EW sits down with magicians Penn & Teller to discuss scamming, paparazzi, and Peter Lorre
It may be called How to Play in Traffic (Boulevard, $18.95), but the new book from mischievous magicians Penn & Teller doesn’t actually encourage impressionable youth to run onto I-95. No, sir. It’s merely a collection of harmless pranks, such as how to play bomb-threat jokes on airport security. The longtime duo — who’ve been shooting a Nov. 10 ABC prime-time special — took time for some of our own idiocy.
EW: What’s the weirdest fan mail you’ve ever gotten?
PENN JILLETTE: A fan sends me these wonderful videotapes of him dressed as me, and he’s spanking his wife.
EW: What famous figure would you most like to scam?
TELLER: I’d very much enjoy seeing Al Gore make even more of a fool than he makes of himself.
EW: What do you think of the paparazzi?
PENN: When they refused to take pictures of Sylvester Stallone in Italy, the paparazzi became the true modern-day poetic heroes.
EW: Is Doug Henning due for a comeback?
TELLER: I think he’s poised to come back in another life as a snake. He’s now deeply into New Age bulls—.
EW: Who would you rather spend the night with, Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie or Samantha from Bewitched?
TELLER: Jeannie, as long as I could see her navel.
PENN: I want to do both at once. I can’t choose between Elizabeth Montgomery’s lips and Barbara Eden’s body.
EW: Who was the first person you had a crush on?
PENN: Jiminy Cricket! Oh, the answer’s not Jiminy Cricket…although Jiminy Cricket was a little fey. Man, I don’t know.
EW: What would you like to be reincarnated as?
TELLER: The Empire State Building. It has a good view, and it’s very handsome.
EW: What do you watch on TV?
PENN: I don’t watch TV. When I walk into a hotel room, I unplug the TV and plug in my computer. It’s a symbolic thing — a symbol of the future.
EW: If they made a movie of your lives, who would play you?
TELLER: Peter Lorre, because he made his career playing little creepy guys.
PENN: I would like it to be Uma Thurman — she’s fairly tall — but it would probably be Randy Quaid.
EW: Have you thought about your funeral?
PENN: I want my friends all gathering around and dissecting me. And keeping whatever parts they want for key chains.
TELLER: Well, my parents have given me a card for a pre-paid cremation, and I keep it in my wallet.