The Great Nippulini -
Q. Your act is a pretty unique one. What made you decide
to try and lift something with your nipples that first time?
I'd seen the pierced
weightlifting act done in a video. The act looked a little too
mild in my opinion. I figured it was faked after my father (of
all people) dared me to hang a 2lb key chain from my nipple. At
that time, the piercing was at 6 gauge. The guy in the video had
10 gauge (smaller). At that point I wanted to do this act. I
started stretching my piercings to larger sizes and would hang
things heavier and heavier.
Q. What drove you to want to move on to bigger and
I felt the need to implement bigger and heavier items to separate
myself from the standard ten-in-one show performers that would
feature a pierced weightlifting act as condiment to their show.
To be honest, I want to be known as the man with the world's
strongest nipples. You can't do that by using 3lb irons in a
Q. Did you attend any kind of special courses along the way
to further your ability?
Not really. I have no formal training in sideshow or performance
art. It just naturally happened when I got on stage for the first
time. It sort of flowed out nicely. I have a very boisterous
personality anyway, and I like the energy of being on stage. I
have also been piercing professionally for over 10 years. That
much experience helps one to know more about what really happens
when you do this type of act.
Q. Did you intend to enter the sideshow business all along
or did things just kind of fall into place?
Being in the sideshow business was just something that happened in
my path along life really. Doing what I do isn't something that
can be considered mainstream entertainment at the least. Street
performing, opening for bands, doing hot rod events, and an
occasional festival is pretty much where one could expect to see
Q. What was your very first performance in front of a live
I had NO material at my first show. I got up on stage and just
started talking about piercing, made a couple of jokes while I was
setting up, then once the stuff was hanging, everybody was
Q. What kind of reaction did you receive?
Well, that first show was at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival
Cabaret Nite. About 90 percent of the audience was made up of
performers, so I got a really nice response. When people freak
out while seeing my show I take it as a HUGE compliment. The fact
that I had THAT much of an impact on their lives simply by just
being me is a nice feeling.
Q. Now on to the act itself. First and foremost does it
"Does it hurt?" must be the most asked question I get. Heavier
items are more intense, but not necessarily painful. There's a
LOT more to it than just threshold of pain, although I have an
extremely high tolerance for it. Mostly it is just psychological.
Q. Outside of the psychological aspect, what does it feel
like when you are lifting or pulling objects.
If anyone works out, you might understand what I mean: when you
push a certain number of reps, and increase your load your muscles
feel a burn. It's kind of like that. It's almost indescribable,
you have to know. It's like trying to tell someone what being
bald feels like.
Q. Have you noticed any long-term effects from the act?
No, my nipples aren't getting stretched out, if that's what you're
asking. When I'm not doing shows, I wear very lightweight jewelry
in the piercings, so the nipples stay closer to my chest. It
keeps them stronger.
Q. Since your show is based solely on this one particular
act do you find it hard to keep an audience entertained throughout
the entire show?
Keeping an audience captivated by the same act throughout the show
was tough at first. That's where the heavier items come in, the
cart towing, cup crushing, bench grinders and such. I've added so
many components to the show, that it's not just hanging and
pulling things with my nipples. I do as much as I can with them.
I'm sure down the road I'll be adding more stunts and variations.
Also there is a good amount of funny material that keeps things
from slowing down.
Q. How do you decide what types of items to lift in your
In order for an item to make it into my collection, it must fall
into three categories: weight, balance, and recognition. If it's
too light, it doesn't make the cut. It must be balanced enough
for my nipples to take the load more evenly. Recognition is the
fun part. I want the crowd to know what that stuff is, and that
itís commonly known as really heavy items. Most of the stuff many
people may already own, so they know what the weight of it should
feel like. I shouldn't have to explain it to people what a
bowling ball or an anvil is.
Q. Have you ever tried to lift something that was too
No. I have a very scientific process of knowing the strength of
my nipples. Plus I test everything out in my home before I take
it on stage. I may say this onstage as a joke, but I am quite
serious, safety is my main concern. That's why I hand out safety
goggles to the front row during my grinder/sparking act.
Q. Every live audience seems to have a least one heckler.
What kinds of things have you heard/seen and how do you deal with
it during your show?
Actually, I have never had a true heckler. My jokes are really
bad, so people feel pity for me, comedian wise. Other than that,
once the props are hanging and the act is in motion, nobody can
say a word because they're either gaping at the show or cringing
and hiding their eyes.
Q. What do you say to a promoter to make him or her understand what
you do and why he or she should hire you?
I have a press kit and portfolio with me wherever I go. Plus,
most of the venues that I work with have seen my act before. The
pictures pretty much speak for themselves. I'm also working on
putting out my own video.
Q. Do you find it hard to make them understand the true value of your
Naw. Once they see the pictures and my show history, it's pretty
easy to get. They understand it must be a good show, but 9 times
out of 10, they will book me but not watch the show.
Q. What kind of reactions do you usually get from promoters after you
have performed a show for them for the first time?
They like how I handle a crowd. They dig that I can capture
people like that, but they always think I'm crazy. That could be
a good thing, couldn't it?
Q. Is there one show that you will never forget?
My worst show had a turnout of three people. That night, I went
out, got drunk and found myself at a traveling circus. I still had
all my stuff in my car, so I just asked the folks there if they
could squeeze me in for a show. That was an excellent show, so it
kind of captures both ends of that question.
Q. Iíve heard that you will be attempting a world record for most
amount lifted soon. Can you offer any insight?
Yes. As soon as a venue is decided upon, the date will be set and
the press releases will go out. The stunt will be captured on
film and by the media, witnessed by officials from the department
of weights and measures, and then be submitted to the world record
organization. The record for this category has not been made, but
I will be breaking my own personal record by lifting 45 pounds.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Other than the standard "Don't try this at home, kids", come on
down to a show. Not just my show, but ANY sideshow. This is a
part of history that's coming around full circle with a new
generation of performers. I am lucky enough to be in this
generation. Keep your minds open, they work better that way.
Q. Finally, is there anyone you would like to thank?
Other than my family and friends that are always available to
help, my thanks go out to everyone who's been able to make this
type of performance art available and keep alive.
Interview by Derek Rose
For more information on The Great
Nippulini visit his site at
Each month we will try and
interview a new performer for the site. Because of the logistics
of it face to face interviews are tough to come by. A good
percentage of the interviews we will be doing will be via e-mail
or telephone. If you are interested in being interviewed for the
drop us a line.