SA magicians Brendon Peel and Li Lau make history in Vegas after tricking some of the best in the business

Brendon Peel and Li Lau were the first African duo to “fool” world-famous magicians Penn and Teller. Supplied image.

Brendon Peel and Li Lau were the first African duo to “fool” world-famous magicians Penn and Teller. Supplied image.

Published Feb 21, 2024


Brendon Peel and Li Lau’s line of work sees them being accustomed to trickery of various kinds.

They have both garnered success as individual acts, with Peel conducting mentalism, traditional magic and illusion, while Lau largely does bizarre magic, escapes and sideshow acts.

The duo managed to bamboozle some of the best in the game during an extraordinary Las Vegas magic show, which was aired in the US this weekend.

The pair beat world-famous magician duo Penn and Teller at their own game.

They were the first African duo to achieve the monumental feat, as the magician success rate on the show is said to only be around 10 to 15%.

Peel and Lau’s antics played out during the hit US reality show, “Penn & Teller: Fool Us”, where aspiring magicians from all over the world are invited to perform their best tricks to try and fool the acclaimed magician hosts.

Magicians Brendon Peel and Li Lau on stage. Supplied image.

And if the two are unable to guess how the trick was done, the “fooler” gets to be on their Las Vegas magic show.

Peel and Lau were successful in tricking the American comedy-magicians, whose real names are Raymond Teller and Penn Jillette.

This made them the first Africans to compete against Penn and Teller as well as the only duo from the continent to win the challenge.

Their success will see them head to Las Vegas where they will perform for a limited run alongside Penn and Teller in their hit long-running live show at The Rio Hotel and Casino.

The pair are over the moon after their win. While they were confident in their abilities, they are shocked that they managed to fool the magicians whom they have always admired.

“It was surreal. To this day, it genuinely still seems like a dream. My face in the video says it all,” Peel said.

Lau expressed similar sentiments, adding that he was “shocked to the point of speechlessness”.

“I knew we had an amazing stunt and knew it would be a great one to perform on the Las Vegas stage, but we were, in essence, performing it before idols of ours and these guys have been in the business for decades; their accumulated magical knowledge is vast,” he said.

“So, to fool them came as a huge surprise and shock and I'm sure the expression on my face in the footage speaks volumes as to what I was feeling at the time when they told us we fooled them.”

And it was not just the Gqeberha-born entertainers whose jaws fell to the floor when the esteemed Penn and Teller were left bamboozled on their show.

The hosts and audience were also left visibly shocked.

Apart from managing to trick their idols, Peel and Lau said that being given the opportunity to meet them was “almost as amazing as winning”.

“Any magician in the world would have to perform on ‘Penn and Teller Fool Us’ as a bucket list item and for us, it's like the Oscars of magic,” they said.

“Both Penn and Teller were amazing to chat to and both have an undying passion for promoting the art of magic and illusion around the world. It was an honour and a privilege to meet them,” they said.

While bamboozling the US comedy magicians is one of Peel and Lau’s greatest career achievements, their status as magicians has been elevated over the years following a range of impressive honours.

Brendon Peel and Li Lau were the first African duo to ‘fool’ the world-famous magicians Penn and Teller. Supplied image.

“We each have our different styles of magic, which is one of the reasons why our partnership works so well. We are different and offer different aspects of magic,” said Lau.

The pair who met in 2015 and bonded around being the only two magic acts in Gqeberah at the time, have since gone on to win various awards as a duo.

They have also been contracted as magic and illusion consultants on a brand-new Amazon Prime TV show, “In Your Dreams”.

They were also the 2020 Standard Bank Ovation Award Winners for “Magic of Sideshow” and have been featured on “Britain's Got Talent”, where they wowed Simon Cowell, and made it to the finals of “Got Talent All Stars Global Edition”.