It was a night of America’s Got Talent fun at the Colosseum on Friday (March 30). Two popular acts from the US television program headlined Canada’s top theatre for an evening of comedy, magic tricks and ventriloquism.
While headliner Paul Zerdin certainly pleased the crowd with his skillful ventriloquist act, he didn’t stray far from material featured in his YouTube videos and America’s Got Talent program repertoire. It was a fun show with plenty of laughs, showing us he’s a master at the art.
Zerdin was at his best when he interacted with the audience and the shining moment was when he spoke to the crowd about what it’s like being a ventriloquist in the real world. After a fun bit about doing soundchecks with a delayed voice, he shared everyday experiences using his voice to shock people. In one act he told of an experience with a pregnant woman.
“I just couldn’t resist,” he said. “As she walked past, I said ‘Hey mommy, let me out.’ It’s fascinating to have things talk to us in real life, like Siri, Amazon and even talking elevators. I like going into an elevator that doesn’t talk and pretend it does. ‘Doors closing’, ‘Going up,’ ‘Get out fatty, you’re too heavy’.
As funny as Zerdin is by himself, his little puppet friends are certainly the stars of the show – and we got the two biggest of his four characters – Sam and Albert. Sam was a bit excited to be in Windsor and picked on a man named Cory in the front area of the stage for a little bit. In one of the best examples of his skills, Zerdin and Sam performed a version of Suzanne Vega’s hit song Tom’s Diner – together at the same time. Sam performed the do, do, do parts while Zerdin clicked the beats accordingly.
While some of Zerdin’s show seems to borrow a bit from Jeff Dunham and a couple others, it was a lot of fun to watch and original enough that no one seemed to care. He won America’s Got Talent for a reason – he’s funny, charming and a phenomenal ventriloquist.
On the other end of the spectrum, magician Piff The Magic Dragon had the crowd laughing, cheering and a bit surprised by his skills. Piff is a bit of an ass on stage – he’s obnoxious, proud and cocky, but somehow, it’s perfectly fine coming from a man in a dragon costume.
The card tricks surprisingly worked well in the 5,000-seat theatre. Cameras caught the action and even though several angles were filmed, it was nearly impossible to catch his slight-of-hand work. At one point he had several cards in the audience and called out their face values one at a time until everyone of them was identified, including ones that were signed and kept separate from the shuffling deck.
Mr. Piffles, his magic chihuahua pal who also wears a dragon costume, made a couple of appearances in the act, along with an extremely flexible Las Vegas showgirl. In one routine he asked for a personally signed $20 bill from someone in the audience. At the end of the rather cute dog routine, Piff stuck his hand in a can of dog food and pulled out the man’s autographed $20 bill.
Piff also appeared to dismember one of Mr. Piffles limbs at one point but assured the audience he would never actually do that to his beloved rescue dog in real life.
“I could only do that trick four times before I’d have to get a new dog,” he joked.
The magic is really only part of his show. Piff’s jokes are very fast, witty and topical and he clearly isn’t using tired comedic material that was developed months ago. He may have been a runner-up on America’s Got Talent, but here in Windsor, he magically stole the show.