It's been a remarkable year for John van der Put.

Better known by the moniker Piff the Magic Dragon, van der Put has gone from relative obscurity to a household name in the US after auditioning for America's Got Talent.

The comedy magician impressed judge Neil Patrick Harris so much during his audition that the How I Met Your Mother star automatically put him through to the live stages of the US talent show.

His mind blowing magic tricks and deadpan delivery have now secured his place in the show's semi-finals.

However, van der Put believes his real secret weapon is his sidekick, a chihuahua in a dragon costume called Mr Piffles.

He said: "I'm very surprised at how well I've been received on America's Got Talent but having a tiny dog helped.

"I decided to apply for the show because I got stranded in the US with a green card and nowhere to go so I thought they should at least know who I am."

Despite his obvious talents, van der Put believes he needs to include comedy in his act to get taken seriously.

He said: "I went down the comedy route because, in this day and age, performing magic seriously is a difficult option. You’re either a conman or a fraudster. Comedy helps diffuse the lie."

Van der Put's act has now won him an army of fans worldwide.

However, the Londoner, who was inspired by Jerry Sadowitz, says he decided to apply for America's Got Talent, rather than its UK equivalent, because he felt it was a better fit for his act.

He said: "I went for the American version partly because I live in the US now but also because Howard Stern and Howie Mendel are the perfect judges for me and Mel and Heidi are perfect princesses."

Van der Put, who appeared on the cover of Mumford and Sons second album Babel, started working in IT before moving into magic. He is a member of The Magic Circle and one of the youngest people to lecture at the Circle.

However, he says the creation of his popular dragon based act was serendipity.

He said: "I went to a fancy dress party dressed as a dragon and no-one else arrived in costume. As I was grumpily sipping red wine in the corner, a friend suggested I should do this in my act. You could be Puff the Magic Dragon she said and a lightbulb went on."

Van der Put's magic is now in high demand and he admits he has even sold one of his card tricks to American illusionist David Blane, who inquired about buying it after Piff performed it on America's Got Talent.

He said: "It's the trick I performed on Penn & Teller: Fool Us and America's Got Talent. Why did I sell it to him? Because he had money."

Following his success in America, van der Put, who has appeared on numerous US television shows including Penn and Teller: Fool Me, has now returned to Edinburgh to perform his new show, Breakfast at Piffany's, at the Fringe.

He said: "It's part magic show, part game show, part cry for help. I'm going to split the audience into teams to fight for points and prizes, and along the way they'll witness incredible magic tricks, delicious snacks, surprise special guests and epic thumb wars.

"When I'm writing a show I usually have a bunch of tricks I want to do and I try to find some way to connect them all together.

"A lot of magic tricks are inspired by things that happen in my life. For example, when I lived in London, Mr Piffles used to get covered in mud whenever it rained so I did a trick where I laminated him to keep him clean."

Van der Put, who holds the record for the highest box office takings at the Fringe for a single night, says he's delighted to be back in the Scottish capital.

He said: "I love the fact that you can arrive at the Fringe unknown and word of mouth will find you a crowd. The first year we spent a long time flyering in the rain but we got a crowd and every day it grew. By the time we finished we were sold out every day.

"That's the thing with the Scottish crowds, if they like you they really like you. If they don't, you're in trouble.

"These days I tend to leave the promotion to other people and focus on the part I love most, performing the show.

"Show business is sometimes 96% business and 4% show. Edinburgh is a chance for me just to worry about the show."

Piff the Magic Dragon will perform at Underbelly's Circus Hub on the Meadows from August 18-29.