Anyone who has gone to a major rock festival or turned on a television recently has potentially been confronted by Darin “Dangerous D” Malfi and one of his deranged stunts. Malfi is a professional sideshow performer, stuntman, and actor who currently owns and runs the largest traveling circus sideshow in the world, The Dangerous D Shock Show. He’s toured with and performed at events such as Ozzfest, Warped Tour, Musink Tattoo Convention & Music Festival, Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare, and Knotfest. He has also appeared on multiple TV shows like AMC’S Freakshow, Hellevator, and was a finalist contestant on America’s Got Talent. With this type of resume, it is certain that Malfi has probably had some insane experiences, and he decided to share some of them with us.
Usually, one’s high school guidance counselor does not have “Freak Show Performer” listed as a potential career, so one has to wonder how Malfi first discovered his unique abilities. “I’ve always been a bit nuts, but from a young age, I realized I had a high tolerance for pain and would always gravitate towards the strange, bizarre, and unusual.” Malifi says. “I was the guy at parties that would spit fire with liquor, or smash my head through stuff just to make my friends laugh. In Baltimore, in 2008, my good friend, Christopher Scarborough started getting into sideshow performing pretty seriously. He had great stunts, but no stage presence. At the time, I was in a band, so we booked a few shows together. It wasn’t long before I became his hype man (talker) on stage. I was like his Flavor Flav. Soon after that, we put together a full show torturing ourselves for others twisted entertainment. In 2013, I moved to Los Angeles and started performing a solo show and it snowballed from there.”
One might be wondering how the Shock Show is better or different than similar acts like Cirque Berzerk or the Jim Rose Circus. Malfi explicates, “Besides being more modern, more extreme, and better looking, I pride my show on theatrics and new stunts. We tell a story and my show has brand new pioneered stunts and feats of danger that no one else in the world performs. It’s important to evolve and not just be doing a new version of something old. I want new stunts invented!” According to Malfi, he does not use gaffs, effects, or pads when he does stunts; everything is real. His weirdest stunt, is known as “The Human Hourglass.” This trick entails him taking an industrial zip tie and constricting it around his waist making the diameter of his stomach go from 32 inches to 6 inches in 3 seconds. The most dangerous stunt he’s ever performed, thus far, is falling on concrete and broken glass into a real bear trap with a noose tied around his neck pulled about 30 feet backwards. This was for the show Hellevator during Season 1.
For those who may not be familiar, Hellevator is a 2015 American horror game show hosted by Jen and Sylvia Soska that premiered on October 21, 2015 on Game Show Network. In it, a team of three contestants rides a haunted elevator through an abandoned slaughterhouse. Malfi elaborates, “Hellevator was a killer experience! I was hired for one episode in season one to perform ‘block head’ (hammering a nail in the nose). Just one stunt. But the crew was so rad, they wrote me in like 8 different stunts and allowed me to coordinate and do it my way. I ended up shoving scissors in my nose, getting stapled, falling in a bear trap, and a few other fun ones! We got such good footage they asked me back for ALL of season 2.” Sadly, though, Hellevator will not return for a season 3.
Since Malfi performs his crazy stunts at rock and metal festivals as well, this begs the question of which is his favorite thus far: “That’s a hard one to answer…but it would probably have to be Ozzfest 2016. I ran the largest Circus Sideshow in the world, The Dangerous D Shock Show. We had over 45 performers and it was amazing! A close second was when I performed at Dr. Phil’s private birthday party last year.” Malfi goes on to explain that some other shows that stand out are Insane Clown Posse’s Gathering of the Juggalos, Ozzfest/Knotfest, Blackest of the Black Fest (with Glenn Danzig), and Musink. He explains that this year’s Blackest of the Black Fest was especially awesome because “Dave Navarro came and suspended from his back during our show.”
With his extensive experience touring, Malfi has definitely encountered some bizarre incidents inspired by his tricks and stunts. He remembers a particularly bloody evening during Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare tour: “During this event, I was performing a stunt called ‘the staple game.’ I walk through the crowd and let people staple money to my body for tips. The higher the bill, the more sensitive the place, and I’m not afraid to drop pants! After a full run of about 80 staples, I went back to the tour bus to pull the bills out and change. Rob Zombie, Sheri Moon, Tommy Lee, Kat Von D, and a few others were on the bus drinking and bullshitting. As I pulled the bills out one by one, I began to bleed pretty good and they all started watching. Most of them cheering me on, so I got Tommy Lee to staple my ball sack to my leg. After I pulled the rest out, I was covered in blood, dripping all over the place. Tommy turned to Rob and said ‘This is one crazy motherfucker.’ Rob replied, ‘If he keeps bleeding all over the place, I’m kicking him off the tour.’ It was pretty funny!”
This staple game also apparently led to an interesting run in with the Los Angeles Police Department: “One time after a show, I was taking a large bag of cash money to the bank, roughly $3,000, that was stapled to me from a few shows earlier that week. Just wanted to deposit it in my account. Some bills were covered in blood pretty bad, but I figured they wouldn’t notice. After about 30 minutes of them in the back room re-counting the money, in walks two L.A.P.D. officers. They look around and walk right up to me and ask me to step outside, so I do. Then they proceed to tell me that I fit the description of a suspect in a recent robbery/murder. They wanted to know where I got the bloody money. Well, you can only image how difficult it was to convince them it was stapled to me and it was my blood. I showed them my social media and they eventually let me go. Funny thing though, I got a letter from the Treasury Department stating they wouldn’t accept half of the cash because it was covered in bodily fluids and that’s a Federal offense. Even more funny, two nights prior, I had a police chief staple me!”
Another bizarre run in involved a famous actor: “I’ve met a lot of celebrities during events I’ve performed. Some I really liked and some I didn’t even know, but one interaction stands out. While performing my tennis racket stunt (contorting my body through an unstrung tennis racket, head-to-toe) I have my shirt off and my belt unbuckled so I can get the racket past my waist. During the performance, this drunk dude kept interrupting me trying to stick money down my pants, and making jokes like I was a stripper. I was pissed at first, but then realized he was stuffing 10’s and 20’s in there, so I played along. That was a bad choice. He got worse and worse, groping and grabbing me, driving me nuts! I finally finished the stunt and he finished with a nice big ass slap and grab! I waved security over and they grab the dude and he disappeared. I found out later that night, it was fucking Andy Dick!”
Of course, Malfi’s tricks don’t always go as planned: “Things go wrong all the time. That is what my web series, Living Dangerously is all about. You can find it on YouTube. One of the worst repercussions of my type of performing was, I think 2010, I broke so many things over my head during performances and filming, I suffered 5 concussions in one year, and some may say that left some permanent damage.”
Despite this, he is in the process of talking to different networks about his own reality show. He also performs solo shows that are anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. “I go all out. I perform most of my catalog including fire…”
As far as upcoming performances, he has Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor in October and Ozzfest Meets Knotfest in November.
Find him online at: