Life’s Work: An Interview with Penn Jillette: "Tell me a little more about your creative process. How do you and Teller develop your act?
Every Tuesday we get together, usually at a coffee shop, and we sit with our computers in front of us and knock around ideas. We are not in any way supportive. As soon as the germ of an idea comes up, the other person tries to crush it. But we are brutal because if there’s something bad about an idea, we want to find out as soon as we can. It has to survive that process. That doesn’t mean the idea won’t come up another hundred times, but it will come up differently. We never, ever compromise, because that can only lead to mediocrity.
If one of us doesn’t like something, we try to come up with another idea we both do like. We almost always start with a pretentious intellectual thought—for example, what do we have to say about the TSA and freedom? Then we add a trick, and the very last thing we add is jokes. "
On weight loss: when people say, “Boy, I can’t imagine how hard it was to lose that weight,” I say, “It turns out hard things are fun, and easy things aren’t.” I’m proud."