Penn & Teller can’t fool Secret Service

Penn & Teller once had a sort of gun showdown with former President George H.W. Bush.

Back during the President Bill Clinton years, papa Bush and Penn & Teller were hired to speak to 10,000 people at a corporate show in New Orleans.

Bush was supposed to speak first, followed by a performance from the funny Rio-headlining magicians.

Naturally, Bush’s Secret Service people asked Penn & Teller’s crew if there was anything in the show that could be dangerous to the president.

“Our crew said, ‘We have two Magnums and ammunition,’ ” for a magic trick, Penn Jillette recalls. Secret Service workers responded, “You can’t have those in the building.”

The magic crew said they needed the weapons for the trick. The Secret Service kept saying no.

Finally, the magic crew pulled out their serious punch line: “We said, ‘Well, who’s opening for who?’ ” Penn says, pointing out Bush was sort of Penn & Teller’s opener.

Even so, the Secret Service won the gun battle, and the weaponry was kept in a lock box on a truck half a block away, guarded by a Secret Service guy and a Penn & Teller crew member, smoking cigarettes on the back bumper while Bush spoke.

Penn & Teller are crazy busy lately. They just got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

And this Sunday, they will serve as grand marshals (for the 12th year in a row) of UNLV’s “AIDS Walk” to raise money for Aid for AIDS of Nevada (, which drew 9,000 people last year.

Meanwhile, check out Penn’s popular podcast, “Sunday School,” through a phone app or online (

Like most podcasters, Penn has been using his audio podcast as a great way to tell full stories and to have conversations with serious and silly guests — without answering to a boss for what he says on the podcast.

“That’s a really nice forum to work in,” Penn says, because the podcast isn’t trying to find a demographic audience to attract advertising.

“Everything is getting more and more narrowcasting” on TV and on radio, Penn says and jokes: “You have the Gay Catholic Fishermen Network.”


Vegas girl Jenna Jameson, the world’s most famous ex-porn star, reportedly was charged with misdemeanor battery after a citizen’s arrest Saturday around a home in Newport Beach, Calif. But afterward, Jameson’s Twitter account posted things about a “liar,” a “steroid user” and someone she thinks stole from her. Very confusing, and yet not confusing. … CBS’s “Vegas” TV show looks doomed after ratings dropped a lot by moving from Tuesday nights to the dreaded heap of Friday night.


How good does Sheryl Crow look? She and Dierks Bentley performed to raise money for ACM’s Party for a Cause Festival on Saturday in the parking lot of the Orleans Arena. … Fun tycoon Mark Cuban drank with friends and fans at Saturday’s official opening of Encore Beach Club, then Saturday night at Encore’s club Surrender. … Hollywood star-child Rumer Willis hung with actor Jayson Blair at Saturday’s club Tao (it was Tao Group’s Jason Strauss’ birthday), while Snoop Dogg performed “Gin and Juice,” Busta Rhymes made the rounds, and Sports Illustrated model Nina Agdal borrowed a giant teddy bear head to wear while dancing. Craziness. … And seen Saturday at club Haze: “Entourage’s” Kevin Dillon; current and former pro athletes Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree, Penny Hardaway and Kevin McHale; a T-Pain performance; and model Jessica White.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at He blogs at

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