The Lizardman | SPWC 2012
Interview by: Caroline Foran
Ahead of this year's Laya Healthcare Street Performance World Championship, we caught up with the freakiest act of all, the act with not one but TWO tongues, The Lizardman. His answers to our questions reveal more about him than any attempt at an intro would, so without further ado...
What in the HELL made you slit your tongue in two?
As much as I can understand how splitting my tongue in two makes no sense to some people, it is almost equally hard for me to understand why some people wouldn't want to split their tongue in two. It just seems right to me to have two tongues, it is a very basic thing in terms of who I am.
Rrrright. Did it hurt?
Of course it hurt, it was my tongue being burned in half by a biopsy laser and then sutured. I think this is probably the sticking point for most people, not the split tongue itself but the pain of the procedure. However, you can't let fear of pain run your life - lots of things hurt but they can be worthwhile. For instance, I hear that childbirth is very painful but people keep having babies. Instead of being consumed by a fear of pain you have look at the reward on the other side of it. For me, achieving my dream of having two tongues was well worth the discomfort.
So you're living the dream. Does it affect how you eat and other functions that involve your mouth?
Not much at all, I adapted very quickly without even trying and if I do encounter a difficulty I can simply hold the forks together and use them like one tongue again.
Must be weird to kiss you though?
That is probably better answered by the people I have kissed. It is definitely an attraction to some because of the unusual things I can do compared to a single tongue. For myself it is kind of cool that I can roll the forks over each other in my mouth and experience something akin to making out with myself.
Well that's handy. If you had to describe the type of street performer you are, where would you begin?
I wouldn't know where to begin - I typically perform in comedy clubs and bars rather than on the street but the show I do is very much like a street show taken inside. The SPWC is going to challenge me by making work outside during the day to (probably) sober audience and I enjoy taking up new challenges. As a cultural phenomenon, street performing doesn't often happen in the US like it does elsewhere in the world and as a result I started off working mostly in clubs. Many people who see my show tend to think I am a street performer come inside but the reality is the opposite. Now I will have a chance to see how I stack up against other acts from the around the world with a similar sensibility but different working pasts.
What's the best thing about being The Lizardman?
Living life on my own terms.
Strangest/best/worst reactions you've encountered on the streets?
The strangest thing is when people don't react, I have to wonder what their lives are like that they can be so nonchalant when encountering a lizardman on the street. The best reactions are when people are inspired by what I have done, it is a wonderful thing to be a positive experience for someone else simply by being yourself. The worst reactions are people who are rude - I can simply ignore the negative opinions but it really bothers when someone ignores basic courtesy like interrupting ongoing conversations, meals, etc. I understand that it is a strange, possibly once in a lifetime thing to see someone like me but that doesn't make it OK to be rude.
No it does not. When did you realise you could shove a scissors up your nose and not do serious damage?
After the first time I did it. Really there is no way to tell with a stunt until you do it, that being said there is plenty of research and planning beforehand but there is always still that moment of truth.
You must have had some near death experiences by now? Do tell..
Several but most of them have nothing to do with stunt work and performing as I am meticulous researcher and carefully train for those. I have been struck by cars as a pedestrian a couple times, been the victim of hit and run accidents while on my motorcycle, electrocuted twice, fallen from heights, etc. If anything I face more danger offstage from other people than I do from myself onstage.
That's mental. What were you like as a kid, did you always want to do this?
I had a painfully normal childhood and while I was always kind of drawn to the unusual it took me until I was about 18 or 19 to really see that this was the direction I wanted to go with my life.
What can we expect from your performance at this year's SPWC?
I hope to share some great sideshow acts, both old and new, with the audience and make them laugh all the while.
Is that a full body tattoo or just body paint that covers your body?
Everything on my body is real and permanent, including the tattoo work - I never use paint or make-up.
That must have hurt. Not as much as the tongue though. Or the eyebrows. What's going on there with them?
I have subdermal teflon implants on my skull over my eyes to create a horned ridge effect.
Subdermal teffy whatty?! Do you mind people calling you a freak?
I only take it as a compliment. To me, 'freak' is a title, it is a badge of honour that must be earned. I have devoted my life and put in a great deal of pain of suffering to become a freak.
Considering that you are pretty out there, what would you yourself consider to be freaky? What freaks YOU out?
Daytime television and the people who watch it.
And lastly, what does the future have in store for The Lizardman?
Maybe a street performance world championship? *tongues crossed* I don't try to look too far ahead right now, I am simply enjoying traveling the world and entertaining people, I'll keep doing that as long as I can.
For more information visit www.spwc.ie | Cork's Fitzgerald Park on the 14th and 15th of July | Dublin's Merrion Square from the 19th to the 22nd.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 3rd July 2012 | Theatre
This guy is an absolute loon!Posted 15:55 | Fri 6th Jul 2012
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