Dance skeptic, dance!

By Phil Plait | March 18, 2008 9:30 pm

Happily, my brother-in-law reminded me that the premier of Dancing with the Stars was on Monday night, so I caught the stylings of skeptic, magician, loudmouth, and (literal) giant among men Penn Jillette.

His partner is Kym Johnson, who is not 17 feet tall as I had hoped. She was wearing very tall heels, and was still like six meters shorter than Penn.

I have to admit, he did better than I thought he would, and he actually did a move where he dove between Ms. Johnson’s legs which was pretty bold. Actually, right at the start I thought he might snap her leg off, but she appeared to survive that as well (one of the judges noticed this as well).

See for yourself:

The judges were snarky, of course, and gave him a low score, lower than I thought he deserved. I guess they don’t handicap. I’ll note that, as usual, Penn does all the talking while his partner does all the work.

I can’t imagine how this will be handled at TAM 6. We’ll have to show some clips, I think…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Humor

Comments (26)

  1. Troy

    I’m pretty sure Penn is safe for this week. He’s the only reason I’m watching this season.

  2. Tim G

    Not bad for a 53-year-old.

  3. Katie

    Oh, I don’t think that Penn deserved that low of a score. He wasn’t that terrible. Plus, he pulled out flowers at the end, which should tack some sort of bonus points at the end.

  4. Kevin L.

    I thought he did just dandy. But then again, I’m biased as a Penn fan, and I don’t know the least thing about dancing, so for all I know he might actually be the worst dancer alive :)

  5. Thomas Siefert

    She was dancing, he certainly wasn’t…

  6. Is Penn still saying global warming is a liberal hoax ?

    I hope not.

  7. baryogenesis

    Not really interested in watching the show, but I must say I was intrigued at the promos about Penn being on…well, to be honest, I think the judges got it about right. The big guy tried but his partner did all of the actual dancing. He basically walked or strode around. Loved the belly-slide, though! OK, back to NASA TV….

  8. Richard

    5’s and 6’s for the first show is fine. When the top score is a 10 that’s actually pretty good. Let’s hope the footwork improves quickly.

  9. Carey

    I bet he dances better than Richard Hoagland or Kent Hovind. But I think to beat Ben Stein, Teller is going to have to step up.

  10. JackC

    That almost hurt to watch – and I liked the banner about “pain relief without pills” or something like that – it just seemed appropriate.

    What I REALLY liked though was Penn’s line: “I’ll give you 4 weeks to learn a card trick” to the second judge.


  11. MO Man

    I have found Penn to be inexcusably rude on several occasions, both to me and entire groups, so it may surprise the reader to hear that I thoroughly enjoyed what he did (and I am also a former stage dancer). And his replies were wonderfully witty, and that old flower trick…I never imagined that ever being of much use, but he proved me wrong. So, go Penn, and may fatherhood and tough judges give you a little humility and sensitivity. So, what size shoe does he wear…or shoebox…and shouldn’t he be given a handicap…two points extra, I say.

  12. Brown

    I doubt I could do any better than that, myself. So I say: Score one for us tall, big, aging baby boomers.

  13. He may be a lover, but he ain’t no dancer.

    (Sorry — I couldn’t resist).

  14. Brandon

    Big nerd dancing with hot lady FTW!

  15. Sam

    I knew he was going to pull flowers out of his sleeve.

  16. Wow Penn looks like he has lost weight, I may have to watch just for him.. naaa I think I will just stick to utube.

  17. FPS

    Dance, Global Warming Skeptic, dance!

  18. Eric

    I loved it, of course, the real star was Kym, she was very good. The highlight was the belly slide, it reminded me of a Bull Seal sliding on the ice in an old Disney nature movie…

  19. Astronomer

    Phil why don’t you grow up and correct your mistakes instead of deleting my comments …

    I’ve been going through your posts and well your really making some minor mistakes!
    Are you sure your an astronomer? you should know the facts. Your post here has some wrong info and your video about the asteroid .. well you made some distance related mistakes .

    Also some other tidbits like when you were explaining some important facts well.. are you sure your an astronomer? your info is very wrong on alot of your posts.

    your degrading astronomy . Maybe you should not be in the debunking astronomy business.

  20. rusty

    Phil’s info is wrong Astronomer?

    Phil is such a nincompoop he has no idea of what science really is , he makes constant mistakes that an astronomer should know . he is a retarded idiot pretending to be important , he doesn’t even work !!

  21. tay

    Phil’s info is wrong Astronomer?

    Phil is such a nincompoop he has no idea of what science really is , he makes constant mistakes that an astronomer should know . he is a retarded idiot pretending to be important , he doesn’t even work !!

  22. Malachi

    To steer this back to the topic…

    You may not know it, Phil, but another celebrity on the show, Adam Carolla, is a very public atheist and a sort of layman skeptic. I doubt he knows much about science (he was a carpenter and boxing instructor before getting into radio), but he is very astute when it comes to pointing out BS.

    His radio show is podcast on iTunes if you’re interested.

  23. Michael Lonergan

    Penn diving between someone’s legs! That WOULD be a sight to see!

  24. The judges better be careful or Penn will make them disappear.

    @Rusty: Your comments might actually be worth reading if you ever master the twin arts of punctuation and capitalization.

  25. themadlolscientist

    Quoth Penn: “You’re gonna see Sasquatch dance.” My friend and I were absolutely busting a gut. ZOMGZROFLMAOBBQXYZLSMFT!!!!1!!eleventyone!!!! I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.

    OK, so he isn’t the lightest guy on his feet. He put in a lot of practice, and he went out there and had fun with it. I hope he gets enough votes to stick around for a while.

    And yes, I would like to see Bruno do a card trick.

  26. Moose

    Tay. Dancing with the stars, Duh. 😉


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