Last Updated on September, 2023
I subscribed to MasterClass to cook like Gordon Ramsay and Thomas Keller, but who knew I would become a rookie magician instead of a chef?
After completing four classes on cooking, I decided to learn something new outside that, and that’s when an ad for Penn and Teller’s popped up on YouTube. It looked fun; being a huge of Johnny Thompson, I’ve always been interested in magic, so when I saw this, I was more than ready to get started.
With absolutely zero knowledge and experience, I decided to learn some magic from what I know, some of the best in the business.
So yeah, it seems like you’re interested in learning magic too.
Great, it’s been a good few weeks since I completed the course, and in this Penn and Teller MasterClass Review, I’ll spill everything you need to know so that you can decide whether or not to give this MasterClass on Magic a shot or not.
- 1 Quick Summary: Penn and Teller Masterclass
- 2 About Penn and Teller
- 3 Penn and Teller Teach the Art of Magic: Outline
- 4 Structure of the MasterClass
- 5 Penn and Teller’s MasterClass: In DETAIL
- 6 Items Essential to Do the Magic Tricks Penn and Teller’s MasterClass
- 7 Penn and Teller’s MasterClass Cost
- 8 Who is This MasterClass for?
- 9 Penn and Teller MasterClass: Customer Testimonials
- 10 My Experience With Penn and Teller MasterClass
- 11 Is Penn and Teller MasterClass Worth Buying?
- 12 Pros and Cons of Penn and Teller’s Masterclass
- 13 Final Thoughts: Penn and Teller Teach the Art of Magic
- 14 FAQs
Quick Summary: Penn and Teller Masterclass
Here’s a quick look at everything you can expect from this MasterClass.
Outline of the Things you’ll learn:
- What Penn and Teller Think About Magic.
- Magic Tricks Based on Rope, Coin, Card and a Lot More.
- Principles of Each Magic Trick.
- How to Customize Magic Tricks to Make Them Unique to You.
- Mastering Misdirection and Sleight of Hand Methods.
Total Course Length and Runtime:
- 17 Video Lessons and 2 hours and 52 minutes.
About Penn and Teller
Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller are the magical duo whose names echoed in all parts of the world of magic.
They are well known for their innovative styles that capture the audience and boundary-pushing performances that leave them yearning for more.
Penn is the tall, talkative part of the duo, while Teller is the silent partner who communicates through mime and gestures.
This combination of their natures is like a well-oiled machine that never lags in the face of a performance, which speaks to their experience.
They have been performing together since the late 1970s and are now at the forefront of the world of magic. Penn and Teller have also created a unique brand of magic that is both entertaining and intellectually stimulating to the audience.
Their performance over the years has made them worthy of recognition and appreciation. The legendary magicians have also won numerous awards and accolades, such as:
- The Emmy
- Writer’s Guild Award
Not just that, both of them also have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and even a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Magical Arts.
Furthermore, they are also known for their critically acclaimed television shows, including “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and “Penn & Teller: BS, which were nominated for 16 Emmy awards and won the Best Reality TV Show by the American Writers’ Guild in 2004.
All that shows you what Penn and Teller are all about; these experienced magicians largely excel at what they do.
Penn and Teller Teach the Art of Magic: Outline
Penn and Teller MasterClass Video Lessons
Videos are the backbone of MasterClass, I’d say it has the best production quality out of all online course platforms I’ve tested; it’s so good. Don’t think it’s another YouTube-like platform; this is totally different.
That same quality applies to Penn and Teller’s MasterClass too; it’s great quality-wise.
Besides quality, I can also say that both Penn and Teller are very engaging, and they do a great job of keeping the viewer entertained.
Looking at the video lessons, as you may already know, there are 17 lessons and each can be around 4 to 20 minutes in length. As for the overall duration of the course, as mentioned above, it’s just eight minutes shy of three hours.
Keep reading, more on the videos below.
Penn and Teller MasterClass Workbook
Each and every MasterClass comes with a high-quality workbook that is printable and very useful. Additional notes, instruction, and resources can be found on this and can contribute to most of the lessons.
That said, the workbook in the Penn and Teller MasterClass contains 64-pages and it’s a great addition to the course and very handy when going through the classes.
The workbook also has visual instructions on how to do all of the different magic tricks covered in the videos.
Access to MasterClass Community
Community is a great place to get your doubts clarified; you can interact with fellow MasterClass students and even ask questions that’ll be answered by the other students or a MasterClass representative.
To access the community, all you have to do is scroll down each video until you find this:
Structure of the MasterClass
With 17 lessons and an average runtime of 12 minutes per video, Penn and Teller MasterClass isn’t the longest compared to other MasterClasses. That said, Below are all of the 17 lessons that are in this MasterClass.
- Meet Penn & Teller
- Sleight of Hand: The French Drop
- Cups and Balls
- What Is Magic?
- Coin Magic
- Magic Vs. Lying
- Mentalist or Crook?
- Card Magic
- Exploiting the Best of the Human Brain
- Rope Tricks
- Principles of Performing
- Cause and Effect
- The Joy of Magic
- Bonus Chapter No. 1: Advanced Student Coaching
- Bonus Chapter No. 2: Piff the Magic Dragon
- Bonus Chapter No. 3: Penn & Teller Live at Rio Las Vegas “Cell Fish”
This is all 17 lessons, all of which are exactly 2 hours and 52 minutes long. If this seems like a little too much for you, you can always take advantage of the video playback buttons, which allow you to adjust the video speed from 0.5x up to 2x.
Penn and Teller’s MasterClass: In DETAIL
‘’We’re not teaching you garbage’’ That is the kind of reassurance you need if you’re going to watch something that you know nothing about.
Here, I’ll dive a little deeper into some of the most important lessons so that you know what to expect before getting started.
Starting off with the introduction, it’s nothing more than what a beginner can ask for.
‘’If you’ve never done any magic before, ever in your life, we got stuff here for you.’’
From there, Penn claims that by the end of the MasterClass, you will have learned over hundred magic tricks. That is something I did not keep count of, but yes, if you’re here with the idea of learning magic, a lot, to be exact, you’ll get that.
After the intro, which is a rather short one, Penn and Teller move straight into the backbone of magic tricks, ‘’The French Drop’’ in the next lesson, they start off the lesson with the oldest trick in all of magic, ‘’Cups and Balls’’ and then bring on a dancer and two performers with no prior experience with magic to get The French Drop up and running.
Teller does all the explaining here, and to be fair, he does an excellent job in teaching you all, from basics to the advanced; he walks you through everything thoroughly.
What’s more fascinating is that all three volunteers also follow what both Penn and Teller do, and one of them masters the trick successfully.
Lesson 3 is where everything gets interesting. With the same volunteers, Penn and Teller come back to cup and ball trick, and this time, it’s all about it.
This is where MasterClass’s production value comes into play. Various slow-motion and close-up shots make everything a great learning experience.
In the upcoming lessons, Penn and Teller discuss the philosophical and psychological concepts behind performing magic; this is a brief section before moving into ‘’Misdirection’’ which is known to be another vital part of magic.
If you’ve been doing magic for a while, you’ll love this lesson. Penn clearly explains everything about Misdirection and explains why everyone’s idea of it is wrong with examples.
“You can’t confuse Misdirection with Distraction”
Coin Magic, Card Magic, and Rope Tricks were three of my favorite lessons in Penn And Teller’s Masterclass. These are some of the longest videos, but the amount of card tricks and coin tricks you’ll learn is immense.
Coin Magic is the lesson up top, so let’s go with it first. Right off the bat, I was hooked. Watching Teller do all these coin tricks made me realize how easy these tricks are to perform. Also, the volunteers from the previous lessons are back this time.
I’ve watched these tricks on TV before, but knowing how everything is performed is truly excellent. Also, the way both Penn and Teller explain everything makes the learning process much easier.
Coin Drop, Coin Manipulation, and the Disappearing Glasses are some of the tricks you’ll learn in this lesson.
All that said, the Silver Fish is the star of the show here. I was in awe when Teller pulled a bunch of live goldfish out of the coins he had. That was in front of a live audience, by the way. It was truly spectacular.
Card Magic is the longest lesson by far, and it brings a lot to the table, along with a special guest appearance too.
The only magician I knew, The late Johnny Thompson, appears in this lesson. Anyone with even zero knowledge about magic will know the kind of legend he is.
He, along with Penn, Teller, and the three students, cover a good amount of tricks in the session, and guess what the lesson starts off with?
‘’The Whispering Queen’’
Not only was Johnny the only magician I knew, but this was also the only name of the trick I’d known for years. It was great watching Johnny do what he does best.
And you know what? Johnny actually reveals the secret of how to do the Whispering Queen in this lesson, and surprisingly, even a complete beginner like me would pull off this trick with ease; it’s so easy.
The main idea behind most of these card tricks is the ‘’Force’’. Forcing a card involves guiding someone to choose a specific card while giving them the impression that they made the decision freely. Penn has got the perfect definition for it:
‘’You’re giving them a choice that is no choice whatsoever’’
At the end of the day, your goal is to force the picker to pick the middle packet, and it is where the ‘’Magician’s Choice’’ comes in.
Which, according to the workbook, is a powerful technique used a lot in magic. Below I’ve done my best to define the technique.
Imagine the Magician’s Choice as a sneaky verbal trick that dazzles your senses!
It’s like offering a buffet of options, making you feel like you’re freely choosing, when in reality, the clever structure of the whole shebang ensures that, like clockwork, you’ll always end up with the same mind-blowing result.
It’s a crafty way to keep you on the edge of your seat while the magician pulls off their magical wizardry!
Hope you got the idea of it.
That said, you need to really go through the lessons to get the full picture of what I’m saying.
Even though this was the longest lesson of all, it was actually super fun, and the time went by in a flash.
While card magic is the longest lesson, the rope tricks lesson is one of the smallest; it runs for 6min 10secs and has two tricks in store.
I particularly loved the Cut and Restored Rope; even though it wasn’t the easiest for a beginner like me, I had great fun following the lesson.
There goes all the practice lessons; now the remaining are all general lessons like Magic Vs. Lying, Principles of Performing, Cause, and Effect, The Joy of Magic, and a few others. If you’re not interested or know all this stuff, you can just skip these parts.
Finally, as you may already know, Penn and Teller MasterClass comes with three bonuses, all of which are more like entertainment classes rather than practice lessons.
The first one out of the three is the ‘’Advanced Student Coaching’’ here, Penn, Teller, and Johnny teach two other Magicians ‘’Matt Donnelly’’ and ‘’Piff the Magic Dragon’’.
This lesson can be a very good experience for experienced magicians. Both Matt and Magic Dragon make many mistakes, and the way all three of the legends address these mistakes step-by-step, You can learn a lot from that.
Items Essential to Do the Magic Tricks Penn and Teller’s MasterClass
To do each magic trick, you’ll need a set of items; below are all of those.
- 2 SMALL TINFOIL BALLS
- 2 LARGE TINFOIL BALLS
- 1 MAGIC WAND
- SOME GRAPES
- 3 PLASTIC CUPS
- SOME LARGE COINS OR QUARTERS
- 1 DRINKING GLASS
- 1 NEWSPAPER OR STURDY NAPKIN
- 1 SMALL PIECE OF PAPER
- 1 PENCIL
- 1 ASHTRAY
- 1 LIGHTER
- 2 DUPLICATE DECKS OF CARDS
- ONE 4-6 FT. PIECE OF ROPE
- AN AUDIENCE
Penn and Teller’s MasterClass Cost
MasterClass previously provided the chance to purchase select courses for $90, but that’s no longer available anymore, and it’s all subscription-based now.
Worth noting, however, is that the subscription isn’t just for the Penn and Teller MasterClass but for all other classes on the platform.
If you don’t know already, you can not only learn magic, MasterClass has over 180 classes from a variety of categories, so there are options. (To learn more about the MasterClass, checkout my review here.)
That said, let me walk you through the subscription options available. Keep in mind that this is an annual subscription program, not a monthly one.
Individual plan is for anyone looking to watch MasterClass alone; this provides access to just one device and costs $15 monthly. But as mentioned above, you’ll be billed annually. In that way, for a year, you’ll need to pay $180.
Duo Plan provides access to two devices. That means you can watch MasterClass online courses on two devices simultaneously. Looking at the cost, this plan is $5 higher than the individual plan—$20 monthly and $240 annually.
The family plan provides access to straight-up 6 devices and, just like Duo, allows you to watch videos offline.
Even though the amount of access for devices increases, the price does not go up significantly, just a $3 increment from the previous plan, that’s $23 monthly and $276 annually.
That is everything you need to know about the cost of Penn and Teller MasterClass.
Penn and Teller’s MasterClass Refund Policy
Now for the refund policy. With the subscription, you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re unhappy with the classes, you can get a full refund before the first 30 days.
But remember, you won’t get a refund after the 30-days. After that, you can only cancel the subscription.
Who is This MasterClass for?
The answer to this is simple than I initially thought. Penn and Teller MasterClass is for anyone who just loves magic, no matter the experience. It’ll be an even more enjoyable experience if you know your stuff about magic.
On the other hand, if you’re a Penn and Teller fan, this is SOME knowledge that you’ll not be able to find anywhere else.
The insights on how they got started and their methods can all be very useful; I’ve also heard that Teller doesn’t talk during the shows at all, so this is a great chance to watch him talk too.
To put it simply, like I said above, it does not matter whether you’re a beginner, experienced, or more than that; there are more than enough things to learn in this MasterClass.
Penn and Teller MasterClass: Customer Testimonials
Before I get into my experience, let me tell you what others think of Penn and Teller MasterClass. Below are some of the opinions of the students who took this class.
My Experience With Penn and Teller MasterClass
I’ve literally shared my experience in the above sections, but anyways, I can keep talking about Penn and Teller all day.
As you may already know, I bought MasterClass to learn cooking, which I did learn successfully.
But since having a year worth of subscription and over 180 classes, I decided to search for a good class; many recommended the one from Penn and Teller, and that is where I decided to give it a shot.
Knowing just Johnny Thompson and his Whispering Queen trick, I had zero knowledge of magic before getting started. I wasn’t even sure whether to start and continue with the class until I saw the introduction video.
It was great, and I specifically got hooked when Penn said:
‘’ If you learn JUST the stuff that we teach you, and nothing else, You have really hundreds of tricks you can do’’
On top of that, Penn and Teller MasterClass is one of the shortest courses on the platform. That was another factor why I decided to watch this one.
Anyways, First off, Let me tell you about the production quality. You can’t expect any other online courses to be this good in this aspect, MasterClass is in a league of its own. Every lesson feels like a movie, no matter the video quality you’ve chosen.
Speaking of quality, you get to choose from four options; 360p, 540p, 720p, and 1080p; along with that, you get to choose between four playback speed options; 0.5x, 1x, 1.5x, and 2x. All that is great.
But I especially loved the slow-motion close-up walkthroughs of each trick at the end of each video; those were excellent.
Moving on from video quality, let me tell you about the lessons. Even though I did not learn hundreds of tricks, being a beginner, I must say that I learned a lot; French Drop is now a breeze, and the same can be said for the Cup and Balls Trick.
Coin Magic was excellent and so easy. If you’re someone who has changes lying around, you can Flex this trick in front of your family and friends. It’s awesome.
However, apart from all that, the trick I loved the most was the Whispering Queen. It’s such a great technique, and being able to do that, what else can I say?
I had so much fun with Penn and Teller Masterclass compared to Thomas Keller’s one, which I initially bought the MasterClass for.
Enough of the positives; what about the downsides?
Surprisingly, it was the workbook. This is one of the strongest areas of MasterClass, but what you get in Penn and Teller MasterClass isn’t the best. Gordon’s and Thomas’s workbook is stacked with information, but the same cannot be said for the book here.
Now this might be a little too much, but anyways, it would have been great if Penn and Teller revealed the secrets behind some of their advanced magic tricks like the silverfish. Anyways, it is what it is.
However, the existing videos are more than enough, and the way Penn and Teller walk you through the tricks makes everything easier to understand—an excellent MasterClass Overall.
Other MasterClass reviews:
Is Penn and Teller MasterClass Worth Buying?
From everything I’ve seen, Penn and Teller MasterClass is much more than worth it. Yes, you won’t learn the amount of magic Penn claims, but what you’ll learn at the end of the day is more than enough to impress and entertain anyone.
Also, out of the four classes I’ve taken so far, I’d say this one’s the second best, right below Gordon Ramsay’s MasterClass.
Thanks to Penn and Teller, it was also quite easy to grasp what they were teaching; both are great teachers, that’s for sure. The techniques and how they take it from simple basic tricks to complex tricks are excellent, and the flow is great.
Pros and Cons of Penn and Teller’s Masterclass
Final Thoughts: Penn and Teller Teach the Art of Magic
Whether you’re a beginner eager to learn magic from scratch or an experienced magician looking to refine your skills, Penn and Teller’s MasterClass offers valuable insights and techniques that are both entertaining and instructive.
With their vast experience and the expertise of other legendary magicians, this course is well worth the investment.
Embark on this magical journey with Penn and Teller, and unlock the secrets of the art of magic. Let your imagination soar as you learn from the masters and create unforgettable moments of wonder and astonishment.
Also, as you may already know, the platform does not give you access to just Penn and Teller’s MasterClass; you get an extra 180+ classes with it, so you can learn a lot more along with magic.
Was this article helpful?
Was this article helpful?