & Teller, is something you'd see in a stage or parlor setting. Sure, you might not see that one in your typical street magic ACR act, but that doesn't make it unique. I'm sure someone would be watching like a hawk and know what's up.

A big problem with ACR on TV is that it's much easier to discern the method than other tricks. This is a card trick with complete focus on the deck. When you're in person, misdirection is simpler, and things move more quickly. When you're at home, you're not distracted by the world around you, you're focused directly on the screen which has a zoomed-in look at the deck of cards. This is a case when Fool Us could easily spoil how the trick's done for anyone watching... which is bad, given every card magician does this routine at one point or another.

Cash's performance was also a bit off to me. This isn't on him at all, it's more of the environment. Or it could be him -- but I'm giving him the benefit of doubt. It felt like he was a street performer trying to do an act on a stage for the first time. He stumbled in his words and didn't appear to have control over his spectator. This is me every time I perform, so it's understandable =P. But for an act on Fool Us, I'd expect it to be a little more polished.

As far as I can tell, his performance was just so he could build up marketing for his product (what he used in the final reveal). But hey, what better way to advertise than to perform it live in front of Penn & Teller?!

Aleš Hrdlička - New-Age Juggling

Aleš is a magician, and juggler, from the Czech Republic, but his Instgram profile shows a lot of fun skills!

He seems to have a really fun personality, and his acts are pretty great. Give him a follow to keep up!

Act Overview

Aleš's act was a beautiful and fun display of juggling, with elements of magic sprinkled in.

He began with a white ring around his neck. Or a ring of light? It was hard to tell, either it was just really bright white, or actually lit up. And that's about all I can describe from the act in full detail.

And the ring went all wobbly!
Wobbly rings are the worst!

You see, he took that ring and began tossing it around. And then more rings appeared. Those rings split in half, or exploded into pieces, or became floppy. More rings, all being juggled.

He juggled rings around his body, even his head! By the end of his juggling performance, the stage was covered in pieces of rings and there stood an abstract art sculpture of sorts.

Did He Fool Penn & Teller?

Penn was laughing in a very endearing way when he started his speech for Aleš.

Throughout your whole act, I was giggling like a little boy.
Penn, loving Aleš's juggling act.

Since the act wasn't necessarily magic, but juggling, it didn't fool the duo. Penn really loved it though, given he's a juggler too. I'm not sure what Teller thought, but he probably liked it =P

Henry & Klauss - Exploding Barrels

Henry and Klauss are illusionists from Brazil that perform a variety of illusions and magic tricks, mostly (or entirely) on stage. You can check out their show info on their Instagram page (@henryeklauss).

An interesting note to make is that they also appeared on America's Got Talent (Season 17), but for more about that appearance, read my Personal Thoughts below (after reading the Fool Us info).

Act Overview

Henry and Klauss took the stage, in Brazil. That's right folks, they were streaming a recording of their stage performance from their theater in Brazil.

Behind them on the stage were two large barrels with chains attached. They set the premise up quickly too. They would each be sealed in a barrel, and they would need to escape before time ran out, otherwise the barrels would explode with them inside!

True to their word, they were both placed inside a barrel and one hand extended out of a hole in the top. The extended hands were handcuffed, and the barrels raised. Worth mentioning is that the assistants who were doing all the work were in dark jump suits with lit-up face masks and all.

Henry and Klauss, locked in barrels above the stage.
The picture's dark, but I'm assuming it was dark in the theater as well.


The barrels were raised above the stage, the fuse was lit, and the timer began counting down. We were given a sneak peek inside the barrels, courtesy of little cameras, and both Henry and Klauss were struggling to free themselves.

And then the timer hit zero and the barrels exploded open!

Henry and Klauss were nowhere to be seen. But wait, there they are! They were standing at the back of the theater, perfectly unharmed!

Did They Fool Penn & Teller?

As I expected, Penn and Teller weren't fooled by this one. It was a large stage performance, an escape act no less, and Penn was quick to say that they weren't fooled.

He did give them praise, and said:

We have to hand it to your whole crew.
Penn (and Teller) praising Henry and Klauss's crew for their hard work.

Personal Thoughts

Seeing this act as a recording on the show kind of killed it for me. Video editing with cameras cutting here and there, yeah, there's no magic. As soon as you do a cut and show another camera angle, I no longer believe it's the same thing we're seeing -- it's the magic of video, many recordings spliced together can still look like one.

And yes, I know that normal acts on Fool Us can also be done this way given that they're technically performed twice, and footage can be used interchangeably from both performances. However, in this case, it's a little different because we're not seeing a video that was edited by Fool Us, but by Henry and Klauss.

I'm sure it would've been cool to see in person though. However, my one piece of feedback is that the whole act, even before they were locked in the barrels, I thought to myself "they're going to end up being the assistants in the masks". They weren't, of course, but if they were I think that the trick would've been next level!

All escape acts, or a lot of them, have the magician end up at the back of the theater. That means that they weren't in the barrels the whole time and we've been lied to. Those monkeys that have been dancing under the barrels the whole time though, if they dropped to floor as soon as the explosion happens and then stood up and pulled off their masks and bam -- Henry and Klauss -- my mind would be blown. It would be a double "assistant's revenge", plus barrel escape!

Ah, and that brings us to their appearance on America's Got Talent. In 2022, Henry and Klauss performed the exact same trick on AGT (watch it here). Except, they didn't "appear" at the back of the theater... instead, they appeared as the camera crew, up close and personal to the show's judges. Now that is how to make an appearance! The act performed on AGT, in my opinion, was way better than that on Fool Us. And yet, it was the exact same one. Go figure!

Jonah Babins & Ben Train - The Kiss of Fire

Jonah Babins (@jonahbabinsmagic) and Ben Train (@train.ben) are two magician friends who have been hanging out together for years. This is their second appearance on Fool Us; the first was during last year's episode of Alyson's Smart Ass.

Act Overview

Jonah and Ben were on the stage behind a large table. They invited Penn and Teller up on stage and recounted some rather interesting information about how they sleep with pictures of Penn and Teller at night.

That's not awkward at all...

Ah, but that was to provide context as to why they had photos of Penn and Teller, which they then produced. They had Penn and Teller sign their individual photo and then, Jonah and Ben tore the photos in half.

Penn and Teller signing the photos by Jonah and Ben.
"Teller, can I get a kiss?" - Ben Train


They swapped half of their photo with the other's and then brought out a lighter. By providing a quick "kiss of fire", both photos were completely restored! Except, they were half-and-half; the top half would be Penn and the bottom Teller, and vice versa.


Did They Fool Penn & Teller?

It sure pays to suck up to us!
Penn, letting Jonah and Ben know that they appreciated the praise from them.

Unfortunately, the duo didn't fool the main duo.

Their act was a twist on the classic Torn & Restored plot, Penn quickly saying that it was heat-based and giving away just a bit too much information in my opinion.

Personal Thoughts

I'm a fan of torn and restored plots in magic, but only if they're done clean and, or perhaps or, with good reason.

Penn and Teller do a version with a newspaper, as have several great stage magicians. They just "do the thing", and the performance is standalone but amazing.

The plot exists in card magic too, typically with a single card being "restored". Most performances of this are just meh, but it's a strong plot so it often holds. However, I've seen a very similar plot -- to the one performed by Jonah and Ben -- with cards too where two cards with different colored backs are torn in half and then restored together, but opposite.

I've thought that that effect was neat, but not great. The times I've seen it, the performance was lacking. It was just, done. Jonah and Ben's build-up, I never saw the ending coming until they gave it a "kiss of fire." And that is what's cool.

My only nit-pick, and this really isn't a big one at all, but the only thing I recalled that could've been smoother was the handling of the photos during the end -- when they were being "restored". Nothing was flashed or anything, at least that I could tell, but I was left with the impression that there was a lot of "handling" going on. I've only watched it once so I could've simply been distracted and watching again could remove that feeling, but that's how I remember it. Either way though, I really liked this routine and truth be told, it fooled me =]

Penn & Teller - Needles of the World

Penn and Teller started their act on the stage with a member of the audience! Yes, that's right, since the audience is finally back this season, they don't need to rely on the host (Brooke Burke) to always fill in as the spectator.

As usual with Penn, he gave an opening monologue that lasted a bit, but it was all focused on the choice to pick a needle. There was a table covered in needles, and each had a special name, some real and some apparently made up.

The spectator chose the Red Darning needle, which Penn made her reiterate multiple times throughout the act.

Then, Penn had her pick a card from a deck that she was able to shuffle herself.

If you learned some cardistry on TikTok.
Penn, letting the spectator know she could freely handle the deck.

At this point, she picked a needle -- the Red Darning needle -- and a card. The card was placed back into the deck, but she has the needle in her hand.

The large black curtain that served as the backdrop of the act up to this point was pulled open to reveal a large container of hay with stairs leading up to it.

She was instructed to walk up to the top of a platform and, you guessed it, she threw the needle into the stack of hay.

Finding a needle in a haystack.
Well, that's certainly one way to find a needle in a haystack!

Teller stood directly below the hay with a piece of string in his hands. The hay was released onto Teller and in an instant, the spectator's selected card was stuck on a red darning needle, threaded on the piece of string!

By far the best act of the episode (^_^)


Did you notice? Not a single fooler in tonight's episode. I was so amped earlier in the season when we had an episode with two foolers, I was sure that this year we'd end up seeing more. Oh well, maybe next time?!

The acts themselves were decent, but I was left wanting a little more from the episode. Not explicitly "a fooler" -- because I was fooled by at least one of the performances -- but something more magical. I'm not sure how to phrase it. But again, maybe next time.

Rating System

Did you notice the star ratings for the acts above? Here are the rating categories I use when coming up with them:

  • Creativity: How innovative and original was the act?
  • Execution: How well was the act performed, technically?
  • Audience Engagement: How effectively did the act, or rather the magician(s), engage and captivate the audience?
  • Presentation: How well was the trick presented, including storytelling, pacing, and showmanship?
  • Deception Level: How successful was the act in fooling the audience, not including Penn & Teller?

And yes, I realize that the acts we see are edited for TV, and that I personally may not be familiar with the specific tricks or trick category. These factors do skew the rating categories, but at the end of the day, it's all about how I personally rate them.

Your rating may be different than mine, and that's totally cool. Either way, if you want to share your thoughts then send them my way!

Share This!

Previous Post Next Post