Updated May 18, 2020 - 10:09 am
Their ampersand spans the Las Vegas Valley these days, but Penn & Teller remain an interlocking performance tandem. The hit magic duo turn the tricks from their respective residences in their new “Try This At Home” special at 8 p.m. Monday on The CW.
The show flips the premise of the duo’s 1990 TV movie, “Don’t Try This At Home.” Among other routines, the duo ran over a man with an 18-wheeler while Victoria Jackson, then of “SNL,” looked on. This was the point in time when it made sense that Victoria Jackson would appear in a TV special with Penn & Teller.
Today, as Jillette says in the “Try This At home” trailer, “These are tricks you can do at your home to amuse, or annoy, your friends and family. And you won’t need any fancy props. These tricks will use the kinds of everyday objects we all have around the house.”
Such as a dying bamboo plant, a couple clown noses and a few Vegas Golden Knights hockey pucks? Maybe?
P&T introduces such established headliners as Mac King of Harrah’s, Shin Lim of Mirage and Michael Carbonaro of “The Carbonaro Effect” on TruTV. Actors and sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning are the non-magicians learning magic.
P&T are using the show to promote Caesars Cares, the Caesars Entertainment employee assistance platform. Jillette raised $13,000 over Mother’s Day weekend on his Cameo platform, splitting the take between Caesars Cares and AFAN. A donation specifically for the Caesars fund is to be announced at the end of Monday’s show.
The duo has kept busy in the COVID-19 shutdown, which coincided with Teller’s return to the stage after recovering from his third back surgery in 18 months. Their CW show “Fool Us,” taped in the spring at the Rio, returns June 22. They taped Season 7 at the Rio in the Spring. As Jillette, still the tandem’s spokesman, says, “No one can make a better use of some time alone, better than a bunch of damn magicians.”
Brad Garrett checked in Sunday afternoon. I presume he was just bored. He says his MGM Grand club might reopen “July-ish,” which at the moment qualifies as an acceptable time horizon.
Meantime, Garrett was to premier in Showtime’s revival of “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” Sunday night. The series is set in 1938 Los Angeles, with Garrett playing Benny Berman, mobster Meyer Lansky’s right-hand man.
Original creator and executive producer John Logan is reprising all of the original series’ roles and is heading up the writing team. Lest we forget, Garrett is an accomplished dramatic actor (though not a great tap dancer), and he’s back in episodes 9 and 10.
For an underrated binge-watching experience, check out season 2 of the short-lived comedy-drama “I’m Dying Up Here.” The Showtime series is set in the 1970s L.A. stand-up comedy circuit. Garrett plays a veteran comic, offering tips, as comics slug it out while seeking a break on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” It’s a life Garrett has lived.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.