Early this July, Newfoundland will be invaded by a magical dragon. Not quite the fire-breathing, knight slaying kind, but the kind that can do card tricks
Magician and comedian Piff the Magic Dragon, known for his appearances on America’s Got Talent and Penn & Teller: Fool Us, along with his Chihuahua Mr. Piffles will be doing three shows across Newfoundland. The Newfoundland Herald had a chance to speak to Piff about his upcoming shows, but he didn’t speak to who he was expecting.
‘This is a new low’
Our Managing Editor was otherwise engaged the day we connected, so she assigned me, the intern, to the job.
“Sorry Pam couldn’t be in here today,” I said.
“Well I just hope you can fill the shoes,” said The Dragon on the other end of the line.
“I’m the intern, so we’ll see how well I do,” I said.
“Oh my God,” Piff said, in mock disappointment.
“Yeah, I’m sorry about that,” I answered apologetically.
“This is a new low,” replied Piff.
“I’ll try to fill in her shoes, anyway,” I said.
“Every time you ask a terrible question, I’ll say ‘Pam would have done better,’” replied The Magic Dragon.
This style of deadpan humour is par for the course for Piff, whose trademark delivery and sense of humour separated him from much of the competition during his time on America’s Got Talent, and eventually landed him a residence at The Flamingo in Las Vegas.
The Magic Dragon also has a human alias, John van der Put, but he apparently has come to prefer to go by Piff.
“Everyone calls me Piff now, and here’s why: Because there’s a ton of people called John. When I go to a theatre usually I walk in and like, when people are saying, ‘John!’ I would always get confused. But now you can just call me Piff, and then when I call people it’s much easier,” said Piff.
Speaking about his stage partner, Mr. Piffles, Piff revealed he has had him around for a while, and that he is an essential part of his act.
“He’s a rescue dog — it’s, uh… cheaper — and I got him from Dundee in Scotland in 2009. In August 2009, and he was about a year and a half when I had him, and he’s healthy. He’s eleven and a half.”
And just why did he need a chihuahua for his act, we wondered. According to Piff, it started out as a bit for his show.
“I thought the show needed a gimmick,” he said. “I saw him and he was like, so pathetic. He wasn’t very well treated and I thought, ‘Okay, the worst thing that happens is I get him. Even if he doesn’t get to be suitable for the show, I can find him a much better home than the one that he was in.’ So I just thought, ‘Well I’ll give it a go and see what happens.’ It took like at least a year, but after a year he just turned to this amazing show business dog, and he just looks amazing. Whenever the camera’s on him, he knows exactly where to look. He falls asleep on stage. He’s incredible, he’s a legend.”
Click here for tickets to see Piff the Magic Dragon in St. John’s, Corner Brook or Gander! For our complete interview with Piff the Magic Dragon pick up our July 7-13 issue of The Newfoundland Herald, on stands beginning July 1st!