The nearly 7-foot-tall sad clown known as Puddles has been a YouTube sensation since his melancholy, low-baritone cover of Lorde’s “Royals” went viral five years ago. Created in 1998 by his alter ego, Atlanta-based musician Mike Geier, Puddles performs torch-song-style covers of pop hits and standards for his videos and live show, “Puddles Pity Party.” Before Puddles’ concert at the Kennedy Center on Friday, we connected with him via email to find out what it’s like to walk in his sneakers.
Puddles has some famous fans. Of Puddles’ “Royals” cover, Lorde said, “It’s my FAVOURITE!” When the clown appeared on “America’s Got Talent” in 2017, he got a standing ovation from judges Mel B, Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell. And Kevin Costner recently took his family to a show. “He is a true gentleman,” Puddles says of the actor. “I would do anything for that fella.”
Puddles is prepping for his upcoming residency at Caesars Palace. “For my Vegas show, I may be inclined to give a musical nod to some of the artists who have made that glittering city so great,” Puddles says. “But I will also include some of the more popular tunes that my fans have come to expect. It’s an intimate room, so that allows for a different type of energy than the larger performing arts centers I’ve been playing.”
You might wind up hugging him. Puddles’ live show is all about audience participation. If your guard is down, you might end up singing with him onstage, joining him in an embrace or handing over your cellphone.
This clown is into heavy metal. “Metal is so muscular. It pumps you up!” Puddles says. “But it’s also not afraid to parade its feminine side with epic high notes, long luxurious locks and smoky eye makeup! So much drama. What’s not to like?” Puddles even performs a “smoosh-up” that blends Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and “One.” “Two great tastes that taste great together!” he says.
Puddles was surprised by how well his cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” turned out. “Matthew Kaminski, the Atlanta Braves’ organist, put such an incredible twist on the music,” Puddles says of his collaborator on the song. “He is an artist of the highest order.”
Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW; Fri., 8 p.m., $29-$55.