Why Teller of Illusionist Act Penn & Teller Never Talks

The entertainment illusionists Penn & Teller have performed together since the late 1970s. What is noticeable right away is that while Penn Jillette acts as the orator of the duo, Teller (above right) only communicates through mime and non-verbals. What might surprise most people is that Teller, whose birth name is Raymond Joseph Teller, used to be a high school Latin teacher in New Jersey. So, that answers the lingering question about whether Teller is able to speak. He says that the reason he remains silent on stage is due to his rebellion against what’s known as “patter” in the world of illusions. Patter is their commentary as they perform illusions. For some tricks, the patter may be a story, for others it might be jokes. Teller said he thought it would be interesting to drop the patter so people would have to put together what they’re looking at on their own. "Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself,” he said. Although Teller doesn’t speak while performing, he’s not shy about speaking at fan events.