Penn and Teller
… Penn Gillette
[Cheers and applause as we dissolve to illusionistsPenn and Teller in front of a corrugated metal wall.Teller, a small man who seldom speaks, is strappedinto what appears to be an electric chair. Penn, atall man in gray suit, stands nearby. Also visible isa poster of the chair labeled, AMAZING ELECTRIC BOYand ADDICTED TO AC?]
Teri Garr: [still wearing her fur-trimmed redbikini top from the previous sketch] Ladies andgentlemen, Penn and Teller.
Penn Gillette: Good evening! We are Penn andTeller. My name is Penn Gillette and this is mypartner Teller. [Teller waves a hand to the crowd buthis wrists are strapped to the chair] Also known asthe Incredible Electric Boy! You’ve seen him onnational television, you’ve read about him in theGuinness Book of World Records. Teller, the AmazingElectric Boy, an incredible medical oddity that isalso educational. Doctors, nurses and medical studentswith picture I.D. admitted free!
Eighteen years ago, before Teller was internationallyknown as the Incredible Electric Boy, cute littleTeller was playing in a tree — in the biggest tree inBucks County, Pennsylvania, during a thunderstorm,with keys in his pocket and a five-iron in hisup-stretched right hand! The golf club, being thehighest point in Pennsylvania, was struck bylightning, sending an estimated one hundred andtwenty-three million volts of electricity through thegolf club, through the Electric Boy’s body and throughthe tree, in its frantic search for ground! The golfclub was completely destroyed! [holds up a charred,bent club] The tree was completely destroyed! [holdsup purported X-ray of Teller’s thigh] The keys werepermanently wedged into Teller’s upper thigh andTeller became known as the medical oddity we know asthe Incredible Electric Boy! Wherever you are, falldown on your knees right now and thank the Almightythat YOU were not holding a five-iron over your headin Bucks County on three-oh-four p.m., Augustseventeenth, 1967!
While you’re down there on your knees, also givethanks that during– due to the miracles of modernmedical science, Teller has been able to live a fairlynormal, although personally empty, life! With a veryfew exceptions, Teller’s been denied physical contactwith would-be friends and lovers for fear that onecaress or handshake would spell DEATH to the veryperson he was trying to learn to love! Having becomean AC addict, his lonely life is also tethered to thelength of the available extension cords to the nearestoutlet!
And now — avoiding the spirit of morbidsensationalism and only in the name of the advancementof science — we bring you Teller, the Electric Boy, aliving human oddity! [off a generator next to thechair] This device right here keeps Teller’s brainfunctions and body functions operating at a slowcrawl. I will now turn them up and demonstrate whatGod in His quirky wisdom has chosen to bestow on thisnondescript vessel. [turns up the juice, meters on thegenerator inch upward] He now has four hundred andtwelve volts at seventeen amps coursing through hissystem. This is enough raw electrical power to killsix two hundred pound men, providing they’re standingbarefooted in water, holding hands.[carries long thin bulb to a woman in the crowd] Iwill now take this perfectly normal, standard GEfluorescent light bulb. Ma’am, would you stand uphere, from the audience? [hands her the bulb] Wouldyou look at this light bulb? Are there any wireshitched to it in any way? Are there any battery packs?[guides woman on stage] Would you come up here, nearTeller, the Incredible Electric Boy and, please,without touching his body with your flesh, touch thelight bulb to him — and watch the electrons getexcited! Bring it right down there, ma’am. There’s nodanger to you at all. [Woman lowers bulb to Teller’sarm] That’s right. Bring her right over here. [thebulb lights up] Okay, now, you’re supplying theground, ma’am. Bring it in closer. Look at this. Now,move a little bit closer there, then move away. Slideit across him, ma’am. Jeez O’Crow, you could read bythat sucker! [takes bulb, to woman] Thank you verymuch! Go away! [Applause for woman who retreats to her seat. Penncranks up the generator.]
And now, we turn up the voltage and, through thewonders of fully insulated rubber insole boots [tapsboot] and nerves of steel, we will present this livingreligious tableau entitled “God Giving Life to Adam”!I play the part o’ God. This is great. [Penn toucheshis index finger to Teller’s wrist – sparks fly] Whoa,ha ha ha ha ha ha! Okay! [Penn cranks up the voltageagain – by now, Teller is shaking] We turn up a littlebit more and we see — a little bit more right here –that electricity’s older sister, fire, is also givenbirth by the Amazing Electric Boy. [touches the end ofa fire-eater’s torch to Teller’s wrist, the torchignites] Goodness gracious, look at that, will ya?[Penn, a talented fire-eater, tilts his head back andswallows the flame, crowd applauds. Meanwhile,Teller’s eyes are bugging out and he tremblesviolently.]
Teller! [laughs at Teller] I think – I think you’reoverplaying it a little bit, Teller. Just put it downa bit. [Teller stops shaking and stares at Penn,offended.] I don’t mean to drop it entirely but, see,the thing is, when you play it up like that, you dothe whole shaking thing, it looks like a SaturdayNight Live sketch. It doesn’t look like you’ve reallygot the volts going through ya, you know? [Upset,Teller rises and crosses his arms — the leatherstraps around his wrists and neck were not reallykeeping him in the chair.] Now, I wanted to say. Now,let me just tell ya– Let me try it this way, Teller.[to the crowd] Ma’am? If I had just said it was onepoint seven megahertz at seven hundred fiftymilli-amps — that’s the real amount, and it’s onlycomin’ off this plate here. [indicates a plate in thearm of the chair, talks to Teller] If we try to sellit as real instead of doin’ that whole bug-out eyething like it was some sort of big deal, man– I mean,the way we did it, you know, we could’ve gotten RandyQuaid and Terry Sweeney, you know. And he prob’ly -prob’ly’d done it in drag and get some laughs, yaknow?[Teller takes off his straps and throws them downangrily] Now, just cool out, man. I don’t mean to getall panty-bunched, I’m tellin’ ya that, uh, that it’snot that big a deal. We shoulda played it for real,man. Magic does not work on TV. [Teller gestures forPenn to sit in the chair] Now, now, Teller’s tryin’ topoint out that, it is – it is a good-sized tingle,man. [to Teller] Now, just sit down in the chair andwe’ll do– [to the crowd] We had this great finish,the Peace on Earth Goodwill toward Men Living ElectricChristmas Tree. [to Teller] Now, go ahead– [But Teller pulls out a larger leather neck strap forPenn and snaps it noisily, gestures for Penn to sit inthe chair.]
Okay, man, sure, sure. Turn it down. [turns down thegenerator] You want me to do that, huh? Okay.[explains to the crowd] I have not run through hisbefore but I’m sure it’s not that bad. It’s a littlebit of a tingle. [Penn removes his jacket, to Teller]I’ll do it, man. Okay? [to bandleader Howard Shore]Hit it, Howard![The SNL band plays mellow version of “O ChristmasTree” as Penn climbs cautiously into the chair andTeller straps him down.] [to the crowd] If this would have been Teller, then Iwould have had lines to cover this whole thing but–[Teller hangs a bundle of blue fluorescent light bulbsaround Penn’s neck.] These are just fluorescent tubes,here. They’re not gonna hurt that much, I don’timagine. [Teller cranks up the generator, the bulbslight up, Penn reacts] Whooo! [Penn laughs nervously,trembles] It’s a little bit of a tingle. It’s not –not bad at all. [Teller puts a candy cane-shaped bulbin Penn’s hand — it promptly glows] And this is thecandy cane, symbolizing, I suppose, food for everybodyon Christmas. There’s definitely a feel to this.[Teller hands Penn a green wreath-shaped bulb whichglows and tries to stick a star-shaped bulb on Penn’shead. As he does so, he flips the long fluorescentbundle to reveal MERRY XMAS printed on itsback.]
Merry Christmas, everybody![Applause. Teller waves gleefully to the crowd. Penncontinues to shake as we fade out.]