Piff the Magic Dragon has made a name for himself in his appearances on “America’s Got Talent.”
He’s also made a name for a theater.
Piff let fly with a surprise announcement during his appearance on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent: Champions” on Monday night. He dropped this boomlet as he ran through his autobiography for judges Simon Cowell, Mel B., Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel.
“Before the finals, before the first audition, in 2013 Mr. Piffles and I moved to Las Vegas!” the dragon-costumed comic magician said, holding his similarly costumed canine sidekick. “I spent a year, looking for work! Nothing! The whole year! I applied for ‘America’s Got Talent,’ didn’t hear anything. I was about to give up, and the day before I went back to England, I get the call!”
Not mentioned in this recounting was Piff’s boffo run in 2014 as a side act in “Vegas Nocturne” at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where Matt and Angela Stabile learned of his act in the first place.
No matter. As anyone who has followed Piff’s career knows, he wound up in the finals of “AGT’s” Season 10 in 2015, losing out to ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. Thus, Piff was able and eager to use the slogan, “Loser of ‘America’s Got Talent’ ” as he took on a headlining residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas.
With the judges sitting rapt, Piff went on, “Mr. Piffles and I have been there, to this day, and they just renamed the theater the Piff The Magic Dragon Theater!”
Well, howdy. He wasn’t kidding. The showroom formerly known as Bugsy’s Cabaret, which is also home to X Burlesque in the Stabile Productions lineup, has been renamed and is about to have new signage slapped across the entrance.
The man whose legal name is John van der Put is suitably honored, saying, “I thank the Flamingo hotel and casino for having faith in my mythical reptile, and Stabile Productions for dealing with the diva-like demands of my co-star on a daily basis.”
Piff also added that he had to “fight and paw” the company from renaming the venue the Mr. Piffles Showroom.
Cowell praised Piff by conveying the important role the costumed comic played in promoting “AGT,” in Las Vegas and internationally.
Piff fell short of the championship, of course. Vegas-based daredevil act Deadly Games (formerly of “V — The Ultimate Variety Show”) earned Klum’s Golden Buzzer to advance into the finals, and Spainish singer Christina Ramos also moved on.
But Piff learned long ago that, for him, such “AGT” victories are beside the point. As Cowell told him, “Your story, you told beforehand, is everything we wanted the show to do. I want to thank you for something, for being one of the best ambassadors for this show, and to give people trust to come on the show. I owe you a lot.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found atreviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1on Instagram.