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Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette

Overview
Penn Fraser Jillette is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 magician
Magic (illusion)
Magic is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means...

, comedian
Comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

, illusionist, juggler
Juggling
Juggling is a skill involving moving objects for entertainment or sport. The most recognizable form of juggling is toss juggling, in which the juggler throws objects up to catch and toss up again. This may be one object or many objects, at the same time with one or many hands. Jugglers often refer...

, bassist
Bassist
A bass player, or bassist is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments...

 and a best-selling author known for his work with fellow illusionist Teller in the team Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard during their performance...

, and advocacy of atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 philosophy, free-market economics, and scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge". For example, Robert K...

.

Jillette was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts
Greenfield, Massachusetts
Greenfield is a city in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,456 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Franklin County. Greenfield is home to Greenfield Community College, the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Franklin County Fair...

. His mother, Valda R. Jillette (née Parks) (November 8, 1909—January 1, 2000), was a secretary, and his father, Samuel H. Jillette (March 14, 1912—February 14, 1999), worked at Greenfield's Franklin County Jail.
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Quotations

It's fair to say that the Bible contains equal amounts of fact, history, and pizza.

"The Bible: Fact or Fiction?" on Penn & Teller: Bullshit!|Bullshit Season 2, episode 6 (6 May 2004)

Freedom means the right to be stupid.

Free FM Radio Show (15 September 2006)
Encyclopedia
Penn Fraser Jillette is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 magician
Magic (illusion)
Magic is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means...

, comedian
Comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

, illusionist, juggler
Juggling
Juggling is a skill involving moving objects for entertainment or sport. The most recognizable form of juggling is toss juggling, in which the juggler throws objects up to catch and toss up again. This may be one object or many objects, at the same time with one or many hands. Jugglers often refer...

, bassist
Bassist
A bass player, or bassist is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments...

 and a best-selling author known for his work with fellow illusionist Teller in the team Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard during their performance...

, and advocacy of atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 philosophy, free-market economics, and scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge". For example, Robert K...

.

Early life


Jillette was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts
Greenfield, Massachusetts
Greenfield is a city in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,456 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Franklin County. Greenfield is home to Greenfield Community College, the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Franklin County Fair...

. His mother, Valda R. Jillette (née Parks) (November 8, 1909—January 1, 2000), was a secretary, and his father, Samuel H. Jillette (March 14, 1912—February 14, 1999), worked at Greenfield's Franklin County Jail. Jillette became disenchanted with traditional illusionist acts that presented the craft as authentic magic, such as The Amazing Kreskin on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is a talk show hosted by Johnny Carson under the Tonight Show franchise from 1962 to 1992. It originally aired during late-night....

. At age eighteen, he saw a show by illusionist James Randi
James Randi
James Randi is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation...

, and became enamored of his approach to magic that openly acknowledged deception as entertainment rather than a mysterious supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 power. Jillette regularly acknowledges Randi as the one person on the planet he loves the most besides members of his family.

Jillette worked with high school classmate Michael Moschen
Michael Moschen
Michael Moschen is a juggler. He received a Fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation in 1990, has appeared on TV on PBS, and done ads for Motorola. Cirque du Soleil commissioned Moschen to create a new work for their permanent theatrical circus in Las Vegas, Nevada.Moschen is particularly known...

 in developing and performing a juggling act during the years immediately following their 1973 graduation. In 1974, Jillette graduated from Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College trained around 1,400 clowns in the "Ringling style" from 1968 to 1997.-History:...

. That same year, he was introduced to Teller
Teller (magician)
Teller is an American magician, illusionist, comedian, writer, and the frequently silent half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, along with Penn Jillette. He legally changed his name from "Raymond Joseph Teller" to just "Teller"...

 by Weir Chrisemer, a mutual friend. The three then formed a three-person act called Asparagus Valley Cultural Society which played in Amherst, Massachusetts
Amherst, Massachusetts
Amherst is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States in the Connecticut River valley. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,819, making it the largest community in Hampshire County . The town is home to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts...

 and San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

. In 1981, he and Teller teamed up as Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard during their performance...

, and went on to do a successful on- and Off Broadway show called "Penn & Teller" that toured nationally.

Career and showtime


In 1994 Jillette purchased a home in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

 and dubbed it "The Slammer".
It has been featured in dozens of television shows and articles and was designed by his friend Colin Summers. He currently records music there, and previously conducted his radio show at the studio inside "The Slammer".

Jillette was also a regular contributor to the now-defunct PC/Computing
PC/Computing
PC/Computing was a monthly Ziff Davis publication that for most of its run focused on publishing reviews of IBM-compatible hardware and software and tips and reference information for users of such software and hardware.Established under the guidance of founding publisher and columnist Michael...

 magazine in the early 1990s, having a regular back section column between 1990 and 1994. True to form, the columns were often as much about Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman
Uma Karuna Thurman is an American actress and model. She has performed in leading roles in a variety of films, ranging from romantic comedies and dramas to science fiction and action movies. Among her best-known roles are those in the Quentin Tarantino films Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill...

 as actual PC computing issues. Jillette and PC Computing parted ways over a dispute with a new editor. Jillette felt the new editor was trying to tell him how to write his column and what topics he should be covering. Jillette asserts that he is unsure if he was fired or if he actually quit.

Jillette was the primary voice announcer for the U.S.-based cable network Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

 in the 1990s.

Starting in 1996, he had a recurring role on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (TV series)
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is an American sitcom based on the Archie comic book series of the same name.The show stars Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina Spellman, a teenager with magical powers, who lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda , and their magical talking cat Salem...

 as Drell, the head of the Witches' Council. He and Teller both appeared in the pilot with Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry
Deborah Ann "Debbie" Harry is an American singer-songwriter and actress, best known for being the lead singer of the punk rock and new wave band Blondie. She has also had success as a solo artist, and in the mid-1990s she performed and recorded as part of The Jazz Passengers...

 as the third member of the Council. The show was created by Jillette's friend Nell Scovell
Nell Scovell
Nell Scovell is a television and magazine writer, producer and director. She is the creator of the television series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, which aired on ABC and The WB from 1996 until 2003....

.

For a brief time in 1997, Jillette wrote bi-weekly dispatches for the search engine
Search engine
A search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system. The search results are usually presented in a list and are commonly called hits. Search engines help to minimize the time required to find information and the amount of information...

 Excite.com. Each column ended with a pithy comment identifying which of the Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard during their performance...

 duo he was. (For example: "Penn Jillette is the half of Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard during their performance...

 that's detained at airports.") Jillette made a habit of linking many words in his online column to wacky sites that generally had nothing to do with the actual words. The columns are no longer available on the current Excite.com site, but have been republished with permission at PennAndTeller.com.

Starting in 2003, Jillette, along with his partner Teller, began producing and hosting the show Penn & Teller: Bullshit! In the show, the two analyze cultural phenomena, debunk myths, criticize people and aspects of society they deem "bullshit
Bullshit
Bullshit is a common English expletive which may be shortened to the euphemism bull or the initialism B.S. In British English, "bollocks" is a comparable expletive, although bullshit is commonly used in British English...

".

In 2005 with actor Paul Provenza
Paul Provenza
Paul Provenza is an actor, comedian and filmmaker, a self-professed skeptic currently based in Los Angeles.-Early years:...

, Jillette co-produced and co-directed The Aristocrats
The Aristocrats (film)
The Aristocrats is a 2005 documentary film about the famous dirty joke of the same name. It was conceived and produced by comedians Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza, edited by Emery Emery, and released to theaters by TH!NKFilm...

 (2005), a documentary film
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 tracing the life of a dirty joke known as "The Aristocrats"
The Aristocrats (joke)
"The Aristocrats" is an exceptionally transgressive dirty joke that has been told by numerous stand-up comedians since the vaudeville era...

.

From January 3, 2006 to March 2, 2007, Jillette hosted, along with fellow atheist, skeptic, and juggler Michael Goudeau
Michael Goudeau
Michael Carey Goudeau is a juggler and an ex-circus clown who graduated from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College...

, a live, hour-long radio talk show
Talk radio
Talk radio is a radio format containing discussion about topical issues. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and often feature interviews with a number of different guests. Talk radio typically includes an element of listener participation, usually by broadcasting live...

 broadcast on the radio station brand known as Free FM
Free FM
Free FM was a short-lived, mostly-talk-radio format and brand name for eleven FM CBS Radio stations in the United States, and was created because of Howard Stern's departure to Sirius Satellite Radio in January 2006. Free FM was given its name to highlight that its stations broadcast free-to-air,...

. The show, Penn Radio
Penn Radio
Penn Radio was an hour-long talk CBS radio show which ran from January 3, 2006 to March 2, 2007, hosted by Penn Jillette and Michael Goudeau and produced by "Happy" Jack Landreth and Patrick DiFazio...

, broadcast from his Vintage Nudes Studio
Vintage Nudes Studio
Vintage Nudes Studio is Penn Jillette's private recording studio designed by Outside The Lines Studio and built by Crisci Custom Builders between October 2003 and June 2004 as part of his Las Vegas home, "The Slammer." The studio is named for playing cards that Penn collected, and the cards are...

 in Jillette's Las Vegas home. The most notable recurring segment of the show was "Monkey Tuesday" and later "The Pull of the Weasel". On March 2, 2007, Jillette, on Free FM, announced that he would no longer be doing his radio show. He stated that he is a "show biz wimp" and decided to stop doing the show so he could spend more time with his kids Zolten Penn Jillette and Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette.

During the 2006–07 television season, Jillette hosted the prime time game show "Identity
Identity (game show)
Identity is a reality/game show, hosted by Penn Jillette and produced by Reveille where contestants could win money by matching 12 strangers one-by-one to phrases about their identities.-Format:A contestant is introduced to twelve strangers...

" on NBC-TV. As of now, NBC states on its website that it plans for "Identity" to return to its prime time schedule soon, although a firm premiere date for the show's second season has not been announced.

In 2008, Jillette was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars
Dancing with the Stars (U.S. season 6)
The sixth season of Dancing with the Stars premiered on March 17, 2008; the first results show was a double-elimination episode airing on March 25, 2008. The show followed the format of previous seasons, with 12 couples....

. He was the first celebrity to be eliminated. A reference to his large feet as a sign of another large body part was bleeped in the West Coast airing.

In 2009, Jillette did a spoken guest appearance on a song by Pakistani rapper Adil Omar
Adil Omar
Adil Omar is a rapper and singer-songwriter from Islamabad, Pakistan. He is one of the few hip-hop artists from Pakistan and musicians from the region to write and perform in English. He has also collaborated with mainstream artists such as Cypress Hill, Xzibit, Everlast, Kool G Rap, DJ Lethal of...

. The song was titled "Spookshow" and produced by DJ Solo
DJ Solo
Dave Abrams, better known as DJ Solo, is an American DJ, producer, rapper and visual artist. He is a part of the Cypress Hill affiliated Soul Assassins collective. His production credits include La Coka Nostra, Everlast, Planet Asia, GZA, B-Real, Adil Omar , Mitchy Slick and others...

 of Soul Assassins
Soul Assassins
Soul Assassins are a loose collective of musicians and graphic artists affiliated to the hip hop group Cypress Hill, formed in the early 1990s. It is also the name of Cypress Hill's publishing company....

. The lyrics condemn religious extremism and encourage skepticism. It is set to be featured on a compilation album by Thick Syrup Records alongside artists like Matt Cameron
Matt Cameron
Matthew David "Matt" Cameron is an American musician who serves as the drummer for the American rock bands Pearl Jam and Soundgarden...

 of Soundgarden
Soundgarden
Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by singer Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto...

, Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam is an American rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990. Since its inception, the band's line-up has included Eddie Vedder , Jeff Ament , Stone Gossard , and Mike McCready...

, Half Japanese
Half Japanese
Half Japanese is a punk rock band formed by brothers Jad and David Fair in their Coldwater, Michigan bedroom around 1975. Their original instrumentation included a small drum set, which they took turns playing; vocals; and an out of tune guitar...

 and more.

On May 24, 2010, Jillette began a daily show on Revision3 called Penn Point.

On August 16, 2011 Jillette's book God, No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales
God, No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales
God, No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales is a book by illusionist and comedian Penn Jillette. Described as an atheist bible of sorts by reviewers, the book includes an atheist's take on the 10 commandments. Jillette also tells of his childhood growing up in Greenfield,...

 was released and made the New York Times Best Sellers in its first week of publication.

An avid upright bassist, Penn frequently accompanies jazz pianist Mike Jones, who opens for the magician's Las Vegas show.

Jill-Jet


In July 1999, Jillette was granted for the "Jill-Jet", a hot-tub jet specially angled for a woman's pleasure. He has credited Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry
Deborah Ann "Debbie" Harry is an American singer-songwriter and actress, best known for being the lead singer of the punk rock and new wave band Blondie. She has also had success as a solo artist, and in the mid-1990s she performed and recorded as part of The Jazz Passengers...

 of Blondie
Blondie (band)
Blondie is an American rock band, founded by singer Deborah Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band was a pioneer in the early American New Wave and punk scenes of the mid-1970s...

 for suggesting the idea, as the two of them were once in a hot-tub and Harry made a remark about changing the jets for a woman's pleasure. Jillette liked the idea enough to pursue patent application at the USPTO under the patent title "Hydro-therapeutic stimulator".
The abstract of the patent explains that a "discharge nozzle is located within the tub and connected to the outlet, mounted to the seat so that the discharged water from the circulation pump automatically aligns with and is directed to stimulation points (i.e., the clitoris
Clitoris
The clitoris is a sexual organ that is present only in female mammals. In humans, the visible button-like portion is located near the anterior junction of the labia minora, above the opening of the urethra and vagina. Unlike the penis, which is homologous to the clitoris, the clitoris does not...

) of the female user when the female user sits in the seat." An article in the June 2006 issue of Playboy
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

 shed additional light on the invention. Originally, it was to be called the "ClitJet", however he stated that "Jill-Jet" was more suitable because it included his name in the title.

On the Penn Radio
Penn Radio
Penn Radio was an hour-long talk CBS radio show which ran from January 3, 2006 to March 2, 2007, hosted by Penn Jillette and Michael Goudeau and produced by "Happy" Jack Landreth and Patrick DiFazio...

 show, telling the listeners about the photo shoot for the Playboy article, Jillette mentioned that he has a Jill-Jet installed in a tub at "The Slammer", and that several of his female friends and friends' spouses enjoy it a lot, but he is not aware of any other installations of a water jet in such a configuration anywhere else.

Personal life


He occasionally notes with irony that he lives and works in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

, but he does not gamble (though he did lend his name to a book on how to cheat at poker
Poker
Poker is a family of card games that share betting rules and usually hand rankings. Poker games differ in how the cards are dealt, how hands may be formed, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown , limits on bet sizes, and how many rounds of betting are allowed.In most modern poker...

).

He has never used recreational drugs
Recreational drug use
Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

 or alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

. He is, however, an advocate of the legalization of all drugs and discontinuing the War on Drugs
War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...

.

Jillette is married to Emily Zolten and has a daughter Moxie CrimeFighter and a son Zolten Penn.

Jillette is an atheist
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 (he has stated that he may consider himself to be an Anarcho-capitalist), and skeptic
Scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge". For example, Robert K...

, as well as an adherent to Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism....

's Objectivist
Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
Objectivism is a philosophy created by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand . Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception...

 philosophy, as stated on his Penn Says podcast. Jillette is a Fellow at the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

, and has stated that he "always" votes Libertarian
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

. In January 2007, Jillette took the "Blasphemy Challenge" offered by the Rational Response Squad
Rational Response Squad
The Rational Response Squad, or RRS, is an atheist activist group that confronts what it considers to be irrational claims, most notably those made by theists, particularly Christians. The most visible member of RRS is co-founder Brian Sapient...

 and publicly denied the existence of a holy spirit.
His cars' license plates read "atheist", "nogod", and "godless". "Strangely enough, they wouldn't give me 'Infidel,'" he says.

In 2005 he wrote and read an essay for National Public Radio claiming that he was "beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 ... I believe there is no God." His atheism, he has explained, has informed every aspect of his life and thoughts, and as such is as crucial to him as theistic beliefs
Theism
Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe....

 are to the devout. Jillette welcomes and even encourages open discussion, debate, and proselytizing on the issue of God's existence
Existence of God
Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others. In philosophical terms, arguments for and against the existence of God involve primarily the sub-disciplines of epistemology and ontology , but also of the theory of value, since...

, believing that the issue is too important for opinions about it to remain private. Jillette does not, however, dismiss all who do believe in God: A 2008 edition of his Penn Says podcast expresses his appreciation for a fan who brought him the gift of a pocket Gideon Bible after a performance because he realized that this individual sincerely cared enough about him to try to help him.

Jillette has stated that there is not enough information to make an informed decision on global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, and that it is an emotion versus logic issue.

Red fingernail


Speculation arises from Jillette's red fingernail on his left hand. From a FAQ from Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard during their performance...

's official website, there are three common answers:
  1. It means he once shot a man for asking personal questions.
  2. When Jillette first began performing, his mother told him to get a manicure because people would be looking at his hands. In response to this, he had all of his nails painted red as a joke. The one remaining red fingernail is in honor of his mother.
  3. It's just cool and can also sometimes provide excellent misdirection.


On the episode of Penn Radio
Penn Radio
Penn Radio was an hour-long talk CBS radio show which ran from January 3, 2006 to March 2, 2007, hosted by Penn Jillette and Michael Goudeau and produced by "Happy" Jack Landreth and Patrick DiFazio...

 broadcast on November 29, 2006, Jillette related the real story behind his red fingernail. It began as a joke with his mother. When he was 18 years old, his mother advised him to keep his hands looking nice, since he then was working as a magician and his audience would be looking at his hands. Jillette colored the single nail red and showed it to his mother. He has continued to paint that single nail to the present. The color he uses is Jelly Apple Red (#054) by Essie.

Filmography

  • Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
    Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
    Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder is the last of a series of four straight-to-DVD Futurama movies. The movie was written by Ken Keeler, based on a story by Keeler and David X. Cohen, and directed by Peter Avanzino. Guest stars include Phil Hendrie, Penn Jillette , Snoop Dogg and Seth...

     (2009)
  • The Growth (2009)
  • The Aristocrats
    The Aristocrats (film)
    The Aristocrats is a 2005 documentary film about the famous dirty joke of the same name. It was conceived and produced by comedians Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza, edited by Emery Emery, and released to theaters by TH!NKFilm...

     (2005)
  • Michael Moore Hates America
    Michael Moore Hates America
    Michael Moore Hates America is a documentary film directed by Mike Wilson that criticizes director Michael Moore. It premiered September 12, 2004, in Dallas, Texas, at the American Film Renaissance film festival.-Details:...

     (2004)
  • Fantasia 2000
    Fantasia 2000
    Fantasia 2000 is a 1999 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was the 38th feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and a sequel to 1940's Fantasia...

     (2000)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (film)
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1998 American drama film directed by Terry Gilliam, starring Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke and Benicio del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. It was adapted from Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 novel of the same name....

     (1998)
  • Toy Story
    Toy Story
    Toy Story is a 1995 American computer-animated film released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is Pixar's first feature film as well as the first ever feature film to be made entirely with CGI. The film was directed by John Lasseter and featuring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen...

     (1995)
  • Hackers
    Hackers (film)
    Hackers is a 1995 American thriller film directed by Iain Softley and starring Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller, Renoly Santiago, Matthew Lillard, Lorraine Bracco and Fisher Stevens...

     (1995)
  • Car 54, Where Are You?
    Car 54, Where Are You? (film)
    Car 54, Where Are You? is a 1994 comedy film directed by Bill Fishman and stars David Johansen and John C. McGinley. It is based on the television series of the same name starring Joe E...

     (1994)
  • Half Japanese - The Band That Would Be King (1991)
  • Penn & Teller Get Killed
    Penn & Teller Get Killed
    Penn & Teller Get Killed is a 1989 dark comedy film directed by Arthur Penn starring magicians Penn & Teller. The duo play themselves, and the plot involves them in a satirical account of what the audience would perhaps imagine the pair doing in their daily lives...

     (1989)
  • Gandahar (1988)
  • Tough Guys Don't Dance
    Tough Guys Don't Dance (film)
    Tough Guys Don't Dance is a 1987 film written and directed by Norman Mailer based on his novel of the same name. It is a murder mystery/film noir piece that was scorned by audiences and critics alike. It was screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.The script had revisions done...

     (1987)
  • My Chauffeur
    My Chauffeur
    My Chauffeur is an American comedy film starring E. G. Marshall, Deborah Foreman, and Howard Hesseman. It was written and directed by David Beaird. The original music score was composed by Paul Hertzog. The film was released on January 24, 1986, and was marketed with the tagline "Some women will,...

      (1986)
  • Savage Island (1985)

Television

  • Miami Vice
    Miami Vice
    Miami Vice is an American television series produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami. It ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984–1989...

    • "Prodigal Son" (1985) TV episode ... Jimmy Borges
  • Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
    Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
    Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was a live-action American television series based on the Superman comic books...

    • "Illusions of Grandeur" (1 episode, 1994) ... Romick
  • VR 5
    • "Pilot" (1 episode, 1995) ... Mr.Orwell Kravitz
  • Friends
    Friends
    Friends is an American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The series revolves around a group of friends in Manhattan. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television...

    • "The One With the Cuffs" (1 episode, 1997) ... Encyclopedia Salesman
  • The Drew Carey Show
    The Drew Carey Show
    The Drew Carey Show is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from 1995 to 2004. The show was set in Cleveland, Ohio, and revolved around the retail office and home life of "everyman" Drew Carey, a fictionalized version of the actor....

    • "See Drew Run" (1997) TV episode ... Archibald Fenn
    • "Drew Meets Lawyers" (1995) TV episode ... Archibald Fenn
  • Sabrina The Teenage Witch
    Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (TV series)
    Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is an American sitcom based on the Archie comic book series of the same name.The show stars Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina Spellman, a teenager with magical powers, who lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda , and their magical talking cat Salem...

    • "First Kiss" (1997) TV episode .... Drell
    • "Jenny's Non-Dream" (1997) TV episode ... Drell
    • "Terrible Things" (1996) TV episode ... Drell
    • "Pilot" (1996) TV episode ... Drell
  • Babylon 5
    Babylon 5
    Babylon 5 is an American science fiction television series created, produced and largely written by J. Michael Straczynski. The show centers on a space station named Babylon 5: a focal point for politics, diplomacy, and conflict during the years 2257–2262...

    • "Day of the Dead
      Day of the Dead (Babylon 5)
      "Day of the Dead" is an episode from the fifth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. It was written by science fiction and fantasy author Neil Gaiman, and is the only episode after the second season not written by J. Michael Straczynski. The episode also features Penn & Teller,...

      " (1998) TV episode ... Rebo
  • Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular
    Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular
    Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular was a weekly American television variety show hosted by Penn and Teller that appeared on the FX Networks from August 10, 1998 - June 30, 1999...

     1998–99
  • "Hollywood Squares
    Hollywood Squares
    Hollywood Squares is an American panel game show in which two contestants play tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes. The "board" for the game is a 3 × 3 vertical stack of open-faced cubes, each occupied by a celebrity seated at a desk and facing the contestants...

    " (1999–2004) regular
  • The Simpsons
    The Simpsons
    The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

    • "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder
      Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder
      "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder" is the sixth episode of the eleventh season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 14, 1999. In the episode, Homer becomes a local celebrity after bowling a 300 game, but his fame quickly...

      "
    • "The Great Simpsina
      The Great Simpsina
      "The Great Simpsina" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons twenty-second season. It aired on April 10, 2011. It was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Chris Clements...

      " (2 episodes, 1999, 2011) ... himself
  • Dharma & Greg
    Dharma & Greg
    Dharma & Greg is an American television sitcom that aired from September 24, 1997, to April 30, 2002.It starred Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson as Dharma and Greg Montgomery, a couple who married instantly on their first date despite being complete opposites...

     (2001)
  • The West Wing
    The West Wing (TV series)
    The West Wing is an American television serial drama created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999 to May 14, 2006...

    • "In the Room
      In the Room
      -Plot:At Zoey Bartlet's birthday party, magicians Penn & Teller appear to burn an American flag in the White House, prompting a publicity nightmare which Josh has to deal with...

      " (2004) ... himself
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (2003 - 2010)
  • The Moxy Show
    The Moxy Show
    The Moxy Show was an animation anthology television series produced by Hanna-Barbera and is the first Cartoon Network original series. The show ran on December 5, 1993, originally as The Moxy Pirate Show, and consisted of classic cartoons divided by 3-D animated interstitials featuring Moxy, a dog,...

     (original voice of Flea; later replaced by an unidentified actor in some episodes)
  • Identity
    Identity (game show)
    Identity is a reality/game show, hosted by Penn Jillette and produced by Reveille where contestants could win money by matching 12 strangers one-by-one to phrases about their identities.-Format:A contestant is introduced to twelve strangers...

     (premiered in December 2006); returned on March 16, 2008 on NBC and will air for seven weeks every Friday at 8 p.m. ET
    Eastern Time Zone
    The Eastern Time Zone of the United States and Canada is a time zone that falls mostly along the east coast of North America. Its UTC time offset is −5 hrs during standard time and −4 hrs during daylight saving time...

    .
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
    Real Time with Bill Maher
    Real Time with Bill Maher is a talk show that airs weekly on HBO, hosted by comedian and political satirist Bill Maher. Much like his previous show, Politically Incorrect on ABC , Real Time features a panel of guests that discuss current events in politics and the media...

     (2006) TV episode ... himself
  • Dancing with the Stars (2008) ... himself
  • Numb3rs
    NUMB3RS
    Numb3rs is an American television drama which premiered on CBS on January 23, 2005, and concluded on March 12, 2010. The series was created by Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton, and follows FBI Special Agent Don Eppes and his mathematical genius brother, Charlie Eppes , who helps Don solve crimes...

    • "Magic Show" (2008) TV episode ... himself
  • "Glenn Beck" (Fox News)
  • Handy Manny
    Handy Manny
    Handy Manny is a Disney animated children's television program that premiered on September 16, 2006. The program was originally part of the Playhouse Disney daily block intended for preschoolers...

    • "Halloween/Squeeze's Magic Show" (2008) TV episode ... Magic Marty
  • Penn & Teller Go Public (1985) TV program produced by Community Television of Southern California and aired on Public Television stations.
  • The Defenders
    The Defenders (2010 TV series)
    The Defenders is a 2010 American legal comedy-drama that was ordered to series by CBS for the 2010–11 television season. The series originally ran from September 22, 2010 to March 11, 2011....

    • "Whitten v. Fenlee" (2010) TV episode ... Ruben Charters
  • Fetch with Ruff Ruffman
    • "You Can't Teach an Orange Dog New Tricks" (2009) TV episode...Himself
  • Penn & Teller: Fool Us
    Penn & Teller: Fool Us
    Penn & Teller: Fool Us is a British entertainment comedy television programme. Hosted by Jonathan Ross, Fool Us is a magic competition show, which challenges magicians to perform in front of American magician/comedian duo Penn & Teller...

     (2010-)
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
    Real Time with Bill Maher
    Real Time with Bill Maher is a talk show that airs weekly on HBO, hosted by comedian and political satirist Bill Maher. Much like his previous show, Politically Incorrect on ABC , Real Time features a panel of guests that discuss current events in politics and the media...

     (October 14th 2011) TV episode ... himself
  • Penn & Teller Tell a Lie (2011-)

Music videos

  • Ramones
    Ramones
    The Ramones were an American rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first punk rock group...

     - "Something to Believe In"
  • Run D.M.C. - "It's Tricky
    It's Tricky
    "It's Tricky" is the final single released from Run-D.M.C.'s third album, Raising Hell. It was released late in 1987 through Profile Records and was co-produced by Rick Rubin and the group themselves. The song peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 21 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Two...

    "
  • Katy Perry
    Katy Perry
    Katy Perry is an American singer, songwriter and actress. Born in Santa Barbara, California, and raised by Christian pastor parents, Perry grew up listening to only gospel music and sang in her local church as a child. After earning a GED during her first year of high school, she began to pursue a...

     - "Waking Up in Vegas
    Waking Up in Vegas
    "Waking Up in Vegas" is a song by American recording artist Katy Perry, taken as the fourth and final single off her second studio album, One of the Boys. It was written by Katy Perry, Desmond Child and Andreas Carlsson. It is produced by Greg Wells and co-produced by Perry. Wells is credited with...

    "
  • Too Much Joy
    Too Much Joy
    Too Much Joy is an American alternative rock music group. The band formed in the early 1980s in Scarsdale, New York.-Members:The original members were Tim Quirk , Jay Blumenfield , Sandy Smallens and Tommy Vinton . During 1982-1983 Tommy LaRussa temporarily replaced Vinton as drummer...

     - "Donna Everywhere"
  • Rascal Flatts
    Rascal Flatts
    Rascal Flatts is an American country music band that originated in Columbus, Ohio, United States of America. Since its inception, Rascal Flatts has been composed of three members: Gary LeVox , Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney...

     - "Why Wait"

External links