Nfld. & Labrador

Newfoundland through the eyes of a surly comedian in a green onesie? Meh, says Piff the Magic Dragon

You may know Piff the Magic Dragon's older brother — Steve?

Cod tongues are gross, says Piff the Magic Dragon

Piff and Mr. Piffles get ready to amaze CBC's Bailey White with their card tricks. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

Though dragon magicians are clearly superior to plain-old human magicians, Piff the Magic Dragon makes time for a few of them — especially Penn Jillette of famed duo Penn and Teller.

Jillette has family from Newfoundland and Piff — also known as British comedian John van der Putt — hit him up for advice on what to check out while he was on the island for a few shows.

"He told me all the sights to go to," Putt said from within a spiky green and red dragon onesie in CBC's On The Go studio.

His chihuahua, Mr. Piffles — an obvious sidekick choice for a magical dragon — slept standing on his back paws, his front paws resting on Putt's shiny green shoulder.

"I went to Signal Hill. Couldn't see anything. It was just foggy. Couldn't see more than three metres. Nothing to write home about."

He also sampled some local cuisine.

"I had cod tongues. They were disgusting! Why would you eat them?" he said. 

"That seems like the kind of thing you would give to a tourist and pretend like it was a delicacy. You're like, oh these cods are delicious, what are we going to do with all these cod tongues? Oh, we'll pass these off as a local delicacy!"

So says a man from the land of pork rinds, CBC's Bailey White fired back.

Piff vs. Celine Dion

But there is something Putt likes about Newfoundland: its audiences. The comedian is taking a break from his regular Piff the Magic Dragon shows at the Flamingo Casino in Las Vegas for three shows at the Arts and Culture centres in St. John's, Gander and Corner Brook this week.

After all, in Vegas, he's just some other spectacle, competing with major stars, he said.

"I can compete with Celine Dion!" he said.

And Canadians love him back, he said.

"You know why? Canadians — you've got the optimism of the Americans and the cynicism of the British in one package."

Putt joked that his shows are appropriate for kids, "as long as your children have been exposed to some terrible influences." Ultimately, he gives his shows a PG-13 rating.

"I'm not Barney."

Here's a sample of Putt's — er, Piff's — expert magician skills and sound effects.

Read more articles from Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from On The Go


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