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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Penn & Teller's Flag-Burning

For several years, Penn & Teller have done a bit in their Vegas show about the Bill Of Rights, freedom of speech, and burning the American flag. In 2004, Penn's friend Lawrence O'Donnell, a former congressional staffer and commentator turned writer and producer for "The West Wing," invited them to do a version of it for the NBC show. Penn wasn't a big fan of "The West Wing," but agreed to a script in which their routine became an internal White House controversy -- in which P&T got the final word. They ask, "What if you're not burning a flag in protest, but in celebration of the very things that people who work in this magnificent building have sworn to uphold?"

Here's how it looked in primetime...

Here's the longer version, as they perform it in their stage show at The Rio, with even more commentary on patriotism, China, and the flag itself. Naturally, since this is Penn & Teller, they go ahead and reveal how they do the trick, and then end with a stunner...