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‘Quite stressful’: Piff the Magic Dragon earns U.S. citizenship

He’s now “Citizen Piff.”

We salute John van der Put, a Las Vegas success story living the American dream. We know him on stage as Piff The Magic Dragon at the Flamingo.

The satin-costumed, comic-magician was sworn in as a U.S. citizen on Friday at the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services office in Las Vegas.

Taking exams is not atop Piff’s skill set.

“You are asked 10 questions about American history and need to get seven right,” Van der Put said Saturday. “There is a reason I am a magic dragon. I’m not good at tests.”

Would-be citizens are asked what does the president’s cabinet do, who signs bills, and name at least three of the original 13 U.S. colonies.

On Friday, poor-testing Piff was breathing fire. He got the first seven right, and was home (of the brave) free.

“I didn’t need to bother with the next three,” said the proud American.

With showgirl Jade Simone and venerable chihuahua Mr. Piffles at his side, Van der Put’s Piff persona is a phenomenon. The character ascended from a side act in “Vegas Nocturne” at the Cosmopolitan 10 years ago, to a residency production at Flamingo Showroom, at least through the end of this year.

Van der Put described the citizenship exam as “quite stressful” though he did ace the test.

“It’s basically a guy sitting behind a screen, deciding whether you are going to be an American citizen or not,” said Van der Put, a London native and top-10 finalist on “America’s Got Talent” in 2015. “I’m not going to say if any free tickets were involved, but it cost me a fortune in merchandise.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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