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Photos: Piff the Magic Dragon celebrates first anniversary at The Flamingo

Piff the Magic Dragon is content to keep saving his paychecks and wait until he can buy The Excalibur from MGM Resorts. He wants to turn it into a Disney theme park to be known as Dragonland.

“It really only needs a bulldozer for a little work,” Piff told me Wednesday when he celebrated the first anniversary of his show at The Flamingo. “It already has the Knights of the Round Table.”

Piff assured me that he’s not joking and is ready to meet with MGM chief Jim Murren to discuss a deal. “I’ve already got plans and renderings of how Excalibur would become Dragonland,” he added.

Piff, birth name John van der Put, is a British magician who was a standout star on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us” after losing in the finals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” “You are remembered for losing, not for winning.

“Now the $1 million grand prize would have gone a long way to helping me buy The Excalibur, but I’m still on the Strip celebrating my first anniversary, and we’ve seen some AGT winners not last nearly as long as me,” he said.

To meet ticket demand, Piff has added Thanksgiving and December shows to his three-nights-a-week schedule. His sidekicks, gorgeous showgirl Jade and his Chihuahua Mr. Piffles, assist him in his Monty Python humor show. They perform on tour and at corporate events the other four nights of the week in America and Canada.

“Hurricane Matthew has upset our weekend Florida engagements. We’ve had to rearrange flights and hope we can still get onto the west coast of Florida for our bookings. We’ve been doing record numbers. It’s amazing, and I’m saving every penny to go toward The Excalibur,” he said.

For the first time, Piff revealed that he found his dragon suit under his sister’s bed, and she encouraged him to wear it to a costume party. “However, I was the only one who showed up in a costume. Typically British.

“It was such a hit that I decided to wear it all the time. My magic was horrible. Audiences ridiculed me, but once I became Piff the Magic Dragon, everything changed. They loved me. They loved the magic, and I went from being a nobody to being the loser on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.”

At the first-anniversary show, Piff baffled the standing-room audience with his tricks, especially the three cards he pulled out of the canned food for Mr. Piffles. Also, a trick where a toaster nearly caught fire burned two slices of bread with the denomination and suit from a deck of playing cards picked by an audience member. It also won him a standing ovation.

It is brilliant, oddball, sardonic, sarcastic British humor at its best. Why a magic dragon would become a celebrity is still beyond me, as are the magic tricks. If he gets to buy The Excalibur from MGM, it will be the ultimate illusion.

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