Famous Lost Words: Penn and Teller


Penn and Teller are illusionists who perform their irreverent magic act regularly in Las Vegas and major venues around the world. Both guys are very outspoken about being atheists and skeptics; they use it as part of the act.
Teller (The silent half): “Atheists do look for answers to existence itself. They just don’t make them up… I might qualify as the most hardened atheist, and I have not the slightest need to believe in stuff that is not in some way verifiable. I believe in art, mind you. I don’t believe that art is supernatural. I think that beauty and humor are wonderful things, and quite important to us — in fact, one of the major distinguishing features between us and some of the lesser species.

“My mother, who is 89 now, says: ‘Oh, you know, I see these old people going to church, and I really envy them. It must be so consoling for them to be able to believe in that stuff.’ (Laughs) I think she genuinely envies people who are suckers in the sense that there are some things that might be a little easier to confront. It’s not going to change her point of view, because it doesn’t make any sense to her. It seems like nonsense. And it is!” (Laughs)

Penn (the talkative half) recounts a 1998 appearance on Donny and Marie Osmond’s syndicated talkshow: “We were asked to do autographs for Donny and Marie. I wrote, ‘There is no god,’ and Teller wrote: ‘He’s right.'”

—From Celebatheists (now defunct)


  1. Like their act, they wont be missed.

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