Penn & Teller Receive Star on the Walk of Fame

Over the weekend, magicians Penn & Teller were presented with a star on the Walk of Fame by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce… because, for some reason unknown to me, they didn’t already have one.

David Copperfield and South Park’s Trey Parker were on hand to present them with the honor:

James Randi, who was thanked in their remarks, had this to say about the duo:

I can’t tell you how proud I am of The Guys. If I had anything to do with their worldview or their stunning success, I will only say that without their personal integrity, and their adherence to the best principles of both show business and fair treatment of their audiences, they could not have received this very prestigious honor. They are among the leading voices for rationality in the world today, and I know they will continue speaking truth through the Bullshit — hey, that’s a good name for a show! They have never disappointed me, they have never let me down in any way — something I cannot say about all those persons to whom I have reached out — and I am confident not only of their continued success, but of their ability to delight me in all ways. My personal love and congratulations.

They had plenty of missteps on their show Bullshit! and there’s always criticism of Penn’s political views, but by and large, they’ve done a great job of bringing people inside their world of magic (but keeping them guessing regardless), showing them the man behind the curtain, and allowing their audiences to extrapolate how those same ideas might apply to the rest of their lives (*cough*religion*cough*).

Hats off to them for the honor.

(via JREF)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • geru

    I find it a bit curious that whenever Penn is mentioned in any atheist related community, they always add the disclaimer that Penn is known to have opinions that might not be exactly true (or I’d say the issue is that they’re not all that popular). Who of us doesn’t? :)

    The same thing happens with Bill Maher and Sam Harris to name a few, in a way that makes it feel like having an original opinion means like you’re damaged goods in the skeptical community :)

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Having an opinion that is contradictory to known fact mean you’re damaged goods.

      • 3lemenope

        All beliefs are contradictory to some known facts. This is *necessarily so*, because beliefs are abstracted models of reality that run on processors that, while impressive, are considerably less complicated than the universe that contains them. Hence, shortcuts must be taken and details must be sacrificed, anomalies ignored and definitions stretched.

        And some ideas simply are not amenable to empirical analysis. Matters of axiology, for example, are fairly impervious to data analysis at the highest level. And, not for nothing, but communities of hardened scientifically-oriented empiricist physicalists tend (not universally, but tend) to be less-than-tolerant of modes of expression that do not easily fit into quantitative models. It doesn’t make them more right, it just makes them argot snobs.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          All beliefs are contradictory to some known facts.I hope that some day soon you regret writing that.

          • 3lemenope

            Why? Because it is not recursively applicable? I’ve come to peace long ago with the notion that categorical statements described in natural language encounter snarls of self-referential defeat because such languages are fully recursive. All beliefs are contradictory to some known facts. Does that mean the belief that “all beliefs are contradictory to some known facts” is contradictory to some known facts? No, because quining statements that are meant to point to a feature of the world (rather than to other sentences) is an illegitimate operation; such statements cannot carry a truth-predicate because the correspondence relation is detached from the object being referenced and redirected towards the statement itself. The universe is not turtles all the way down nor is it an infinite expansion of a strange loop.

            Or maybe I’m not understanding your objection. And even if I’m wrong, I can’t imagine *regretting* having wrote it. Making errors is part of life.

            • baal

              Excellent reply to Reginald and I learned a new world! I suspect, however, arguing about arguments is merely a proxy for a game of Harris Ball*.

              *usually played in a locked room with hopefully only 2 participants. First person suggests kicking Sam Harris in the nuts.
              Second person suggests that’s a horrible idea and counterproductive.
              First person then suggests kicking second person in the nuts.
              Second person suggests that’s a horrible idea and counterproductive (and runs away. hence the locked room. else It’s over shortly after it began and noone has any fun).

    • jeff akston

      It’s transparent, and it’s annoying as shit. Belief in a deity has absolutely nothing to do with your opinion on economics or other political opinions. It such bullshit that this site and many others in the atheist community act as if being atheist means you must be a liberal.

      That the left gets a complete pass on their pandering to the religious voters in the atheist community. You may agree with Obama’s political positions, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he panders to the religious and makes stupid statements about God. Democrats are just as culpable for the fact that we have religious dogma inserted into secular laws…because the left isn’t calling them on their bullshit.

      Are you more concerned with atheism or are you more concerned with partisanship? Because when all you are do is challenge Republican religious idiocy, you are nothing more than a partisan DNC organization.

      • Pseudonym

        The “bullshit” is actually that people act as if being atheist means everything in your life is based on rationality, reason and evidence.

        • 3lemenope

          Not even “is”, but *should be*. That’s the part that, even speaking as an atheist, strikes me as truly crazy.

    • Peasles

      I think it’s a great way to head off any problems at the pass. And since when is not believing in global warming an “original opinion”? For one thing, it’s not original. For another, if we were talking about creationism, we couldn’t call it an “original opinion” we would call it – well – Bullshit!

      • geru

        I want to stress that I’m not defending their opinions or attacking the community, but I just wanted to point out that I find this singling out a bit curious.

        But as you mentioned global warming, I must point out that Penn Jillette is not a global warming denialist. The whole point of the speech that was misunderstood by some was that saying “I don’t know” is a valid stance on some things. He made quite an effort to clear this thing up on his podcast, and I do think (by his account of what happened) that this does kind of tie into my point of how skeptics sometime tend to go after people who dare to seemingly oppose the general consensus. And by skeptics, I mean some people who write a blog and call themselves skeptics :)

        So to make it clear, this isn’t some manifesto to attack either the atheist or the skeptic community, but rather an observation on a single point.

    • SeekerLancer

      It doesn’t really matter what his political opinions are, atheism isn’t a religion. There’s no litmus test one must pass. There’s no requirement to be liberal in your ideologies.

      The complaints against Bill Maher are because of his failures as a skeptic, but one doesn’t have to be a complete skeptic to not believe in god.

      Nobody’s “right” 100% of the time, and that includes people who are dogmatically liberal on every issue. It’s why our government used to be one based on compromise, and why it’s failing so miserably now that compromise has become a dirty word in politics.

  • RobertoTheChi

    It’s about time they got a star on the Walk of Fame. Long overdue IMO.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    P&T’s fame has been Vegas-centered, so I am not surprised that they did not previously have a star in Hollywood.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      There are some mighty big Hollywood names that don’t have stars:

      George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Robert Redford, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Sean Connery, David Lean, Angelina Jolie, Kate Winslet, Leonard Dicaprio, Diane Keaton, Denzel Washington and Woody Allen.

      http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/about/

  • DougI

    They’re great jugglers and magicians, not so great at fact checking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Peterson/1644141021 Michael Peterson

    The star is not really an award that a celebrity is nominated for. It is something that the celebrity has to request and pay for. Of course there are some minimum requirements to ensure that not just anybody has a star.

    • Belaam

      Exactly. They are also sometimes bought by studios if they have a movie coming out, the star of the movie doesn’t have one, and they want some free press. i.e. “Robert DeNiro, star of the upcoming Meet the Fockers 5, is getting a star today”


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