Exclusive: Penn Jillette on Piff The Magic Dragon

A sneak peek at the foreword for Piff's new magic book (shared with Vanishing Inc's approval).

Exclusive: Penn Jillette on Piff The Magic Dragon
Penn Jillette & Piff

I saw Piff for the first time when he walked onto our stage to do our show Penn & Teller: Fool Us in the U.K. He opened with a dragon sneeze of fire, and then he did a baffling card trick. There’s a rule about comedy magicians—they aren’t funny, and they aren’t baffling. Piff is different. Piff had the audience screaming in laughter, and he fooled the pants off every one of them. It seemed we got lucky, and we guessed the method of his trick by the skin of our teeth. It seemed we beat him. Since Piff has become one of my best friends and one of my favorite magicians, we have relived that battle over and over, over decaffeinated espressos with carbonated-water backs. I’m no longer sure Teller and I really understood the method at the time, and I know as of this writing I don’t remember it. It would fool me today.

Piff officially lost the FU battle and won the war. After we joined the audience in Piff’s well-deserved standing ovation, the bookings started rolling in for him. He got so much attention from his YouTube clip from our show that he got booked on America’s Got Talent and moved to Vegas to do his act full-time at a casino. He kept rising through the ranks and is now at the top, doing his act in his own showroom at the legendary Flamingo. The same showroom that was home to Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight, Tom Jones, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Judy Garland, Ray Charles, Wayne Newton, Phyllis Diller, and James Brown! Piff, the hardest working dragon in magic.

I was proud to write a letter to U.S. Immigration giving my expert opinion that the United States of America didn’t have enough magic dragons and we should allow him work here. No way he’d be taking work away from any American magic dragons. Piff is the only magic-dragon member of the prestigious Magic Circle in England (where I am not allowed), and one of the youngest ever to lecture there (and that’s in people years, not dragon years). For years now he’s been part of the Penn & Teller brain trust and helps us design, create, and rehearse new tricks for our show. He’s now been on Fool Us a zillion times and there isn’t a family shindig at my home that he and Jade aren’t invited to. (And sometimes that means we must let Mr. Piffles come to our house even though I’m not a fan of dogs. I may be the only person who thinks that of the Piff/Jade/Piffles team, Piffles is not the most attractive. I am not alone in thinking that in that list, Piff is also not the most attractive. Piff is attractive, but have you seen Jade in her full outfit? Have you seen Jade out of her full outfit? Wow. But all that has nothing to do with the book.)

Piff is funny and you’ll see that on every page of this book. He can write. And Piff is a great magic thinker. Take off the dragon suit (and yes, just like his girlfriend, I’ve seen him out of the suit) and you have one of the best magic minds alive. He knows how to put together a trick. He knows how to fool. He knows how to make things practical. He knows how to slay (no offense) an audience. I’m telling you, Piff is the best.

I’m pouring it on kinda thick, but every word is true and from my heart. I love him like a son. And I do bear a striking resemblance to Pop the Magic Dragon, Piff’s freeloading, self-serving ne’er-do-well father. There is a show called Piff and Pop’s Magic Shoppe that will be touring soon, and you don’t want to miss it. This is the most famous father/son dragon duo. The same intergenerational reptilian magic duo that performed “Spectator’s Urine to Impossible Location” at the Genii Convention in Orlando on October 4, 2019. No one who was there will ever forget it. I was there, and I will never forget it.

Piff was kind enough to let us share this excerpt from his new book with One Ahead readers. If you'd like to learn more, follow this link to Buy Piff's book.