Shin Lim is a sleight of hand magician with an inspiring story. He’s won America’s Got Talent more than once, but how did he fare on Penn & Teller: Fool Us? Let’s find out.
From Early Beginnings
Lim started his magic career at a very young age. Inspired by David Blaine, he decided to pursue magic as a career in his early 20s. He refined his tricks on Youtube and traveled the world to perfect this craft. He did this all with carpal tunnel syndrome by the way. Here’s his oldest video on Lim’s official YouTube channel.
It’s fun to look back on folks before they perfect their craft. In this video, Lim left the comment “no gimmicks. Completely impromptu. Will take some practice and guts though.” It would take many more years of practice, but it’s more than paid off.
Lim’s career took off in earnest in 2015. He won a close-up card magic world Championship, and a few producers for Penn & Teller: Fool Us happened to catch his magic. He soon got the opportunity to fool legendary magicians Penn Jillette and Teller. This was season two of the series, back when Jonathan Ross was still the host.
Lim presented his unique fare of sleight of hand for the hosts. His appearance went viral, and has over 70 million views to date. Lim later said this appearance is what made him believe, “OK, maybe magic’s pretty special.” Check it out.
Jillette extols Lim’s virtue. He says the use of smoke was “sincerely beautiful,” and he “felt it was perfect.” He fooled them, and his career took off from there.
P&T To ‘AGT’
This appearance on Fool Us immediately led to a phone call from America’s Got Talent. He said, “Right after that, AGT contacted me. I’d always had AGT in the back of my head. When Mat Franco won, I said, “Whoa, magicians can win, too.” But I didn’t want to compete just yet because all I had was one act. So I didn’t audition.” It wasn’t until a subsequent appearance on Penn & Teller in 2017 did he think he was ready for the talent show.
Lim didn’t think he could win, but win he did. A few years later, the show brought him back for America’s Got Talent: The Champions, and he won again. Everything else, from tours and The Tonight Show, is history.