I watched an episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us where a magician fools Penn and Teller and the only explanation that seems possible to anyone is that the randomly chosen audience member involved is a "plant" (someone predisposed to the trick).


  • Penn and Teller claim that they're confident that the audience member involved is not a plant.
  • I've heard that plants are not allowed in the show.
  • I've heard that to avoid tricks that involve breaking the show's rules, the magician must explain to the show's producer (or a magician employee perhaps) how the trick works before hand, privately.

So, can anyone confirm whether or not that third bullet is accurate?

  • Considering the prize is the right to put on a show at P&T's Las Vegas show, that seems like shooting yourself in the foot to break the rules. And anyone in the industry would balk at telling a non-magician the trick, let alone someone that may steal the trick. – cde Jul 22 '16 at 6:29
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    @CarlFink It was Nick Einhorn – Viziionary Jul 22 '16 at 18:50
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    I found an explanation of Nick Einhorn's trick. The close-up screenshot of the first table's note seems to confirm that this explanation is more or less correct, and that Einhorn didn't use audience plants. – Carl Fink Jul 23 '16 at 15:27
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    We can be reasonably sure of that, since there's no reason to print all three lines on all three notes if the magician has control over which note ends up at which table (as he would if he used a plant). And that's not even counting the fact that audience plants are (as I understand it) disallowed by the show's rules. Given that the magicians explain their methods ahead of time to Johnny Thompson, it's difficult to understand how a trick which relies on a plant could have gotten past the producers. – Carl Fink Jul 23 '16 at 18:21
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    @CarlFink even so, I read that his success on the show was later nullified and his trophy revoked (in YT comments) and isn't that a rather specific thing to just make up? So I was interested enough to ask a question about it. – Viziionary Jul 23 '16 at 18:24

You're exactly correct. Magic expert Johnny Thompson is the one who knows how the tricks work and makes the call on whether or not Penn & Teller have been fooled:

For Fool Us, Johnny interviews each magician, and finds out how each trick is done. During the broadcast, Penn & Teller confer with Johnny, and he confirms whether they’ve correctly guessed how the trick was done or not.

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