This week when I did a show on pseudoscience, I was complaining about a reality show called “Phenomenon”, featuring Uri Geller and Criss Angel as the judges. I mistakenly claimed that this show was about contestants trying to prove that they have psychic powers.
In addition to the person who called at the beginning of the show, numerous people have sent email to inform me that the show does not claim to promote the idea of real magic powers; they are judging people on their abilities as stage magicians. I regret the mistake, and it turns out that I was thinking of a different show: “America’s Psychic Challenge” on Lifetime. Please direct your mockery towards this other show, and not Phenomenon.
In addition, I said I didn’t have an opinion on Criss Angel as a magician, but I had heard him bad-mouthed by Penn Jillette. I used to listen to Penn’s radio show, but it turns out I was wrong about that too. Searching for Penn and Criss Angel together, I found this audio clip of Penn doing a friendly interview with Criss on his own show.
I heard this interview, but I must have misremembered the characters in it. It turns out that Penn really likes Angel, and together they were badmouthing David Blaine, whom they both consider an untalented hack whose whole act is basically about selling himself. So, in Penn’s opinion: Criss Angel smart smart smart, David Blaine dum dum dum.
Now I don’t agree with Penn Jillette’s opinions on everything, but I really dig him as a performer, a magician, and a loudmouthed skeptic. So if Penn likes Criss Angel as a magician then that’s good enough for me. I guess you can watch Phenomenon now.