Penn Radio

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Penn Radio
Penn Jillette
Hosted byPenn Jillette
Michael Goudeau
GenreTalk radio
Original releaseJanuary 3, 2006 – March 2, 2007

Penn Radio was an hour-long talk CBS radio show which ran from January 3, 2006 to March 2, 2007, hosted by Penn Jillette and Michael Goudeau and produced by "Happy" Jack Landreth and Patrick DiFazio.

It was broadcast on the Free FM brand radio stations (usually) live, with theme music by Mike Jones.

Format[edit | edit source]

The show dealt with topics in the news regarding science, skepticism,[1] religion, entertainment and politics. Jillette promoted his libertarian and atheist perspectives from the "nut point of view"[2] to encourage listeners to call and email with their stories and opinions about the topic. Early shows tended to be without structure, with Jillette and Goudeau talking about whatever came to mind, taking the occasional caller and reading the occasional email. Later shows had tended to formalize around a current topic and a call-in talk show format.

Jillette and Goudeau would usually broadcast from Jillette's Vegas area home ("The Slammer").[3] The broadcast was done from Jillette's personal recording studio, Vintage Nudes Studio.[4]

Celebrity guests, usually friends of Penn, often featured on the show. Guests included Criss Angel, James Randi (often with Paul Provenza), Mac King, Gilbert Gottfried, Trey Parker, Joe Rogan, Dennis Miller, Lisa Lampanelli, and Lawrence O'Donnell (nicknamed L.O.D. by Jillette).

Penn Radio was well known for its special feature "Monkey Tuesday", which was discontinued in January 2007 (soon superseded by "Pull of the Weasel Friday").

Regular Features[edit | edit source]

Monkey Tuesday: Hosts Penn Jillette and Michael Goudeau read emails and took calls from listeners with stories about chimpanzees, orangutans and other primates, yet because monkey is a "funnier" word, all were referred to as monkeys.

Monkey Tuesday originated when Penn told a story of a party held at his house where he had invited Tarzan,[5] a performing chimpanzee and Arturo, a dwarf, forgetting that chimpanzees fight for dominance with people of small stature. Goudeau had expressed surprise at Penn's naivety. "I thought you were circus," he criticized, informing Penn regarding the dangers of having both a dwarf and a chimp at the same party. After phoning Arturo to uninvite him but not having the heart to follow through, Penn worked out a compromise: Tarzan and Arturo could both be at the party as long as they were in separate rooms. As an added measure of security, Penn and a posse of trusted party attendees armed themselves with knives.

However, Tarzan and Arturo met poolside and predictably, Tarzan charged Arturo. Rather than jump into the swimming pool as planned as chimps hate water (Chimps, lacking buoyant body fat, sink like rocks in water), Arturo "hauled ass" into Penn's house. Tarzan pursued Arturo but got distracted by the other guests. The guests shuttled the chimp into various rooms to allow Arturo to move around, and later found Arturo a tall bar stool to stand on. Tarzan, confused, decided not to challenge.

On April 18, 2006, the first show where the phrase Monkey Tuesday was used, Penn read an email from a fan describing a childhood trip through a wildlife park where the fan and his brothers fed monkeys Certs through a car window. When the Certs ran out, the monkeys reached into the car and grabbed his brother. His mother sped up in an attempt to shake off the monkeys while at the same time his grandmother rolled up the back window, trapping the monkeys' hands. The window was lowered with the car still traveling at high speed, causing the monkeys to fall off the car and spit out mouthfuls of Certs as they hit the ground.

The tradition continued on May 9 when Penn read several letters and listeners called in with amusing monkey stories. There were enough monkey-related stories from listeners that one show a week could be devoted to them. Since both of the original stories were told on a Tuesday, Penn quipped they had inadvertently invented "Monkey Tuesday". The name and day stuck.

Layperson Penn: Penn Radio had occasional days called "Ask Layperson Penn" where Jillette and Goudeau provided advice and answers on any topic to callers, although the hosts constantly reiterated their complete lack of qualification and title. This feature was partially a jab at radio hosts such as Laura Schlessinger (who offers psychological advice as "Dr. Laura" though her doctorate is actually in physiology, not psychology) who give advice on topics outside their range of expertise. However callers were instructed by the call screener to address Jillette as Doctor Penn, and were invariably corrected by Jillette. In one show Patrick can be heard yelling into the studio "it's Doctor Penn!"

At times, when Penn and Goudeau needed a pre-recorded show to cover a vacation day, they would record an extended "Ask Layperson Penn" off air for later broadcast.

Libel Wednesday: On Wednesday, November 8, 2006 Penn asked listeners to call in and tell their "swear-to-god true stories" about their experiences hanging out with former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. After stressing to his listeners that their stories must be true, Penn and Goudeau proceeded to tell wildly fictional accounts of times they had spent with "Rummy" and listeners understood the cue to do the same. On the January 10, 2007 episode (also a Wednesday), Penn asked that anybody with advance knowledge of the 2007 State of the Union Address President Bush was to give that night to call in and let them know what it will contain, again stressing that the information must be true. Listeners called in and gave their own fabricated accounts of what would be in Bush's speech. The term "Libel Wednesday" was coined in an email by frequent emailer Christian (the Skeptical Atheist) and was an occasional feature on the show.

Pull of the Weasel Friday: The February 2, 2007 show featured a new Friday segment called "Pull of the Weasel". Listeners called or emailed Penn and Goudeau with stories where they successfully or unsuccessfully fought the "pull of the weasel". Penn describes the pull of the weasel as "You know something is wrong, but somewhere in your gut a little weasel is telling you to do it." The term came from the January 29, 2007 episode where Penn commented that his wife sometimes succumbs to the "pull of the weasel" and claims high value items in the lost and found that are not technically hers. On the January 29 show, Goudeau mistakenly referred to it as the "call of the weasel" and this seems to have become an alternative term/title, especially among the show's Goudeau-sympathizing faction.

Repeats[edit | edit source]

Penn and Goudeau turned down offers by CBS to run repeats to cover their vacation days. Typically Penn tried to do a remote broadcast if he was away from Las Vegas on business. Alternatively, Penn and Goudeau prerecorded interviews with comics headlining in Vegas and did extended "Lay Person Penns" for later broadcast.

Contests[edit | edit source]

  • John Lennon Seance Contest: Penn preferred if listeners did not watch the pay-per-view John Lennon séance which aired April 2006. However he recognized this event would probably attract many viewers who simply wanted to jeer at the broadcast. To prevent this money from going to unscrupulous séance promoters, Penn had a contest wherein one listener would watch the show for the rest of the Penn Radio audience and then give a report. To be considered as a candidate, one had to be in Las Vegas when the TV show was airing, had to be a fan of The Beatles, had to have a knowledge of skepticism and parapsychology, and, most importantly, had to have a shapely buttocks that qualified as a "honky tonk badonkadonk". Many candidates with extensive knowledge of the Fab Four and parapsychology were, by their own admission, flat-assed and thereby disqualified themselves. Eventually Penn picked listener Garrett from San Diego to watch the John Lennon séance and recount the program on the April 25, 2006 radio show. Garrett's bid avoided any mention of his posterior but played up his ability to make light of the seance in song. For his efforts, Garrett was given a tour of Jillette's home, tickets to both the Penn and Teller and Lance Burton Vegas shows, $20 in gambling money, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
  • Penn's 24 Marathon: Penn offered to let a listener join him and his friends at The Slammer for a marathon viewing of the fifth season of the TV show 24. Listeners had to write in and explain why they should be allowed into Penn's home and watch the show with him and his friends. Out of fear the guest would ruin the show's many suspenseful moments, candidates had to swear they had not actually watched any part of season five during its broadcast run. Unfortunately, Penn announced on the November 10, 2006 show that the contest was canceled when "the party fell apart" and a new financially lucrative network TV project (later revealed to be hosting the game show Identity) required Penn's attention. Two candidates in the running were an FBI agent and a Canadian who submitted his bid in verse accompanied by piano ("Penn Jillette won't you let me / watch 24 with you / Mike Goudeau don't you know / how much I love that show").

Memorable Penn Radio moments[edit | edit source]

  • Penn recounting the story of inviting a Chimpanzee and a dwarf to the same party, and the creation of Monkey Tuesday.
  • Penn being called away from the May 22, 2006 show because his wife was going into labor with their second child (Zolten Penn), and continuing the rest of the show from his cell phone while in traffic.[6]
  • Penn claiming Mother Teresa had a sexual kink for death and suffering. KIFR radio personality John London, whose show followed Penn Radio, offered to pay a listener to murder Penn.[7] He was fired by CBS Radio CEO Joel Hollander after making on-air prank calls to Penn Jillette and Hollander.[8] This, and other legal complications, were never discussed on Penn Radio. Fans have commented on the similarities between this chain of events and the storyline to Penn and Teller's 1989 movie, Penn & Teller Get Killed.
  • During Lent, Penn requested his listeners go to McDonald's restaurants on Friday morning and purchase all the Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, thus forcing Catholic families with screaming children to eat beef. Penn hoped that the children would realize that eating meat would not send them to hell. More than a few involved with the show got sick after eating those fish filets.
  • Comedians from The Aristocrats who have been guests on Penn Radio: Lewis Black, David Brenner, Drew Carey, Carrot Top, Phyllis Diller, Judy Gold, Gilbert Gottfried, Lisa Lampanelli, Wendy Liebman, Howie Mandel (set a record for use of the c word), Merrill Markoe, Jackie Martling, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, The Passing Zone, Kevin Pollak, Paul Provenza, Bob Saget, Bobby Slayton, Doug Stanhope, and Fred Willard.
  • Penn interviewing his hero Norman Borlaug on August 9, 2006.
  • A September 11 anniversary episode conducted in a somber fashion without Michael Goudeau.
  • The October 18, 2006 show featured the first time Penn ever purposely hung up on a caller. Penn asked caller Mike (not to be confused with regular caller President Mike) to demonstrate his Spanish fluency. After a very hesitant start, Mike began speaking in Spanish only to have Penn dump his call after a few words. The hang up was meant only as a joke on Penn's part and not intended to be rude to Mike. On January 16, 2007, Penn hung up on Bill, who was attempting to abide by the topic of "mandatory false dichotomies" by stating that "Monkeys are just not funny, man." During a later show Bill called in to complain about a radio show that dumped his call. Penn and Goudeau incorrectly claimed on air that Bill was the first person Penn had ever hung up on.
  • On the December 19, 2006 show while Goudeau was on a ski vacation, Penn revealed on air the password to their Gmail account (dawkins) and followed this with "Goudeau uses that password for everything." Later in the day, Penn found out that fans of the shows had logged on and started getting e-mail addresses from the account. Before much damage was done, one teenage fan stepped up, changed the password, and then got in touch with Penn, thus saving the day. The teen suggested, with no sarcasm, that the new password should not be borlaug.
  • On the January 3, 2007 show (the show's one-year anniversary) Penn, as promised, told his "Blow-Dryer Story". This involved Penn burning his penis (Penn uses the euphemism Little Houdini throughout) on a blow dryer element during an attempt to win back an ex-girlfriend. The show featured a live audience which included Mike Jones. Penn first mentioned the "Blow-Dryer Story" on the January 27, 2006 broadcast.
  • On the January 4, 2007 show Goudeau treated a deep cut to Penn's left thumb (caused the evening before while Penn was juggling broken bottles on-stage at the Rio), trying twice to cover the v-shaped injury with a Krazy Glue pen. This happened live on air with callers phoning in advice.
  • Penn-brand Viagra: on the February 1, 2007 show, a listener alerted Penn to a strange photo of him gracing the cover of a Chinese herbal "Viagra". The Chinese box copy claims the box contains fast acting pills that will increase a man's stamina, increase the volume of his semen, and win him respect among other men. The box depicts an illustration of a man that looks disquietingly like Penn Jillette (complete with his signature one painted fingernail) choking a woman during intercourse. The product does not identify Penn by name but seems to label him as the "impetuous man". One can purchase a bottle here for 1000 yen. It was later revealed the art work was of Penn. The artwork accompanied an interview with Penn in an American magazine. It is unknown how the art made its way to Asia.
  • Two full episodes on February 5 and February 23, 2007 devoted to a debate between comedian Joe Rogan and Phil Plait of about moon landing conspiracies.
  • Penn Jillette announced on March 2, 2007 that the show would be his last on Free FM. He said multiple times that he will be back elsewhere.[9]

Themes[edit | edit source]

Penn utterances[edit | edit source]

  • For a time Penn would wish Lance Burton a good morning and Goudeau would wish Teller a good morning. Both Burton and Teller, late risers, claimed one day they would set their alarm clocks and listen to the radio show.
  • Penn usually answered "How are you?" with "Never better, boss." Callers were not encouraged to echo this line back at him.
  • When referring to his Showtime show Bullshit!, Penn got around the censors by saying "Bulls (hand clap) hit". He started doing this (without the hand clap) on the February 13, 2006 show. Previous to the February 13 show, Penn would refer to the show as "Bull shot". The January 30, 2006 show a caller suggested "Bull's Stuff", which Penn used before "Bulls hit". Penn got the idea of parsing the show as "bulls hit" when he noticed iCal (a Mac calendar program) hyphenated "bullshit" as "bulls-hit". The hand clap between "bulls" and "hit" was first added during the tail end of the April 3, 2006 show. Penn did frequently tip his magician's top hat to Criss Angel for calling his A&E show Mindfreak, knowing everyone understands the show name to mean "mind fuck".
  • Penn said "Mother Hubbard" as a substitute for motherfucker. He usually used it to stress something was happening to a great degree. "The engine was running like a Mother Hubbard."
  • Penn made frequent references to his Newfoundland heritage (his mother and father were from Newfoundland). He used the term "maggoty" a lot to imply an excess of something. He picked this phrase up while vacationing in Newfoundland. A pair of Newfoundland TV show hosts described Penn & Teller as being "maggoty with magic tricks". Previous to the March 28, 2006 show, he would use the term lousy to imply an excess.
  • Whenever Penn mentioned Howard Stern, he would burp and ask, "What's in the news, Robin?", a homage to The Howard Stern Show.
  • Part of the May 9, 2006 radio show was cut after a caller began to tell a story of visiting a zoo and seeing an orangutan masturbating while watching a good looking female schoolteacher. The young man remarked to his father "You know, they're so much like us!!", a line which Penn and Goudeau would quote in later shows as "Pops, they're so much like us!" Penn subsequently described this story as "probably the best story in the history of mankind" and promised a rebroadcast.
  • Penn used Lisa Lampanelli terms Slurpee Indian to refer to Indians from South Asia and Casino Indian to refer to American Indians.
  • Sometimes Penn referred to something, usually a sexual kink, as being a "woman puking on a monkey" case. The phrase was coined during the September 19, 2006 Monkey Tuesday show, regarding an attractive blond woman who accidentally vomited on a baby monkey. During the September 22, 2006 show, listener Steve submitted to Penn and Goudeau a Photoshop creation of a woman throwing up on a primate. Penn's exclamation "Jesus Christ puking on a monkey!" also takes the September 19 show as the phrase's origin.
  • When Penn did not care about something or an issue, he would say "I don't give a good goddamn." He noted that he abides by CBS's obscenity policy but did not necessarily follow CBS's blasphemy policy.
  • When Penn thought someone was holding out on him or trying to dupe him in some way, he called the person "you rat bastard" in a slow, methodical manner.
  • When Penn wanted to stress a very large number he sometimes said "Sagan billions", implying the figure is into the "billions and billions". The reference was to Carl Sagan who had a unique way of saying "billions". Johnny Carson popularized the idea Sagan would say "billions and billions" frequently, although there is no record of Sagan ever using the exact "billions and billions" phrase.
  • Monkey C: On the January 10, 2007 episode, Penn asked for listeners who had worked on the Bush speech about his new plan for Iraq to call or email in and reveal the speech's contents. One listener claimed she had proofread the speech and part of Bush's plan was to send three monkey troops to Iraq. One group called "Monkey C" was the most elite. Its motto was "Monkey C, monkey do!" Penn found this play on words very funny and made several follow-on references to it.

Show closers[edit | edit source]

At the end of each show, Penn often recited some recurring phrases. These included:

  • "It frightens me the awful truth of how sweet life can be." This is a line from the Bob Dylan song "Up to Me", a previously unreleased outtake from the 1974 album Blood on the Tracks which can be found on his 1985 album Biograph.
  • "We'll be back tomorrow if the creek don't rise."
  • "I'd chime in with a 'Haven't you people ever heard of closing the god damn door?!'" presumably from Panic! At The Disco's "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" for several shows.

Media and music references[edit | edit source]

  • Penn made frequent references to Elvis Presley, often using the phrase "Elvis didn't do no drugs!" Penn believed Elvis did not know a lot but he knew how to eat.
  • Bad grammar in song lyrics enraged Penn. "Live and Let Die" and the theme from "Shaft" were examples Penn used a lot, through "Frosty the Snowman" once provoked a memorable discussion between Penn and Goudeau: "There must have been some magic / In that old silk hat they found". Also Penn seems disturbed by the lyrics to the Wayne Newton standard "Danke Schoen". "I recall / Central Park in fall / how you tore your dress / what a mess / I confess / that's not all" sounds to Penn like a celebration of date rape, mostly due to his mis-remembering part of the line into "how I tore your dress."
  • Oft-mentioned Penn and Goudeau heroes: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the creators of South Park), Richard Dawkins, and Norman Borlaug.
  • Penn made frequent references to his favorite novel Moby-Dick.
  • Penn had a pretend feud with the guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Bullshit! and the Queer Eye show were both nominated in the same categories for various TV award shows. Queer Eye typically won over Bullshit!.
  • Penn thought Ron Jeremy is living the American dream: He's an unattractive man getting paid to have sex.
  • Penn frequently expressed his like for Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. Penn thought it was very cool Dylan kept his Oscar statue on his amp and had said, "I won't let anyone bring alcohol into my house unless they're as cool as Lou Reed."
  • Penn does not like the work of Michael Moore, but loves the fact that his films are shown and not censored.
  • If anyone mentioned the Ringling Brothers circus, Penn reflexively corrected them by saying "Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey The Greatest Show On Earth!" During his time at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, he was taught never to shorten the name of the circus or even refer to it by a pronoun. You were, at all times, to refer to the circus by its full and complete name.
  • Odd phrases caused Penn to interrupt and note the odd phrase would make an excellent band name or album title. "Asian Earwax? That's an excellent name for a band."
  • Penn made a lot of fun about Goudeau's poor knowledge of popular music and jazz. Goudeau compared any piece of jazz music to Vince Guaraldi. Penn explained his irritation stems from him growing up in a very musical household while Goudeau's family did not even own a radio until he was older. He referred to a fast-tempo section of Mike Jones's Pull of the Weasel theme as "jumpy".
  • Regarding the notion all publicity is ultimately good publicity, Penn would jokingly ascribe that quote to Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • Goudeau sometimes referred to circular reasoning as a "robot killer", in reference to a couple of episodes of Star Trek where Kirk talks a robot or computer into self-destructing by positing it a self-contradicting proposition. Goudeau claims that this idea was originally Dean Cameron's.

Penn and Penn Radio philosophy[edit | edit source]

  • Penn liked to refer to his view point as "the nut point of view".
  • Penn stated interest in starting a "bacon and a kiss" airline. He theorized that you can avoid invasive airport security by requiring eating bacon and kissing someone of the same gender on the genitals, and therefore screening out religious fundamentalists. Apart from those restrictions, you can carry anything you feel like onto the plane without any other security checks. Penn has also added that another way to weed out fundamentalist Muslims was to have them pray to another deity, or to draw a picture and label it Mohammad.
  • Penn and Goudeau believed their listeners were a) the most intellectual audience in morning radio, and b) kind enough to hang up after they've stated their piece. In fact, many times callers would say "goodbye" and hang up before Penn was finished talking to them.
  • During the "Ask Layperson Penn" shows, callers usually addressed Penn as "Doctor Penn", (at the behest of the call screener) to which Penn responded "it's actually layperson Penn".
  • Penn often made the point that you can break the rules of an organization you do not belong to. Non-freemason members are not allowed to wear the Mason ring according to the Masonic rules, but these rules do not apply to non-Masons so they can wear the ring anyway.

Penn Radio politics[edit | edit source]

  • Penn did not generally view hypocrisy as a problem. If a person was saying one thing and doing another, Penn believed he would at least agree with either what the person was saying or with what the person was doing.
  • Penn referred to the Democrats and Republicans as the Crips and the Bloods.
  • Penn had a theory that all laws should have a one-year expiration date and have to be re-passed every year. This will ensure politicians only re-pass the really important laws.

Personal Penn references[edit | edit source]

  • Penn claimed that any role that required him to do more than getting shot in the face was a stretch for his acting talents. Many of his earlier acting jobs in TV seemed to be as an extra who gets shot in the head.
  • A New York Times article by Alex Williams accused Penn's child Moxie CrimeFighter of having the worst celebrity baby name. Penn believed names like David and Alex were for losers. A seemingly high proportion of Penn Radio show callers and e-mail writers were named Dave or David.
  • Penn made the occasional reference to Magic and Mystery Tour, a Canadian CBC documentary he and Teller made on magic in China, India, and Egypt. Penn usually did not have very pleasant things to say about his travels in China, et al., or the Canadian crew he worked with.
  • Penn would note frequently he is not an educated man. He "got out of high school on a plea bargain".
  • When the subject of luck came up, Penn would sometimes refer to a famous quote that frequently gets mis-attributed to him:[10][11] "Luck is probability taken personally". The quote is properly attributed to Chip Denman (manager of the Statistics Laboratory at the University of Maryland).

On religion[edit | edit source]

  • Penn frequently referenced the Scientology "devil", Xenu, usually as a substitute for the word god (e.g., "hail Xenu").
  • Penn liked to argue that most religious advocacy groups, like the Catholic League for Decency, amounted to one loud guy working out of his house. Penn argued a religion like Catholicism already has an official spokesperson – the Pope.
  • Penn did not usually have a personal problem with religious people. Many come up to him after his show and he felt they have congenial conversations. He did mention, however, he was struck once by a drunk Christian woman. The woman told Penn her pastor said there are no such thing as atheists, to which Penn responded, "That's two things your pastor is wrong about." The woman proceeded to slap Penn.
  • Penn dubbed Ash Wednesday as Chiquita Banana Wednesday. He encouraged listeners to wear a banana sticker on their forehead instead of a palm ash cross.

On magic and juggling[edit | edit source]

  • Penn and Goudeau usually claimed the only thing they really knew and understood is juggling.
  • Penn noted that good magicians and jugglers get to where they are because they literally practice the basic moves of their craft 12 hours a day, every day, in their bedroom.

Recurring goofs[edit | edit source]

  • The show's phone operators were instructed that when Penn said "Thanks for calling", that was their cue to hang up on the caller. More often than not, Penn had a follow-up question for the caller only to find out the caller has been dumped. After the phone lines were placed in his home (no longer redirected from the New York call center), Penn acquired the ability to hang up the phones himself and often still used the code phrase while he did it. The use of this code phrase was mentioned twice by Penn on the June 12, 2006 show, a couple of times by Goudeau on the July 11, 2006 Monkey Tuesday and a few more times on the August 21, 2006 show, "Does Anybody Watch Award Shows? (featuring Kathy Griffin's brother (Twice)".
  • During a segment known as "Ask Layperson Penn" where callers can ask for advice or an opinion on anything, callers would address Penn as "Dr. Penn," which Penn would insist it's "actually layperson Penn."
  • When a caller or guest was telling a particularly funny story, Penn urged the story teller, in a phone sex voice, "tell it slow". This sometimes backfired as they ran out of time before the story actually was finished.
  • When a caller mentioned a URL, Penn sometimes shouted at the listener if he or she used "www". Penn noted, forcefully, that everyone knows that it's the World Wide Web, despite not all websites starting with www.
  • Sometimes Penn got the sex of the caller incorrect based on the name. When this happened Penn apologized and noted that for much of his life, people have always assumed "Penn" was short for "Penny" and addressed him believing he was female.
  • Penn was bothered by his callers misusing the subjunctive. If a caller said "If I was x, I would...", Penn would remind the caller that he/she was using the subjunctive and must use were ("If I were a rich man...") instead of was.
  • Up until the February 1, 2007 show, Penn always had to read the show's phone number (1-866-570-PENN) from his computer screen. He's never been able to commit it to memory. The February 1, 2007 show marked the first time Penn was able to recite the phone number from memory. However, Penn was unable to remember the numerical expansion of "PENN".
  • Up until the phone lines were connected directly to Penn's house there would be a significant delay between the time Penn said the caller's name and when the caller would respond, this would sometimes result in the caller being dropped just after they said hello. There was also many times when the caller would be dropped completely and Penn would have to pick another caller from the list.

Music[edit | edit source]

The Monkey Tuesday theme, composed by Penn & Teller's band leader Mike Jones, debuted on the April 25, 2006 show. It quickly became the most requested piece of music in Jones' repertoire. Despite having published seven albums, he was asked three or four times a night by Penn Radio listeners at the Penn & Teller show to play the Monkey Tuesday theme.

The theme was played at the top of a Monkey Tuesday show. Also, whenever either Penn Jillette or a caller said "Monkey Tuesday" the board operator (Patrick) would play the theme. Penn sometimes would say "the Tuesday of Monkeys" to not invoke the music. The music was, however, not to be played for Michael Goudeau, although while he was away fill-in co-hosts such as Mac King were allowed to trigger the music.

Frequent callers/e-mailers[edit | edit source]

  • President Mike: President Mike, a frequent caller, planned to one day run for president. He asked Penn to help him by mailing a postcard to every American stating his platform. Although a refreshing plan in a milieu of TV attack ads, Penn calculated the costs of mailing 300 million postcards would prove prohibitive.[12][13]
  • Vlad the Impala: Vlad was a regular emailer to the show; Penn frequently read his commentaries on the day's topic. Vlad was (as of 2007) a 40-something male who lived in Staffordshire, England and worked for Cadbury. Vlad was credited with suggesting the format for "Layperson Penn" (on the July 14, 2006 episode "Cancer Therapy Turndown Friday").
  • Bob the Skeptical Christian: Bob was a regular emailer. He was a Christian although he was highly skeptical of many of the claims made by his Christian family and friends. There was also a frequent emailer who called himself Christian the Skeptical Atheist.
  • Renee: Renee was Renée French, a comic book author who lived in Australia. She was a personal friend of Penn.[14] She frequently bombarded Penn with multiple emails regarding the topic of the day.
  • Natasha: There were three Natashas who regularly called in and emailed. Penn and Goudeau numbered them Natasha 1.0, Natasha 2.0, Natasha 3.0. Natasha 1.0 was known to be a skeptic and attended Randi's yearly The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas. Penn had said that Natasha 1.0 was his favorite.
  • Big Frankie: Big Frankie, as Penn dubbed him, was a young man in Portland, Oregon who had weighed over 500 pounds (230 kg) (with a 64 inch waist) and was taking a year off from work to exercise 8 hours a day. Big Frankie listened to Penn Radio between two 4-hour work outs and called in, giving updates on his weight loss progress. As of April 28, 2007, he reported via the Penn & Teller message board he was down to 290 pounds (130 kg) and a 38" waist.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]