Penn & Teller: Fool Us

Penn & Teller: Fool Us is a magic competition TV show where magicians from around the world perform tricks in front of the magician-comedian duo Penn and Teller.

The first two seasons of the show were hosted by Jonathan Ross. Starting in the third season and continuing still today it's hosted by Alyson Hannigan.

After each magic performance, Penn & Teller attempt to solve the mystery of how the trick was executed -- carefully dancing with words to avoid revealing the solution to the rest of the crowd. If they are unable to figure out how the trick was done, they were fooled! Any magician that successfully fools Penn & Teller is rewarded with an Fool Us trophy and given a trip to Las Vegas to perform for a week as the opening act in Penn & Teller's show!

Episode Format

Each episode kicks off with an introduction from the host and brings out the magical duo Penn & Teller.

Four magicians are featured per episode (there were 6 in the pilot!). For each performer, an intro reel plays that gives us a little background information about them and has them showing off a few magic moves. And then, the real magic begins.

The magicians come out onto the stage, say hi, and then get to the routine! Once the world went into the Pandemic, Penn & Teller resumed but had performers appear virtually. Today, performers are starting to come back to live performances on the stage with Penn & Teller, but some from other parts of the world still appear on a big screen.

After each performance, host Alyson chats with the magician for a minute or two while Penn & Teller converse about the trick. And then we enter the feedback round. Teller stays his normal quite-self while Penn speaks for the Duo. He offers their appreciation (or in some cases dislike!) of the trick that was performed, the magician's personality, etc. After what may feel like a long-winded applause, he either says something akin to "I think, you didn't fool us" or "You fooled us!". In the case of not being fooled, to an audience of non-magicians it may seem magical in it's own right how in the world he conveyed how the trick was done in just a few short sentences that had no indication of performing a magic trick -- but to those in the know, keywords sprinkled here and there are often more than enough.

At the end of each episode, after the four magicians have performed, Penn & Teller end the show with a performance of their own. The first 6 or 7 seasons we saw many of their classic routines but they've even stated for their latest season that they had to start coming up with new material just to end the show with because they never imagined it being on so long! I'm excited to see what else they come up with for future episodes =]


Why am I including this in my library, you might ask? Obviously I don't own Fool Us, but it is something I watch often.

I get to see folks that I follow and interact with on Instagram, or even discover new magicians I haven't heard of before. I now have an even larger pool of reference material for performances. And, though this is a smaller reason but still a reason nonetheless, some of the routines that we see on  Fool Us end up being purchasable after the episode airs.

I can't promise to write a review for every episode, but I will write about one every now and then to highlight things of interest.

Image Source: The header and thumbnail images for this are from IMDB.

This is a video featuring magic presented by Penn Jillette and Teller. Available on TV, each episode has a running time of 1 hour.