May 23, 2023 - Culture

Local magician wins Penn & Teller competition on national TV

Magician Caleb Morgan shocks Axios' Laura Barrero and McKenzie Rankin with trick at Museum of Illusions. Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Morgan

Caleb Morgan, a local magician, successfully duped Penn & Teller on their CW show Fool Us.

Morgan, who’s been doing magic professionally for a decade now, performed a trick in front of the magic duo that he calls “chicken trick’n.” He first hides a red bandana inside of what appears to be a fake egg, then cracks the egg to reveal it’s real and full of yolk.

“Which fooled us first, the chicken or the egg?” Penn asked Morgan jokingly before announcing he won the competition.

Context: The purpose of the show, hosted by actress Alyson Hannigan (of “How I Met Your Mother”), is for aspiring magicians to perform their best tricks in order to fool Penn & Teller. 

  • “It’s kind of like American Idol for magicians,” Morgan says.

Why it matters: Penn & Teller are two of the most famous magicians in the world. They’ve been performing together since the late 1970s and probably know every trick in the book.

  • “We [magicians] really look up to them. I’ve watched their stuff for years,” Morgan says.

Flashback: Before pursuing magic full-time, Morgan, who majored in Spanish in college, was a Spanish translator. He worked at a school and as a medical interpreter. But, thanks to an opportunity from a mentor that snowballed into a full-blown career, Morgan has been making magic for a decade now.

  • “Regardless of language, regardless of culture, [magic] is a way that we can all connect over a fun shared experience,” he says.

Now, Morgan mostly does private shows and performs at corporate events. Most recently, we spotted him at the Museum of Illusions media night.

What’s next: As part of his prize, Morgan will be invited back to Vegas to close out Penn & Teller’s live show on the strip.

  • Morgan says he’s also planning to do a cross-country tour at venues like the Magic Castle in Hollywood, Magic Lounge in Chicago and House of Cards in Nashville.
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