This is not a puff piece: A Q&A with Piff the Magic Dragon ahead of his Nov. 1 Tulsa show – tulsapeople.com
Clear skies. Low 46F. Winds light and variable..
Clear skies. Low 46F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: October 26, 2022 @ 9:04 pm
John van der Put may not be a name you initially recognize, but his mesmerizing alter ego Piff the Magic Dragon has become a household sensation since appearing on season 10 of “America’s Got Talent” in 2015.
Amid his regular routine at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, Piff, the 42-year-old standup comedian-magician, has set out on tour with his best mate Mr. Piffles, the magical Chihuahua. Accompanying Piff’s tour is his co-headliner Puddles Pity Party. The sad singing clown received his own spotlight on “America’s Got Talent” during season 12.
With an up-and-coming show on Nov. 1 at the Cox Business Convention Center, Piff took the time to chat about what his mystical journey has been like through the years.
When did you realize being a stand-up comedian and performer was your calling?
When I kept getting fired from all my other jobs for having a resting grumpy face, I began to realize it was either show business or bankruptcy. Then my sister gave me a dragon outfit for a costume party one night. I arrived and no one else was in costume. Finally, I was appropriately grumpy for once. Someone told me I should do this in my act. I could be Puff the Magic Dragon. Wait, I replied, I could be Piff the Magic Dragon. You might have heard of my older brother? Steve. Luckily it was a hit from day one. After all who doesn’t love a grump in a dragon suit?
What has it been like working with Puddles Pity Party? How does your dynamic complement your co-headliner and vice versa?
First of all, I’m used to sharing the limelight. I appear nightly with Mr. Piffles, a Magic Performing Chihuahua who steals the hearts of every audience member out there. Sometimes people don’t realize I’m even in the act. They just think I’m there to carry the dog. So, it will be nice to have some company while I’m being overshadowed. I love Puddles. He has the voice of an angel and the stature of a mountain. We’re pretty opposite — I’m short, he’s a giant; he’s silent, I never shut up. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that Misery Loves Company, and this tour has been working out pretty well so far.
Have you ever been to Tulsa before?
Yes, we played the Hard Rock in July 2018. We loved it and would have been back sooner if it weren’t for a global pandemic. We’re very much looking forward to being reunited with our Tulsa fans. It’s been too long!
What can people expect going into your performance at the Cox Business Convention Center? What magic do you have up your sleeve to dazzle and delight people’s eager eyes?
Well, if you like what we did on “America’s Got Talent,” or “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” you’re going to love seeing us live. Mr. Piffles is a thousand times cuter in person, Jade Simone — the Showgirl with the Dragon To Do List, will be bringing the high kicks and jump splits, and I’ll be there with a brand new hour of new tricks, new jokes and even a new suit.
In the time you’ve been performing, what is one of your favorite memories from the stage?
Performing on stage with Pop the Magic Dragon aka Penn Jillette in his own custom-made dragon outfit. You can watch it on our first comedy special, “Reptile Dysfunction,” out now on our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/PifftheMagicDragon.
Have you dealt with hecklers in the past, and how do you handle those situations in a performance?
I’m a fire breathing mythical lizard wizard. I think people are too scared to speak up. Either that or they don’t want to upset Mr. Piffles.
When coming up with new jokes and material, how long does it usually take for a bit to stick on your magical mind?
Magic takes a long time to get right. Most of the tricks we’ve been working on for two years or more. The pandemic was no fun at all, but we did get a lot of stuff done.
What plans do you have for the future once your tour is concluded?
We’re heading back to Las Vegas where we will be performing Thursday through Monday at the Flamingo for 46 weeks of the year. Basically, living the magic dragon dream.
For those who would also like to experience this dream, Piff and Puddles performance will take place at the Cox Business Center on Nov 1. Tickets and more information available online at coxcentertulsa.com.
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