So far as we know, David Blaine has never made headlines denouncing God, and David Copperfield has never bruited objectivist philosophy. But unlike most celebrity magicians, Penn & Teller are not content performing tricks, taking bows, and going quietly into the night. Rather, they have so successfully cultivated their images as basic-cable provocateurs taking such contrarian approaches as mocking world peace and defending sweatshop labor on their Showtime series Bullshit that onstage illusions are almost an afterthought. But even the most celebrated aspect of the duos 35-year career was born out of skepticism; Penn has said that he began performing magic because he hated the magic that was out there at the time. So he and his diminutive, silent companion reinvented, and continue to reinvent, the formalism of magic-trick structure, surprising audiences as skeptical as they are. And if you dont like magicians who stray from their chosen field to wax poetically about libertarian ideals? To borrow Penn Jillettes parlance, they dont give a fuck. Penn & Teller perform at 8 p.m. Friday and again on Saturday at Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. Tickets cost $44 to $69. Call 800-745-3000.
Fri., Feb. 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 5, 8 p.m., 2011
I just went to my first Penn and Teller show two weeks ago, and they were hilarious as well as great illusionists. And by the way, Teller is not diminutive at all. He's about 5'11"-ish, but just looks small next to Penn, who's about 6'7".