A 7-foot clown walks into a bar. He motions for a soda water and sits there staring at his drink. The year was 1998 and Puddles had wandered into the Star Community Bar in Atlanta, GA where bartender Big Mike Geier first laid eyes on the sad, silent clown.
“There was a heaviness about him,” says Geier. “I could tell he wasn’t in the mood to chat, so I pretty much left him alone except to pass him the mustard when he pulled an onion and a heel of bread out of his pocket. A couple weeks later, he came by the bar and gave me a flyer to a show he was doing at a flea market. The sound system was crap, but his voice was something else. I’ve been in my share of bands and wasn’t expecting much from a clown singing karaoke from a boombox. But I’ll be damned if his singing didn’t get me all choked up.”
The two soon became close friends, with Big Mike acting somewhat as a confidant as the pair travel all over with Puddles Pity Party, Mike speaking on behalf of Puddles since the clown chooses to stay silent.
Originally from River City before kicking around Atlanta, the sulking serenader gained momentum after hitting the road as guest performer on the 2010 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live tour and 2013 Eels tour and making special appearances at Seattle’s Teatro ZinZanni and NYC’s Sleep No More.
It was Halloween 2013 when Puddles then teamed up with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox to record an epic version of Lorde’s hit song “Royals,” which instantly went viral on YouTube, having received over 15 million views so far. The “sad clown with the golden voice” captivated audiences and media from around the world, building a fan base of more than 155,000 on Facebook.
Puddles has since performed all over the planet, garnering rave reviews at festivals like Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, Perth Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Fest and Belgium’s Gent Fest. He was a feature performer in La Soiree’s 2014 Southbank show in London, which won the Olivier Award. He was handpicked by Neil Patrick Harris to perform Just for Laugh’s “Circus Awesomeus,” gala filmed for HBO Canada. And Jack Black selected Puddles to perform at the 2015 Festival Supreme.
Today, the softhearted crooner continues to wander the world with melancholic pop anthems and free hugs for all the party people.
“Puddles gives an emotive performance that resonates with all kinds of folks,” says Geier. “The crowd really responds to him. There’s something about a giant sad singing clown that comforts us, let’s us know it’s ok to feel, to show our feelings. It’s a sad and beautiful world, and we’re all in it together, even when we’re totally alone.”
Word on the Street:
“His special effect is a textured voice laced with melancholy…What makes him transcend the trope is his vulnerability.” – The New York Times
“It seems like a parody. But when Puddles opens his mouth to sing, it’s beautiful. Operatic.” – The Boston Globe
“Without a single spoken word, Puddles can muster more audience chemistry than most…an enthralling performance.”
****1/2 – Adelaide Advertiser
“Gigantic in stature…and in the possession of a magnificent voice…Puddles creates a delightfully touching and riotously funny party.” ****1/2 – The West Australian
“With his deliciously filling baritone voice, he brings a unique melancholic-romance twist to pop classics such as ABBA’s Dancing Queen and Lorde’s The Royals…This clown has charm by the bucket load…one of the best hours I have spent at the fringe in many years.”
***** – The Public Reviews
“This is a slightly weird but always wonderful show and like nothing else you’ll see here.”
***** – Mirror UK
“If the inspiration for the Pity Party appears simple – a tragic clown with a beautiful baritone – Puddles works it until he becomes an archetypal figure, an embodiment of the romantic despair that infuses so much popular romantic music. At the same time, Puddles is fun, compassionate and an all-round entertainer.”
***** – The List
“Calling Puddles Pity Party a one-man show feels a spiritual disservice…so maximally expressive he could be a cartoon, or a deity, something conjured from pure positive energy…we’re made to feel as important as he is…fostering a warm and inclusive environment…”
**** – Fest Magazine
“…as an experience, it’s impossible to put into any one box and all the better for it.”
**** – The Stage
“A master of persuasion by gesture…a good-natured pantomime with a big lovable and cuddly clown.”
**** – Herald Scotland
“…the talented performer with the taste for the ridiculous should not be underestimated…Puddles keeps a smile on your face right to the very end. “
**** – Broadway Baby
“Puddles’ ability to interact and connect with his audience, making them the stars, leaves a much deeper impact than his intense vocals.”
**** – Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
“Clever and often hysterically funny… (Puddles) is ideally suited to songs popularized by belters old and new like Tom Jones, Sia and Celine Dion, all of which he performs with tear-jerking bravura…”
– LA Weekly
“With his unique blend of soaring vocals… Puddles plays games, pokes fun and eventually wins his audience over with his golden voice.”
– The Australian Daily Telegraph