Originally published in Alaska Dispatch News
As the clown behind Puddles Pity Party, Mike Geier has chosen not to speak. If Puddles has something to say, it will be sung.
“I don’t like to talk too much because I always seem to put my big foot in my big mouth. That being said, I find it exhilarating to communicate in ways that don’t involve speaking. (It) forces us to get creative and also keeps us focused on the heart of the matter,” Geier wrote in an email.
Mike Geier is the man behind Puddles Pity Party.
Standing 6 feet 8 inches tall, Geier’s signature look consists of a white clown costume with three big, fluffy black buttons — reminiscent of Pagliacci, the most famous of sad clowns — a crooked gold crown with the letter “P” written on it atop his head, whiteface makeup and a perpetual frown.
In a rich, baritone voice, Puddles sings pop anthems and ballads alike, from “Royals” by Lorde to “My Heart Will Go On,” in a melancholy, cabaret style.
“Even though a lot of the songs I sing are sad, there are also moments of celebration and joy throughout the show. I think sadness and joy go together. Tears and laughter. Laughter and tears. It’s all so cathartic,” Geier said. His repertoire includes covers of Billy Idol, The Beatles, Metallica and ABBA, among others.
“I tend to sing songs that hit ya right in the ticker. Songs that conjure the feels. It’s all about the feels,” Geier said. “And I like a good sing-along, too. I always encourage folks to sing along.”
Puddles the character started in 1998, Geier said, when he was performing karaoke in a flea market. In ’99, he continued the character for his Atlanta band Greasepaint (he also performs as Big Mike Geier in the band Kingsized, also in Atlanta).
In 2013, Puddles’ distinctive voice and unusual act got a bigger audience when he was featured on Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox video series, covering the song “Royals” by Lorde. Today the video has reached nearly 18 million views. Geier did several more collaborations with the Postmodern Jukebox, then branched out on his own international tour.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to travel and sing and make new friends. What a world,” Geier said.
What can Anchorage expect from this unusual performer? “Togetherness, fellowship and free cuddles for anybody that wants ’em.”