For nearly 40 years Penn & Teller have defied labels—and at times physics and good taste– by redefining the genre of magic and inventing their own very distinct niche in comedy.
The pair were first known to the British public with their highly successful Channel four series ‘The Unpleasant World of Penn & Teller’ 1994 Ch4. This was followed up by TV specials and eventually by ITV 2011 ‘Penn & Teller Fool Us’ hosted by Jonathan Ross, challenging magicians to perform a trick to Penn & Teller, which they could not guess how it was done. With sold out runs on Broadway, world tours, Emmy-winning TV specials and hundreds of outrageous appearances on everything from Letterman to Leno, Friends to The Simpsons, Chelsea Lately to Top Chef, comedy’s only team show no signs of slowing down.
With an amazing seven wins, including 2013, as “Las Vegas Magicians of the Year,” their 12-year run at The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino makes them one of the longest running and most-beloved shows in Las Vegas history, outselling every other resident magician on The Strip.
Their acclaimed Showtime series, “Penn & Teller: BS!” was nominated for 13 Emmys and is the longest-running series in the history of the network. The show tackled the fakes and frauds behind such topics as alien abduction, psychics and bottled water. Their latest television venture, “Penn & Teller Tell A Lie” for the Discovery Channel premiered last October and Penn recently showed his business savvy once again on the newest season of NBC’s “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice.” Their acclaimed documentary, “Tim’s Vermeer,” follows Texas-based inventor Tim Jenison on his quest to discover the methods used by Dutch Master painter Johannes Vermeer. The film, which was nominated for a BAFTA and shortlisted for the 2014 Oscars, is currently in theaters.
Along the way, they’ve written three New York Times Best-Sellers, hosted their own Emmy nominated variety show for FX, starred in their own Emmy winning specials for ABC, NBC and Comedy Central and produced the critically lauded feature film documentary The Aristocrats.
As individuals, they are just as prolific. Teller directed a version of Macbeth that toured the East Coast to raves from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal and co-wrote and directed the Off-Broadway thriller “Play Dead.” Penn has written three books, including the 2011 New York Times Best Seller, “God No!”, hosted the NBC game show Identity and donned his ballroom shoes for the 2008 season of ABC’s hit Dancing With The Stars. With inclusions in the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, as answers on Jeopardy and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, their status as cultural icons and the preeminent duo in comedy was once again reinforced when Katy Perry personally asked them to co-star in the video for her #1 song, “Waking Up in Vegas.”
In April 2013 they were honored with their very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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