The story of Pagliacci comes to mind when thinking of Puddles. Pagliacci, the Italian opera composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo in May 1892 first gave portrayal of the clown as a symbol of a comedian disembodied by love. The story ends in tragedy with Pagliacci crying, “La commedia è finita!” or “The comedy is finished!” as the curtains close.
Clowning is a profession often taken at face value. They are expected either to make us laugh or give us a fright (though the latter isn’t always their intent). Over the years, the understanding of clowns has evolved significantly. Clowns can now feel all the feels, so not all clowns are seen as funny, not all clowns are seen as tragic, not all clowns are seen as fear-mongering. They can be melancholic.
That’s why when Puddles recorded a cover of Lorde’s “Royals” with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on Halloween in 2013, it went viral on YouTube instantly. Today the video has over 16 million views, and a following that has put Puddles Pity Party on the map.
Watch Puddles' viral video:
The “Sad Clown with the Golden Voice” has gone on to perform at all sorts of international fringe festivals including Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has been recognized by Neil Patrick Harris and Jack Black for special showcases, and now wanders the world with melancholic pop anthems and free hugs for all.
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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.