Fool Us is a magic competition in which magicians perform tricks in front of American magician-comedian duo Penn & Teller. If Penn & Teller cannot figure out how a trick was done, the magician or magicians who performed it win a five-star trip to Las Vegas to perform as the opening act in Penn & Teller’s world-famous show, also at the Rio Hotel & Casino.
Each episode starts off with the introduction stating the purpose of the series. Penn & Teller come out and take their seat towards centre stage, and hopeful magicians perform their acts in front of them with a live studio audience. After each performance, Penn & Teller privately confer and may examine any of the trick’s props, while the host interviews the magicians.
Penn & Teller then reveal if they know how the trick was performed, typically using cryptic language or writing down the method and presenting it privately to the magicians to confirm, as to avoid exposing the secrets behind the trick. If Penn & Teller are wrong or cannot come up with how the trick was done, the magician wins the opportunity to later perform at one of Penn & Teller’s Las Vegas shows.
The performance commences with magician entering the stage, being hosted by Alison Halligan. After Alison introduces the magician and some initial banter between the magician and Penn, the trick commences.
In this example, the magician provides a back story of how he has always loved magic and he spent seven years in Tibet, channelling his physic abilities and, for the very first time, would love to demonstrate these abilities on front of Penn & Teller.
The magician reaches into his pocket and removes a deck of sealed (i.e still in their plastic wrapper) playing cards. During the performance, the magician continues with the storyline of studying under a Tibetan monk and how this monk allowed him to delve into a person’s mind. The purpose of this background is to subtly re-enforce in the minds of the audience, that perhaps this actually might be real. As a bit of comic relief, the magician states that after three years of twelve hours a day, the Monk pulls out a deck of Bicycle Cards. Clearly this is untrue, but provides a good Segway into the performance. Also, as the audience has seen a new deck of cards, with the seal being broken, it is evident that this is a new deck. The magician then removes the Jokers and the advertising cards from the deck and ribbon spreads the deck to demonstrate it is in fact in “new deck order”.
The magicians asks Teller, if he would mind shuffling the deck, because despite spending years at the Mongolian monastery (the magician corrects his misspoken word “Oops, Did I say Mongolian, no no I meant Tibetan”), my skills are no match for the legendary Teller. Ladies and Gentleman, Mr Raymond Teller.
Teller then shuffles the card.
The magician turns to Penn and asks for Penn to “think of a card” and discreetly locate the card and take it out. “However”, states the magician, “Before you find your card, allow me to face the other way – I want to make sure that it is impossible for me to see your card. Once you have found your card, please turn the card upside down and place the card back into the deck and place the deck back on the table. And Penn, for good measure could you also please shuffle the deck as well.”
At this point, Penn (unknown to the magician) has located the 4C, turned it upside down and placed it back into the deck. Additionally, Penn has shuffled the deck, so no one now knows where the card is located. Penn yells out “Done!”.
As the Card Case (containing the camera) in located on the table in front of Penn, the effect is ready to perform. The magician turns around and begins to walk toward Penn (and the deck of cards). During the approach, the magician presses the “Scan Cards” function on the remote control and Illumanti begins to scan through all the cards. As Illumanti was already configured to be in the “Upside Down Effect” mode, Illumanti identifies that the 4C is upside down in the deck at position 17.
Illumanti sends the audio message “Position 17, Four of Clubs, Upside Down” to the Bluetooth earpiece.
The magician then commences banter, stating that “the Tibetan Monk has taught him the concept of a ‘perfect ratio’ and that 17 and 4 were perfect numbers. Mr Penn, I believe that in fact you were thinking of the Four of Clubs is that correct ?”
Penn states that indeed it was the four of clubs that he was thinking of.
The audience applause, with the magician calming the audience saying “okay, okay – But I said that I needed a perfect ratio. Penn please count down 17 cards from the top.”
Penn counts down 17 cards and the 17th card is in fact upside down and his thought of card.
Again the audience applauses and the crowd is “wow!”.
At this point, the magician picks up the discarded (top) cards and throws them out, leaving only the balance of the deck (with the 4C still sitting on top).
The magician then activates the “Scan Card” mode and re-scans the balance of the cards.
Once the audience has calmed down, the magician continues with his banter.”
“I started this performance saying that I had spent time with Tibetan monks leaning how to read minds. Mr Penn, I believe that your sub-consciously memorised the deck. In fact, I am reading from you right now that the 7J, JD, AC and the 9S are the next four cards. Is that correct?”
Penn states it is.“In fact, Mr Teller lets go through the rest of the deck, the 8C, 4H, JC, KS…every, single card Mr Penn matches my prediction!!”.