Talking With Donny Vomit



The Man and the Beer Label (photo by Laurie Leber)

The news coming out of Coney Island these days is enough to drive one to drink, so we suppose it’s lucky there’s a new lager in Shmaltz Brewing Company’s line of Coney Island sideshow-inspired brews. The latest is the Coney Island Human Blockhead, a strong lager with 10% alcohol content and six hops varieties.

It takes its name from sideshow performed Donny Vomit-The Human Blockhead. We talked with Donny about having a beer named after him, Coney Island, and hammering things into your head. Our conversation is after the jump.

I’ve never seen your act. Tell me about it.
For the past 4 years, I’ve been the host of the Coney Island sideshow. For my specific act, I hammer six inches of solid steel into my head and live to laugh and joke about it.

Where does the “vomit” in your name come from?
The name vomit was given to me early in my career by another performer who saw my act and said it made him want to vomit. It’s a catchy name, people seem to remember it.

Have you tasted your beer?
Yes, it’s quite unique. The’ve gone through quite a few batches. It’s a great beer. I’m very happy that it’s 10% alcohol. Everytime I talk to the brewers, it tends to get a little higher, which pleases me. If I’m going to have a beer with my name on it, it better get you hammered.

How would you describe the taste of the beer?
I’m really not that good at describing it. It’s been interesting, meeting the brewers, I’ve actually gotten an education in beers. It’s a beer that let’s you know you’re drinking a beer.

Did you taste different batches and give input?
I let the brewers do what they do, and they let me hammer nails into my face. I remember when they first came to me, they wanted to call it “the regurgitator.” But, it’s probably better they decided to call it Human Blockhead.

How do you think your beer tastes compared to the other Coney Island brews?
The cool thing about this line is that they’re all very unique.  I like mine because it’s a dark strong beer and that’s more to my taste. It’s tough as nails, that’s the tagline.

Have you ever performed your act under the influence?
No, of course not. Safety first in the sideshow world.

What’s the next act you’d like to learn?
Right now, I’m still mastering sword swallowing. I’ve been working on some other less traditional acts, and combos, like straight jackets, or balancing on things while wearing a straight jacket.

Does the “vomit” in your name have anything to do with something you tend to do if you drink too much?
No, the vomit has nothing to do with my drinking habits. It’s hard to hammer a nail into your head if you’re hungover.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 16, 2009

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