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Penn Jillette is a cultural phenomenon as a solo personality and as half of the world-famous Emmy Award-winning magic duo Penn & Teller. In the mid-'80s, Penn & Teller went[…]

Magic goes to eleborate lengths to make something look one way that’s really another. Penn and Teller thought it would be funny to do a magic trick that accomplished reality.

Question: What was the inspiration behind your “Looks Simple” rntrick? 

Penn Jillette:  Teller and I were fascinated by how rnstupid magic is, that magic is going through all these elaborate rnmachinations to make something look one way that's really another. And rnit struck us as really funny to do a magic trick that accomplished rnreality.
rnAnd we went through many, many things. We were going to originally do itrn with cooking or something like that but after weeks of trying to write rnthis bit we came up with the idea of how about taking out a cigarette, rnlighting it, putting a cigarette out, and then pulling out another rncigarette and lighting it. How about if we did that trick exactly like rnthat with all accomplished by trickery. Stuff you could do simply. And rnthat seemed to have such a purely existential feel to us. Going through rnincredibly complicated machinations to get to a very simple end.

Recorded on June 8, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman