DeKALB – Comedian, magician and loser of “America’s Got Talent,” Piff the Magic Dragon killed it with a fantastic magic act before a crowd that nearly filled up the 1,450-seat Egyptian Theatre.
The act was a blend of comedy and magic that began 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St.
At the center of it all was John van der Put as Piff the Magic Dragon.
Piff’s stage persona combines childish humor with sophisticated humor; what results is a pompous English gentleman in a dragon suit who believes himself superior to the audience and, based on his magic, this belief is correct.
The magic acts performed were nothing short of amazing. For each act, Piff called on someone from the audience to participate, and the members chosen provided great comedic foils.
Piff would engage in comedic banter and, at times, roast members of the audience, but it was all in good fun.
Parts of the show included the destruction of Apple Watches, couples therapy and a young man’s birthday party, each magic trick proving funnier than the last.
Comedically, it was impossible to tell whether Piff was speaking memorized jokes or was making it up on the fly, which is the mark of a good comic.
All of his humor felt natural, and there was not a dull moment throughout the evening.
At one point, a bat got loose in the theater and people were screaming. However, Piff kept the night running smoothly with his quick witted humor and proceeded to make jokes about getting bit.
Eventually the bat disappeared, never to be seen again.
“God bless that bat, wherever you may fly,” Piff said.
Joining Piff throughout much of the show was dancer Jade Simone, who danced alongside Piff and assisted him throughout the night.
She was no typical assistant and had the clear, distinct personality of a dazzling show woman as she tried to deal with Piff’s grumpy demeanor.
Opening the show was fellow magic comedian Matt Donnelly: The Mind Noodler, who invited a member of the audience at the beginning of the show for a mind-bending magic act that had unimaginable levels of interconnection as different portions of he show came togehter for a satisfying payoff.
The act included shock collars, nuns and math, and it was beautifully insane.
Then, of course, there was Piff’s dog Mr. Piffles, who acted as Piff’s partner in crime for much of the evening.
He was adorable and was a source of canine-related humor. Piff made a joke about euthanizing Mr. Piffles, which got a dampened laugh from the crowd.
He told the audience to grow up and called attendees “snowflakes.” This kind of humor gave the show a comedic edge.
Part of Piff’s magic is that he is able to take shots at the audience, and the audience goes along with it.
This is because Piff’s humor comes from a desire to entertain people, not to belittle them, according to Piff himself. It’s clear from his performance that Piff loves doing what he does.
“I like making people laugh, and I also like doing magic,” Piff said. “Plus, the dog needs to eat.”
Piff the Magic Dragon has existed for a decade, and his humor and set ups have developed over that period of time, according to Piff.
The different elements, including Mr. Piffles and the dragon suit, were lightning in a bottle, and these strange elements come together perfectly.
The theater was full of patrons in both the main floor of the theater and the balcony, which is a testament to how much people enjoy the antics of Piff the Magic Dragon.
“I was too grumpy to do magic,” Piff said. “So, to do magic, I became a grumpy, magic dragon.”