Comedy and Magic Come to South Florida with ‘Piff the Magic Dragon’

AVON PARK, Fla. – Since breaking out on “America’s Got Talent” in 2015, Piff the Magic Dragon has won the heart of America through his Vegas residency, network television appearances, and nonstop touring. Piff is scheduled to perform at the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts on the Highlands Campus of South Florida State College in Avon Park on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.

“Looking at our audience surveys, there is a high interest in comedy and magic, and South Florida State College is thrilled to bring Piff and Mr. Piffles to our community,” said Cindy Garren, director of cultural programs.

For the past five years, Piff has headlined the iconic Flamingo Hotel and Casino in the heart of the Las Vegas strip, with over 250 shows a year in the Piff the Magic Dragon Theatre. In 2020, Piff was crowned the winner of TBS’ “Tournament of Laughs,” triumphing over Jeff Ross, Natasha Leggero, and Judah Friedlander. In 2019, he was voted one of Variety’s Top 10 Comics to Watch and scooped up Best Comedian, Best Magician, and Best Headliner at the Best of Las Vegas Awards.

Before arriving in Las Vegas, Piff became a viral sensation on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” had eight sellout seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, two in the West End, and opened for Mumford & Sons, playing to 150,000 people on tour.

John Van der Put (aka Piff) grew up in South London and he was inspired to become a magician after seeing a BBC television program. At age 18, he became the youngest member of The Magic Circle which is the world’s largest magic society. Members include David Copperfield, Criss Angel, and Jonathan Pendragon. At the beginning of his career, Piff met and adopted a chihuahua, which he named Mr. Piffles, from a shelter. Mr. Piffles was added to the act which led to multiple successful shows. According to Piff, “He is a natural.”

In May 2015, Piff appeared on the 10th season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” His audition was unanimously selected for the Judge Cuts round. In that round, a signed card reappeared in a sealed dog food can, with special guest judge Neil Patrick Harris using his Golden Buzzer to send Piff straight to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, three hanging boxes selected by judge Howie Mandel were violently destroyed, while the fourth unselected box was revealed to contain Mr. Piffles. This received sufficient votes to send him to the semifinals, where his revelations of three selected cards earned him standing ovations from judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel, and sufficient votes for the final round. That week’s act, which involved firing Mr. Piffles from a cannon and the reappearance of a signed bill inside a walnut, did not receive enough votes for him to win, and instead placed him in the Top 10. He returned as a guest performer on AGT’s 2016 “America’s Got Talent Holiday Spectacular” and in 2017 during Season 12.

A Piff Private Party is offered to a limited number of guests for $50. Each guest receives a laminate and lanyard; wristband; signed poster; photo with Piff, Mr. Piffles, or Jade; opportunity to record a shout-out video to one person of choice from Piff; a chance to win a stuffed Mr. Piffles; and a 1-on-1 magic trick. Piff’s Private Party begins at 6 p.m., prior to the show.

Tickets for this performance, which is for mature audiences, are $45, $40, $36, and $32 plus a $3 processing fee per ticket. “SFSC Performing Arts offers big city entertainment, but with small town prices,” added Garren. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 863-784-7178, or by visiting the SFSC Box Office at 600 West College Drive in Avon Park.

Upcoming performances include: the international and Broadway dance sensation Forever Tango on Feb. 22; Christian comedian Tim Lovelace on Feb. 25; The Official Johnny Cash Concert Experience on Feb. 29; Ricky Nelson Remembered with Matthew and Gunnar Nelson on March 4, the Broadway tour of Little Women on March 6; and former lead singer of Journey, Steve Augeri on March 28.

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