For almost 40 years, Penn (Jillette) and Teller have been entertaining audiences across the globe with their unique brand of comedy and magic.
The duo return to Biloxi on Friday with an 8 p.m. show at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Tickets start at $25 and are available at Ticketmaster.com.
But magic is only a part of what Penn & Teller do.
For starters, there’s the groundbreaking Emmy-winning show “Bull----!” they created for Showtime, which ran from 2003-2010. “Bull----!” took a skeptical look at everything from religion and the afterlife to 12-step programs and PETA.
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Penn & Teller were also featured in the RUN-DMC video for “It’s Tricky “and Katy Perry’s 2009 video ‘Waking Up in Vegas.’”
They are also devout atheists, libertarians and purveyors of all things truthful.
In an interview with the Sun Herald, which was conducted on the day Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Penn discusses his fondness for Dylan and why he thinks “Bull----!” was so well received.
As a fan of (Bob) Dylan, were you surprised by the Nobel announcement?
None of us were surprised of the Nobel Prize. I’ve been saying he should win it for 20 years. I knew that he was on the short list for the past five years. I really wasn’t shocked, I was thrilled to pieces. Coincidentally, I’m seeing Bob tonight because he’s playing Vegas. The day you win a Nobel Prize, that’s the night you should be onstage in a casino in Vegas, don’t you think?
What albums or songs of Dylan’s really registered with you?
It’s funny because when you’re talking about popular music, most of it is about a personal experience — like this Iggy Pop song reminds you of a certain point in your life or you like this Monkees song for it reminds you of — but with Dylan, it may be the literature. I don’t appreciate “Moby Dick” because of what it meant in my life, but I appreciate it because it’s literature. But that said, I’m a huge fan of “Street Legal.” I’m also one of the people, and there are many of us, that tell people when they aks where to start with Dylan, I tell them to start with the 21st Century stuff. I don’t think you do better than “Modern Times,” Love and Theft” and “Tempest.”
For me, musically, the absolute tops are Lou Reed, Dylan and Sun Ra.
What do you think of the collapse of the music industry?
I don’t know. We had this weird period of time where musicians could make money without playing music and we pretended that was the way it was supposed to be. But now people have gone back and they are having to play music to make a living at music. “Sgt. Pepper’s” was the epitome of that period. Dylan never made his “Sgt. Pepper’s.” Even “Blonde on Blonde” is meant to be performances of those songs. With The Beatles “A Day in The Life,” that’s not a song, it’s what it’s meant to be on the record. There’s a big difference there. I don’t mind music being performed live. But everything I just said is negated by EDM, which is also pretty wonderful.”
What about “Bull----!” Was that a show a hard sell for you guys?
Absolutely. You couldn’t have a harder sell than that show. And to make it even weirder, we sold that show two weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. We were going into places with an atheist skeptical show right at the time the nation was mourning. To some, that may sound like the worst time to sell a show like that, but in retrospect, it may have been the best time because maybe Americans were seeing that treating religion without skepticism may have not been a good thing.
If you go
Penn & Teller
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino at 875 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi
8 p.m. on Fiday, Nov. 11
Tickets start at $25 and are availble at Ticketmaster.com.