John van der Put is a magician and comedian from the UK much better known by his stage name as Piff the Magic Dragon. Piff has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, toured with Mumford and Sons, fooled Penn & Teller on television and charmed the United States on America’s Got Talent. Piff has held court for the last few years as a headlining act on the Vegas Strip at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Variety named Piff of the magazine’s 10 Comics to Watch in 2019, and in the summer of 2020, Piff won the inaugural TBS Tournament of Laughs competition. In the fall of 2020, the Flamingo moved Piff into its even bigger 800-seat theater, although he could only sell 20 percent of the tickets due to pandemic protocols. Over Zoom, Piff told me about all of the stages magicians have to go through before they even hit the stage, the economic barriers to entry and success for elite magicians, and how the other Vegas headliners made Piff feel welcome when he first arrived in America — plus how he paid them back by including them in his TV gigs. So let’s get to it!
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