Even in an age when YouTube makes stars of the most unlikely characters, Puddles Pity Party is something of an anomaly. A seven-foot clown in pancake make-up and a voice of richest honey, he first came to prominence in 2013 with a haunting cover of Lorde’s Royals, performed with jazz cover band Postmodern Jubebox. Since then he’s gone on to conquer much of the known internet with a series of yearning, sorrowful versions of other peoples’ songs.
Last month Puddles released an emotional rendering of Cheap Trick’s 1977 smash I Want You To Want Me, but his latest adventure may just be his most implausible yet: a cover of The Who’s Pinball Wizard sung to the tune of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.
Other songs covered by Puddles Pity Party include Badfinger’s Day After Day, David Bowie’s When You Rock And Roll With Me, and a mournful version of The Everly Brothers’ Crying In The Rain (a duet with Turtles and Flo & Eddie singer Howard Kaylan).
“Puddles gives an emotive performance that resonates with all kinds of folks,” says Mike Geier, who seems speak on Puddles’ behalf. “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.”