Penn and Teller on Scientology

I always get asked why Penn and Teller don’t tackle Scientology on Bullshit.  Here they address that.

While I have heard that Showtime’s lawyers were stopping them from doing it, I’m rather amazed at Penn’s statement that he doesn’t think they are possibly worthy of tackling.  One of the weaknesses of the last couple of seasons of the show is the tepid topics they are covering.  NASA, dolphins and sleep aids are just a few recent examples.

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16 Comments on “Penn and Teller on Scientology”

  1. Anonykota Says:

    I watch bullshit quite a bit and I can see their reasoning. It’s not something that most people need to be told is bullshit. It’s obvious, but then again so are dolphins having magic powers.

  2. Rabidtreeweasel Says:

    I Teller’s comments about religion here to be interesting. They covered the Bible and Christianity. Why should Scientology be exempt?

  3. Schnapple Says:

    I figure P&T probably lump Scientology into self help and other religions and those are topics they’ve already done on their show. They’re atheists and they think God is bullshit but they don’t individually call out every deist religion. I would imagine they think Scientology just falls into one of the previous categories.

  4. WolfyRik Says:

    I love Penn and Teller, I hope they do make a show on it. We don’t get some of their shows over here though.

  5. Artoo45 Says:

    I wonder if they would change their tune now that Trey and Matt HAVE dropped the big bomb.
    P&T are great warriors for the cause of reason and clarity, so I hope that they will tackle the subject when they see fit. Nobody sued Viacom after Kyle dared them to.

    Oh, and RIP Mr. Isaac Hayes, I loved you no matter what you got suckered into.

  6. anonanonanonymous Says:

    Their answer seems genuine, but I will also agree that the show is a bit BS itself. Their defence of WalMart for example, the unchallenged leader of the destruction of workers rights and American small business and manufacturing.

    But it is true that there are LESS than 100k Scientologists in the world, and they pretty much only fuck themselves, so they are simply not on anyones radar…

    present company excluded, of course! Is this video THAT old?? The South Park Scientology “Scandal” is years old now. How long has BS been on the air?? I’ve only heard of it this year??

  7. HappyWulf Says:

    Anonanonanon-
    I believe they are currently recording their 5th or 6th season right now.

  8. Long Time P&T Fan Says:

    I used to LOVE Penn & Teller: Bullshit! back when the series was new. In 2003 and the following year i would anticipate the next episode of Penn & Teller. Sometimes Showtime would postpone the next episode for a week or two, probably to build up the anticipation. Unfortunately, the show has peaked immediately after it began. The first two seasons were nothing short of brilliant. By the third season, the series jumped the shark.

    (Alright, a couple of the Season 1 and 2 episodes sucked. The “Sex, Sex, Sex” episode was stupid and pointless, and, I am not at all homophobic, but the last thing I want to do is stare at a hairy cock-and-balls for 30 minutes. Overall, I enjoyed the “Peta” episode, but I found Penn’s statement that he would exterminate the great apes if that is what it took to cure ONE human junkie utterly repugnant, see more below. For the most part, Seasons 1 and 2 episodes rocked, though.)

    The 2003 and 2004 seasons focused on such topics as mysticism, the paranormal, pseudoscience, hoaxes and scams, and even the occasional strike at religion. The initial seasons championed the cause of skepticism and utilized a scientific approach to debunking, for lack of a better word, bullshit! The series started out with a very populist tone, only to turn cynically elitist after 2005. Earlier episodes of P&T:BS! would be about astrology, exorcism, pet psychics, the war on drugs, and other such nonsensical notions. In the beginning of the series, the show was kind of like Mythbusters exceot rather than the latter’s focus on urban myths, Penn & Teller took on other, more controversial subjects. Penn & Teller were always opinionated, and never had pretentions of being unbiased, but at least I found their old shows enjoyable. Newer episodes would be about what Penn & Teller themselves found distasteful.

    Granted, though I have moderately libertarian views. (I am what Cato Institute types would term “left-libertarian.”) I found the later trend of Penn & Teller using the show as a facade for their hardcore libertarian anarcho-capitalist views annoying. Even so, what is up with some of their topics? Dating? Delphine intelligence? Virtually, all the new episodes are based on their own opinions. As I stated, Penn & Teller were always bold, outspoken, and upfront about their opinion, (which in itself is a good thing), but at least then the content of the show was largely a matter of factual issues.

    Of course, maybe I just lost respect for Penn & Teller, particularly Penn, as of late. I used to tune in regularly to Penn Jillette’s talk radio show in 2006 (around the time that PTBS sucked). They cancelled it by the year’s end. Why, because Penn Jillette was “corrupting the youth of” America with his “submersive” message? Nope… probably because nobody wanted to listen to it anymore. The new Penn is so pompous and self-absorbed. Also, when he got married and had a kid (to be fair, most people become lame when they get married and/or have kids), he named his son/daughter (I forgot which) “Moxie Crimefighter.” WTF? That is possibly the dumbest celebrity baby name since Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple. Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow, Bob Geldof, Paula Yates, Penn Jillete, Angelina Jolie, and Sarah Palin can collaborate on a book of extremely stupid baby names. Then Jeff Foxworthy can market it with Larry the Cableguy’s material… At that point I lost all respect for Penn Jillette (which says a lot considering how I once had tremedous respect for P&T).

    That and the fact that Penn & Teller are into Ayn Rand makes it hard to admire them. (Ironically, everyone wants Penn & Teller to do a show on Scientology, when Ayn Rand was nothing more than a “Jewish L. Ron Hubbard from the USSR” and “Objectivism” as practiced was a cult nearly identical to Scientlogy.) I think the influence of the fascist Ayn Rand on the otherwise hardcore Libertarians Penn & Teller prompts them to say something as stupid as, “I would kill every ape on the planet if it could find a cure for one junkie with AIDS.” Then again I wonder if they really mean such things or if Penn just shouts out dumb shit for shock value. If the former, then I do not want anything to do with them, if the latter, then they simply do not deserve any attention. (Plus you would think that as libertarians, Penn & Teller would realize that Ayn Rand and her “philosophy” of “Objectivism” are incompatible with their ideology. Except for their agreement on absolute, untethered free market capitalism, Ayn Rand’s neoconservative ideology based on iron Bolshevik discipline, social darwinism, an armed Cold Warrior mentality, radical Zionism, and a vaguely Straussian social order are quite at odds with personal enjoyment and American patriotism. Plus Rand HATED Libertarians.)

    Speaking of politics, it appears that Penn & Teller joined the “Obama sucks!” bandwagon, which is actually worse than the “Obama is the greatest man alive!” bandwagon, albeit slightly. Not that I fault them for having that opinion, but Penn Jillette at least has no right to complain seeing as they had a “libertarian” candidate in the person of Ron Paul, but Penn Jillette repudiated Ron Paul for being “racist” because of a virulently racist newsletter which he did not actually write.

    CASE IN POINT:
    Penn & Teller claim that they want to do an episode of Bulshit! on Scientology but that Showtime will never let them. I think they are lying. In Season Two (2004), Penn & Teller did filmed an episode about the Bible, (which takes balls, P&T deserve mad props for that!) and pissed off many Christians as a result, yet they expect us to believe that Showtime will not let them do a show about some nutball cult of a few thousand members lest they offend some brainwashed Scientologists?

    Somebody please explain why there are no episodes of Bullshit! exposing a lunatic cult that operates as a for-profit business corporation but masquerades as a religion. Penn & Teller could have so much fun with that. Teller could act the part of the nefarious Lord Xenu as Penn Jillette narrates the secret Scientology story (in a manner similar to that found in the South Park episode). The duo can bring back the angry populism that they traded for apathetically cynical elitism years ago.

    Viacom, of all corporations, allowed Comedy Central, a basic cable channel, to air an episode of South Park lampooning Scientology, (mostly by summarizing WHAT SCIENTOLOGIST ACTUALLY BELIEVE), yet apparently a subscription cable channel with a smaller audience is afraid to allow the same? The refusal of Penn & Teller to make an anti-Scientology episode is almost certainly cowardice on their part. (Unless perhaps Showtime is OWNED by Scientologists, or the Church of Scientology infiltrated the parent corporation…)

    I see a couple people posting as Penn & Teller apologists, using the excuse, “Scientology is too obscure,” or “everyone knows it is bunk,” or “it is not that dangerous.” Everybody overlooks that the victims of $cientology are not limited to those poor (not in terms of money) brainwashed dupes who subscribe to the pay-as-you-go sacraments, including kooky celebs like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, or even just family, close friends, and blood relatives of Scientology victims. Scientology seeks out fresh minds covertly using groups such as Narconon. Right before he died L. Ron Hubbard himself instructed the Church of Scientology to infiltrate the governments of America and the World. Of course, only the most desperate “aluminum foil hatters” believe there is a Scientology conspiracy currently controlling the governments, but that does not mean they did not try. Scientologists have attempted to infiltrate politics, but they usually fail because, they tend to get caught and nobody wants to vote for a $cientologist.

    Were Penn & Teller to do an episode about Scientology, I might change my mind about them. Hell, I might even subscribe to Showtime!

  9. XENU TV Says:

    While I agree on many of your points, I think HBO’s concern was that christians may be angered but they wouldn’t sue whereas Scientology has been known to be suit-happy.

    But since South Park did an episode without being sued, it hardly seems the risk it once did.

  10. Tim Giangiobbe Says:

    I have never missed an opportunity to trash the bullshit scientologist I worked with.His name is Carlo Khatchi and he is as Phony as L Ron Hubbard was.Carlo runs Montclai Construction and he CAIMS HE IS AN ENGINEER.BULL SHIT Carlo can barely spell engineer mus less be one.He is an uneducated man from the hills of Iran and he came to New York first where blacks would kick his butt daily in school.He hates them because of that.He also uses Latino labor like they are slaves.He had a form blowout and an Immigrant was killed and he tried covering it up on his record.He is always bragging about how clear he is after spending God only knowes how much money to have bragging rights in dumb ass scientology land.He is CLEAR all right,CLEARLY FULL OF SHIT and that seems CLEAR enough for me.I should have taken your ass to court you phony bastard.I found out someone made charges to my account and I say you deserved it if they got over I did not have to pay for it.The way you would force Scientology on everyone was wrong and you will never see it because you are so filled with CULT BULLSHIT.You are lucky to have a company still and PLEASE QUIT TELLING PEOPLE YOU ARE AN ENGINEER.Sanitary Engineer of The FIRST DEGREE,A ProFESSional bullshitologist.Yes CLEARLY so!!!

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  12. THIRD PARTY Says:

    SCIENTOLOGY,has no science in it,scient look it up.JUST another wacko religion scams like all the rest,yes SANTA is fake.They needed a tax right off as well as all the others,also scamming people out of their money,like all the rest,demonizing all other religions,like all the rest.The sheeple in this country are laughable.A real god,if true would never ask me to scam money off people,lie,cheat,rape kids,trade kids,murder people,demonize others beliefs,start wars,any god,or prophet would never ask for money,that old trick has been around since man.The very notion of money is a scam to A real god,HE,SHE,OR IT WOULD NEVER DISTINGUISH,

  13. THIRD PARTY Says:

    WHAT BULLSHIT,Scientology has been studies for years,the average IQ of 2258 volunteer members is 101.Almost to the moron state of THE TEST.The average AMERICAN I.Q. IS 118,out of 486,000 THAT were tested in 2009.The real number difference between the the two are astounding.17 points on the test given are difference between a mentally retarded person and average person in their second year of high school.ALL test were given out to adults,even though some debate over years over what a true i.q test age is most convincing to the fact of a final out come of success related to the test.

  14. DR.RONINSKY Says:

    MEMBERS of this cult are what we call in the medical field as having anal-fixation.I have studied these folks for years,since 1974 my clinic has helped their recovery to get over their dilutions.Some show more cause of this then others,but studying the cult has shown different tactics are brought into there cult.

  15. Andy-Laa Says:

    To: Long Time P&T Fan (the guy with the huge post)

    You wont ever see this probably, but I just thought I’d mention that Scientologists will sue because they have some of the richest followers in the world.

    The reason they COULDN’T sue South Park (not to say they didn’t try) was something to do with the fact that either:
    A) It was covered under law as a parody and therefore legally sound.
    Or
    B) Alls it did was tell people what they believe and isn’t therefore illegal.

    I forget which as it is a long time since I’ve seen that episode, but yeah.

  16. Minami Sumi Says:

    At least Scientologists don’t cut animals’ throats so they bleed to death slowly , or cut off the tip of their children’s penis , like they do in other so-called religions .


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