Behind the Scenes with Piff the Magic Dragon
Ashleigh Prince spoke with Piff the Magic Dragon from Piff the Magic Dragon & Puddles Pity Party: Misery Loves Company Tour about how his favorite magic tricks, his Vegas show, America’s Got Talent, his dog Mr. Piffles and more! Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Tune in to Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz on WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Ashleigh: Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to Behind the Scenes at The Hanover Theatre. Today, we are talking to the lean green magic machine, the wizard of lizards, the Godzilla of magic, Piff the Magic Dragon. Welcome, Piff!
Piff: Hello, how are you doing?
Ashleigh: I’m doing fantastic. We are getting ready for the Misery Loves Company Tour coming to The Hanover Theatre on September 28, and we couldn’t wait to talk to you. I know that you’re sharing the bill with Puddles Pity Party. I’m also a big fan of him, so I couldn’t wait to have
you on today.
Piff: Thanks for having us.
Ashleigh: Your last stop at The Hanover Theatre was in March 2019. I cannot believe it has been that long.
Piff: I know! We’ve had a whole pandemic since.
Ashleigh: It’s incredible. I was an intern in 2020 and we were gearing up for your return before everything shut down, so I am really excited to have you back on our main stage. I do know that you’ve recently dropped a new special on your YouTube channel titled “Reptile Dysfunction.” I think that everyone can look forward to some really fresh, new pieces of your show this year.
Piff: That’s right, we’re bringing a brand-new show to The Hanover Theatre and we had a great time last time. If people want to check out our YouTube channel, we’ve got a one hour special up there starring me and my long-lost father Pop the Magic Dragon, who’s played by Penn Jillette.
Ashleigh: Yeah, I did see that! I’m not going to lie, I was watching it before this interview and I am a huge fan of him as well. I know that you’ve interacted with Penn & Teller a few times, but would you say that Penn is one of your comedy/magic inspirations?
Piff: Yeah, for sure. Penn & Teller are the greatest in the business. I was on a TV show with them back in 2011 and since then, they’ve been mentors and best friends to me. They sort of adopted me in Las Vegas, so it’s been a great time getting to know them.
Ashleigh: You mentioned that you’ve been in Vegas for a while, and that you had a residency at the Flamingo, which is a great location. So, if someone had gone on their Vegas vacation and come back to Worcester, is there a difference between the show that they’ve seen and the show that’s coming here?
Piff: Yeah, we do a completely different show in Vegas so that if people see us in Vegas and we come to their town, they know that they’re going to see something different and vice versa.
Ashleigh: I think that one of the big differences is obviously Puddles. He is not a part of your residency, but how did you two meet? How did you cross paths?
Piff: We met during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and also touring Australia. We were both touring those places with our individual shows, and we just sort of became buddies over the years.
Ashleigh: Yeah, and because you’re both satin-adorned down-and-outers, I’m wondering if you also share a tailor.
Piff: We don’t! We have different tailors. Plus, I have actual dragon skin.
Ashleigh: Right. I would love to talk about your BFFs, Piffles and pimples and Jade Simone. I know that Jade has been your assistant for some time and Piffles has been a part of your act for a very long time. Let’s talk a little bit about how they became a part of your show!
Piff: Piffles has been in the show for 13 years. He’s a rescue dog who I found in Dundee, Scotland. I was doing my first Edinburgh show and I thought, “This show could do something extra. A dragon doing magic isn’t enough, it needs something extra. The girl who was running the venue had a chihuahua and we put her chihuahua in the show. It was such a big success and the next day, we went out and found Mr. Piffles. We’ve been together ever since.
Ashleigh: That’s a great story. So sweet!
Piff: Jade and I met in Las Vega before I went on “America’s Got Talent.” She was a really funny comedy performer. After I went on “America’s Got Talent,” I was touring all over the place, and she came with me and we started doing the show. Over the years, it’s sort of grown so that she’s my partner in the show.
Ashleigh: What do you look for in a magician’s assistant?
Piff: I think that you want somebody who can stand on their own. I want somebody who’s going to be a big part of the show and be a partner in the show.
Ashleigh: And, obviously, someone who won’t give away all of your secrets.
Ashleigh: In all of your time touring, have you noticed any differences between UK audiences and North American audiences?
Piff: The people in North America love magic. Whereas in the UK, they spend the time trying to figure it out.
Ashleigh: Right. I think I get caught up in the magic sometimes, where I’m looking too closely and trying to figure out all the tips and tricks, but I’m stumped every time.
Piff: Yeah! It’s a fun thing to just sit there and let it wash over you. Don’t get too obsessed with how it’s done.
Ashleigh: You’ve appeared on TV a few times, one being on “America’s Got Talent.” I’m curious, what was that experience like?
Piff: It was crazy because I was living in America at the time, but nobody knew who I was.
Mr. Piffles and I went on “America’s Got Talent” and six months later, everybody knew who we were, we could have our own show in Las Vegas and we could tour all over the place selling tickets. It changed my life.Piff the Magic Dragon
Ashleigh: What would you say is your favorite trick to perform live?
Piff: I don’t know, I got lots of different ones. In Las Vegas, somebody names any drink and Mr. Piffles makes it appear by peeing it. That’s my favorite moment.
Ashleigh: Will that be a part of the show coming up?
Piff: That’s in Vegas.
Ashleigh: Only in Vegas, and stays in Vegas. Besides magic, what do you do with your free time?
Piff: I play golf. Dragons love golf.
Ashleigh: Oh, interesting. Mini golf or actual golf?
Piff: Actual golf.
Ashleigh: Do you do that when you’re not busy touring, like before a show? Or while you’re traveling?
Piff: No, we can’t do on the road, sadly. We don’t have enough time on the road. So stop Vegas related activity. When we’re touring, we’re mostly trying to get from one venue to the next, set up the show, do the show and then pack it down.
Ashleigh: Do you ever find yourself running into fellow magicians or people that you’ve worked with before on tour?
Piff: No, they tend to come through Vegas. We see a lot of fellow magicians in Vegas.
Ashleigh: Well, we’ll have the tour here and then I’ll have to take a trip down back to Vegas and check everybody out once again, which would be exciting on its own. So, I have a question for you and it’s a little out there. People on the internet are talking about, if they could go back in time and present a Pilgrim child with rap music or with sour candy for the first time, what would happen? If you were put in that scenario, do you have a trick that you would do for that person to blow their mind?
Piff: Yeah, I’d do a magic trick and they’d think I was some sort of dragon God. I would have a bunch of worshipers and I could start a new religion.
Ashleigh: That’s an interesting take, I wasn’t expecting that. Hey, that makes sense. It’s a sound plan.
Piff: In that case, let’s get back in time.
Ashleigh: We’ll work on that time machine ASAP. Now, back to Puddles. With the show, is there any overlap? I know that Puddles‘ whole thing is his velvety voice and his wonderful music. Do you two interact at all throughout the show?
Piff: Yeah, we sort of pop up in each other’s sets. At the end of the show, we do a trick together.
Puddles and I pop up in each other’s sets. At the end of the show, we do a trick together.Piff the Magic Dragon
Ashleigh: That sounds great. We’re just a few weeks away! Do you have any parting words for audiences today that are excited to see you on September 28?
Piff: I’m looking forward to coming back. The last time we came to The Hanover Theatre, someone brought a pig.
Ashleigh: Oh, I don’t remember that.
Piff: They bought a pig, and the pig hung out backstage and ate Cheerios. Who knows what will happen next?
Ashleigh: Who knows? There’s always something to look forward to here at The Hanover Theatre, and our audiences cannot wait to see you again. Everyone, if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, head to TheHanoverTheatre.org and get yours today, you do not want to miss this! Thank you so much, Piff, for joining us on Behind the Scenes at The Hanover Theatre.
Piff: Thanks so much!