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THE ARISTOCRATS PREMIERE ARRIVALS
Penn Jillette (from left), Steven Banks as Billy the Mime and Paul Provenza arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Aristocrats" July 20, 2005, in Los Angeles. Jillette and Provenza co-created the documentary film where one hundred superstar comedians tell the same obscene joke--one shared privately by comics since Vaudeville. (UPI Photo/John Hayes)
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Penn Fraser Jillette (born March 5, 1955) is an American magician, comedian, illusionist, juggler, bassist and writer known for his work with fellow illusionist Teller in the team Penn & Teller, and advocacy of atheism, libertarian philosophy, free-market economics, and scientific skepticism.

Jillette was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts. His mother, Valda R. Jillette (née Parks), was a secretary, and his father, Samuel H. Jillette, worked at a correctional facility. 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. At age eighteen, he saw a show by illusionist James Randi, and became enamored of his approach to magic that openly acknowledged deception as entertainment rather than a mysterious supernatural 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 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. That same year, he was introduced to Teller by Weir Chrisimer, a mutual friend. The three then formed a three-person act called Asparagus Valley Cultural Society which played in Amherst, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. In 1981, he and Teller teamed up as Penn & Teller, and went on to do a famous Off Broadway show.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Penn Jillette."
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