Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

Season 3 Episode 1


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Apr 25, 2005 on Showtime
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Episode Summary

This episode examines the historical, religious, medical and ethical arguments associated with circumcision. Special guest experts include: Mark Reiss: Himself- Vice President, Doctors Opposing Circumcision Shmuel Boteach: Himself - Rabbi, author William Stowell: Himself - Restored foreskin recipient Marilyn Fayre Milos: Herself - RN, Executive Director of NOCIRC J. Steven Svoboda: Himself - Attorney's for the Rights of the Child Dr. Paul Fleiss: Himself - Pediatrician and Author Dr. Edgar Schoen: Himself - Expert in Infant Circumcision R. Wayne Griffiths: Himself - Cofounder and Executive Director of National Organization of Restoring Men Lynda Otis: Herself - NOCIRC of Solano County, California Dr. Elizabeth Lyster: Herself - OB/GYN Yvonne K. Fulbright: Herself - Sexologist and Authormoreless

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  • Roundhead or Cavalier?

    Foreskins. I am the proud owner of one, which has, to date, never given me any problems, i.e. no zipper jams. Beyond having one I’ve never given the subject a great deal of thought. I live in the UK, where circumcision is much less common than the US. I recall a classmate being teased in the showers after P.E. (Phys Ed) about being circumcised and I had an American girlfriend who had never encountered one before mine. I had always been led to believe that the act of circumcision was an essential part of the Jewish faith, was cleaner and healthier for the penis that the foreskin was non-essential and that the procedure was relatively painless. So to say I was a less than prepared for what was to follow in this episode of Bullsh** is no understatement. In my opinion the footage of the circumcisions being performed, is probably the most shocking thing I have ever witnessed. The practise was revealed to be nothing more than a barbaric form of mutilation with absolutely no benefits for the patient, except from a certain aesthetic point of view. The selfishness of people will never cease to amaze, pushing their opinions on babies, who couldn’t possible know any better. People are not allowed the privilege of voting until they are of a suitable age, where it is reasonable to assume that the individual can make an intelligent informed choice from the information presented to them. Why then are children not left intact to make this same choice about their own bodies until they are at least old enough to comprehend the pros and cons of the decision. Then again if some parents don’t give children opportunities to decide what religion to follow, if any at all, or whether vegan/ vegetarianism is really for them how can we expect them to let a child see if he’d prefer a turtleneck for his little fella or not. A bit of a reach I know, comparing a religious life to a meat-free one, but come on it’s not their body it’s mine or your or his. And as the facts all appear to be misnomers in that it’s not an essential part of Judaism, it’s not actually cleaner, it’s does serve a purpose and is, clearly, an excruciatingly painful procedure. So from Joey’s fake one in Friends to the Bris in Seinfeld my view on the humble foreskin, now fully informed, is that it’s a keeper. If you want it off in your adult life then more power to you and less boners, at least until the wound is healed. Long live King Charles!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Jokes you might've missed: As Penn delivers the final monologue, Teller throws a Bible offscreen that ends up impaled on the bull's horn. Near the end of the monologue, he takes the Bible and positions it in front of his pants while a zipping sound is heard...

    • First episode to utilize the prop of a fake black bull with red horns. The prop would be reused at during many future episodes.

  • QUOTES (20)

    • Dr. Fleiss: I've done hundreds of circumcisions and I regret every one.

    • Penn: [on smegma] If you don't like that kinda...collection hanging off your d*nger, if it's not the kinda lubrication you want, you just...wash it off with a little soap and water. We're in AMERICA, not some gutter on the poor side of Calcutta! We don't have to wash our c*cks with sand...unless we wanna! Today's soap is soft, it fights bacteria, and smells like spring rain in Ireland...or so we're told. tough do you think it is to get a kid to rub his c*ck in the shower?

    • Griffiths: [on restoring foreskin] It's not painful, I assure you! It's just fine. It looks horrible, huh?
      Penn: No, just sexy! Hell, hang one on each b*ll and you get one of these great Newtonian motion toys!

    • Penn: So why the F*CK are doctors and hospitals still encouraging circumcisions? Well, a foreskin is cut off...once every 26 seconds. At an average cost of 400 dollars, circumcision is a 400 million dollar a year industry.

    • Penn: We're using d*ck skin for cosmetics? That is so f*cking sexy! It's weird...but it is's weird...but sexy...but weird...but...okay, I rub my d*ck on your face and all the wrinkles disappear. I like that.

    • Penn: Our foreskin funeral got us thinking...what the hell happens to the 1 million foreskins cut off every year. To find out we conducted a 60 Minutes-style thorough investigation...meaning we spent five minutes on it. We called a few hospitals we found in the Yellow Pages.

    • Penn: And yet the Demon Barber of C*ck Street remains unconvinced. To him, an intact foreskin is nothing but a...sweater on a dog! He's even written poetry about it!
      Dr. Schoen: It's a great work of art/like a statue of Venus/if you're wearing a hat/on the head of your penis.
      Penn: We have our own world-famous poet...Ron Jeremy!
      Jeremy: [clears throat] Doc Schoen thinks he's a great doc/as he tirelessly works round the clock./He preaches a tip/and takes only a snip/as he lops off the end of your c*ck.

    • Penn: Here's what the American Academy of Pediatrics actually has to say: "The benefits are not recommend that all infant boys be circumcised", adding "It's the most brutal thing I've ever seen in my life!"...okay, they didn't say that last part, but remember Linda? She did! (cut to prior clip of her saying it)

    • Penn: We're all cutting off our babies' d*cks because Tony the Tiger's DAD said we should!

    • Fulbright: It was seen as...if you masturbated, then that took away from your love for God and for Christ.
      Penn: It sure worked for me!

    • Penn: Imagine for a second that we live in a world where circumcision isn't the norm. What happens to people that do that to a baby? How long do they spend in prison for just downloading PICTURES of that operation? How different is circumcision from female genital mutilation, you know, where tribes chop off the clitoris and snip the labia of young girls as they're..."welcomed" to womanhood? The UN and Amnesty International are fighting that as a f*cking human rights violation in Africa and the Middle East! (A photo of said procedure's aftermath has appeared behind Penn. He turns to look at it and immediately looks away in disgust)

    • Penn: (during video of baby before a circumcision) Goochie Goochie Goochie Goo! Little baby! It's not the most brutal thing in the world...awwwww he's about to fall asleep!
      Dr. Reiss: When they're falling asleep what they're really doing is going into a state of neurogenic shock.
      Penn: F*CK!

    • Penn: [on the biblical origins of circumcision] So, cut off your d*ck and be God's friend. I hate to see how the almighty treats his enemies. Oh, right...they uh...they burn in Hell forever.

    • Dr. Schoen: There are significant medical advantages to newborn circumcision. The most important is prevention of severe urinary-tract infections.
      Penn: F*CK! I have a urinary tract! And I use it!

    • Dr. Lyster: So with this clamp, used correctly, there's zero chance of hurting the baby's penis.
      Penn: Now when she says "hurt", she's NOT referring to the pain of having a chunk of your D*CK lopped off, she means the decorative result will be pleasing. So pleasing, in fact, that the penis who's married to Dr. Lyster has been altered to match her fashion sense. Russell Lyster was circumcised 7 years ago.
      R. Lyster: The reason I was circumcised was because I had converted my religion. I had converted to Judaism.
      Penn: No, Dr. Lyster didn't cut off her husband's foreskin...just his balls.

    • Dr. Schoen: Even though the infant feels this pain, it recovers very quickly.
      Penn: Oh, that's a relief. Seemed like that little baby was crying his a** off...LIKE SOMEBODY JUST CUT OFF THE HEAD OF HIS C*CK!

    • Penn: [on Edgar Schoen] Oh, it's tough not to make fun of that bow tie. But, HEY! We are here to make d*ck jokes!

    • Penn: Now, I wanted to do an a**load of d*ck jokes, but Teller wanted to take the high road. We compromised. We'll be tasteful, work for truth and justice, and do an a**load of d*ck jokes!

    • Dr. Lyster: This is the tray that I use. These are the soft foam rubber straps, and I secure the baby's legs, so that he doesn't move or twist, while I'm doing the procedure.
      Penn: And what about the arms?
      Dr. Lyster: I don't need to secure the arms.
      Penn: Because babies can't punch. Even if he could, she's got the reach on him AND a knife! Where is Amnesty International? Oh, I guess it's NOT a human rights violation because the straps are soft!

    • Penn: Since random people on the street didn't know dick about dick, we turned to the father of foreskin. A Pediatrician, who's cut more wieners than Oscar Meyer.

  • NOTES (0)