It’s a shame they drained the water at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace. Now we can’t make the joke about Puddles Pity Party creating a ripple or making a splash or performing swimmingly at the moated enclave.
But the towering, powerfully voiced clown character is diving in for a nine-show series at Caesars’ cozy showroom. His run begins at 8 p.m. Thursday and runs through Feb. 9.
Standing about 7 feet tall in platform heels, the man whose legal name is Mike Geier became well-known through his series of YouTube performances, especially when joining Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.
Puddles became the proverbial YouTube sensation through his operatic covers of such contemporary songs as Lorde’s “Royals,” R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion,” Queen/David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” (Disturbed version) among them.
Puddles doesn’t speak onstage, doesn’t consent to interviews and is silent aside from his singing. But he did offer some notes in e-mail about Las Vegas, his history and the upcoming series at Caesars. The highlights:
On his first visit to Vegas:
“I first came to Vegas in February 2014 at the invitation of my pals (Nashville-based writer) Whitney Pastorek and (Las Vegas attorney and freelance writer) Dayvid Figler. They hooked me up at the El Cortez, where I hosted an impromptu Pity Party performance in the casino lounge for about 150 folks. I remember it was “Pie Day” at the El Cortez and I was in heaven!
On songs he plans to perform on your upcoming YouTube clips:
“I’ve been on the road so much the past four months that I haven’t had much time in the studio to record videos. But I do have some studio time planned right after Vegas. Any requests?” (“Low Rider” by War, here.)
On his favorite Strip shows, past and present:
“My buddy (stand-up comic) Dana Snyder took me to wonderful show a few years back at Caesars. It was Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theatre. Gregory Popovich is a world-famous clown who rescues all kinds of animals from shelters and gives them a gig in his comedy show. There were dogs and cats and birds and ferrets and all kinds of talented animals. As I remember it, the cats in the show had the humans pretty well-trained. It was a delightfully madcap performance by the entire cast and I’ll never forget it.”
On his favorite Strip headliners, past and present:
“I’m a big magic buff. So my favorite headliners at present are Penn & Teller and also Mat Franco. And I love me some Piff the Magic Dragon, too. I wish I could’ve seen Amazing Johnathan’s Vegas show. He is one of my heroes. I’m hoping to catch Mac King’s show when I’m there this month. He’s one of the all-time greats!”
On his favorite Vegas movie:
“I’m a huge Kevin Costner fan, so naturally, my favorite Vegas movie is ‘3,000 Miles to Graceland.’ Costner plays a bad guy and he looks like a million bucks in that Elvis jumpsuit and those killer sideburns. Kurt Russell is no slouch, either.”
On his favorite Vegas TV show:
“Gotta be “Vega$” starring Robert Urich (am I showing my age?). He played a detective named Dan Tanna and it was quite the all-star cast with legends like Tony Curtis, Wayne Newton, Phyllis Davis, Greg Morris, Will Sampson, Lorne Greene, Scatman Crothers … so many old-school showbiz folk.”
On how many costumes he owns:
I have three suits that I travel with. Some have pockets. Some don’t. And shoe designers, Phil and Sarah, have provided me with a few pairs of custom kicks.
On clowns he has been inspired by:
“Gosh, so many great clowns have inspired me in so many ways. Too many to name. But here are a few: Charlie Chaplin, Pee-Wee Herman, Jacques Tati, Sacha Baron Cohen, Laurel & Hardy, Carol Burnett, Bill Irwin, Martin Short, W.C. Fields, Lucille Ball, Jim Carey, George Carl, Lou Costello, Peter Sellers.
Lots of fantastic clowns doing their thing here in Vegas too, like Jimmy Slonina and Tape Face.
On his interests away from the stage:
“My main interests of all time remain coffee and Kevin Costner. I also champion plant-based eating and pet adoption.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.