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Canopic Riffs:

Penn Jillette on David Greenberger

It’s taking us sixteen hours to get from Vegas to Biloxi. Our plane was delayed and then broken so no connection. We decided to lose money on the gig and charter so the crew could get some sleep, but the plane that we were chartering was no longer available. So, we sat in the lounge and ate. I fell asleep and got up. My foot was asleep and I couldn’t feel it, but I figured I’d take a few steps and it would wake up. I still couldn’t feel it and then I just fell straight forward. Right on my elbows. It was very upsetting because Teller and the crew missed it. They would have loved it so much. So I took that fall for no reason at all. Strangers saw the fall and helped me up. They felt sorry for me, but I needed someone to laugh. Oh well.


We finally got on a little SouthWest flight to NOLA and I listened to David Greenberger and Prime Lens, It Happened to Me. I’ve been reading David’s interviews and writings starting with the Duplex Planet in the ’70s. One of his art obsessions is interviewing older people, often at nursing homes and writing up their stories and then collaborating with musicians and doing shows and records of a guy talking while musicians play. It’s some of the most beautiful stuff ever. Funny, sad, profound, full and empty. His stuff always kills me. But this is my favorite record. Wow. Here’s the thing. David and I are now over 60. So the stories, now they mention seeing James Brown and having long hair. They are now interviews with us. I’ve been listening to David interview people over 60 since we were in our twenties. Now, he’s interviewing us. It was a very heavy experience. I sat on the plane and just floated free. Sam Harris’ meditation is driving me crazy and losing my head and getting me unhooked from myself, and David is pulling me out of time. And on top of all of this, my Dad died twenty years ago Valentine’s Day. Twenty years ago. And Teller turned 71 on Valentine’s Day as we sat in an airport lounge together. “And me I’m still on the road, heading for another joint. We always did feel the same, we just saw it from a different point of view . . . “ You know.

Penn Jillette

For over 40 years Penn & Teller have defied labels—and at times physics and good taste—by redefining the genre of magic and inventing their own very distinct niche in comedy.  For more info visit Penn & Teller (dot com).


The album is available as a 2-CD set with 60 tracks for $15 (+$4 shipping) or as a limited edition LP for $20 (+$5.50 shipping) with 18 tracks and a download of all 60. Or get them both for $30 (+$5.50 shipping). Send a message directly to David Greenberger to order via PayPal or check (

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