I try to claim that I was friends with the genius Richard Feynman. He came to our show a few times and was very complimentary, and I had dinner with him a couple times, and we chatted on the phone several times. I\’d call him to get quick tutoring on physics so I could pretend to read his books.
No matter how much I want to brag, it\’s overstating it to call him a friend. I would never have called him to help me move a couch. I did, however, call him once to ask how we could score some liquid nitrogen for a Letterman spot we wanted to do. He was the only physicist I knew at the time. He explained patiently that he didn\’t know. He was a theoretical physicist and I needed a hands-on guy, but he\’d try to find one for me.
About a half-hour later a physics teacher from a community college in Brooklyn called me and said, \”I don\’t know what kind of practical joke this is, but a Nobel Prize-winning scientist just called me here at the community college, gave me this number, and told me to call Penn of Penn & Teller to help with a Letterman appearance.\”