May 142015

This image is from Puddles’ Facebook page.

Sometime last year, back when Chris still worked with me (MEMORIES), she sent me a Post Modern Jukebox video that featured a 6’8″ clown singing “Royals.” It was enchanting! (Probably not to coulrophobes.) I just really love clowns so much!

About a month ago, I saw that Puddles Pity Party was coming to the Rex in Pittsburgh and I was like, “THAT IS THAT SUPER SEXY CLOWN WITH THE HONEY VOICE.” So I texted Chris and she and Monica were like, “Let’s do this shit.”

And Henry was like, “Yay, you have people to go with you. Peace out!”

A week prior to the show, we were sitting at a table in the Laser Storm party room when Chris told me that she made the mistake of looking up information for his shows online and discovered that he relies heavily on audience participation. I hoped that she meant like along the lines of “When I say —-, you say —-” type of bullshit. But no, she meant that he will flat out pull people out of their seat and drag them onto the stage and make them sing EVEN IF THEY DON’T KNOW THE WORDS.

Do you know how much I love music? Ask me to sing a song off the top of my head and I will fucking FREEZE because OMG there are WORDS in that song? WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER THERE BEING WORDS IN THAT SONG!?!?


We had pre-Puddles dinner at the Library that evening and I made sure to drink every last drop of whatever that blueberry beer stuff was that I ordered while Chris and Monica divulged insider info regarding their upcoming wedding. I should mention that on the walk there, we passed a young couple. The girl was all, “I LOVE YOUR TATTOO” and the boy was all, “AND I LOVE YOUR PURSE.” Chooch would have been so pissed, because it was my eyeball purse, of course.

After dinner, Monica saved me from basically falling off a cliff/stepping on a rake/shambling into traffic because god forbid I should be responsible enough to safely walk down a sidewalk. The sun was in my eyes, OK?!

Once we got to the Rex, my nerves started to kick in because PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME GET ON STAGE. I was acutely aware of Chris and Monica talking about DJ Qbert, who was performing at the Rex later in the week. Monica wanted to book him for their wedding but Chris said only if he plays one Garth Brooks song. It went something like that, I think.

We look sweaty because it was like 95 degrees out, and that is real sweat on our faces. #PittsburghSpring

The Rex is not very big, and the room was full of folding chairs. Because this was a seated event. So, chairs. We stood around like kids on the first day of school, figuratively biting our fingernails while trying to decide which seats would have us looking less like sitting ducks and more like invisible nobodies. We ultimately chose a row on the left, a few rows back from the stage. I claimed the seat right next to the wall and was satisfied because the wall jutted out in front of me just enough that I could use it as a shield if necessary.

My stage fright is on another level. I keep getting worse with age, too. When I was a youngin’, I was at some dinner theater thing in Switzerland with my family and there were men on a stage playing those Ricola commercial horns. They called for volunteers, and without telling my family I was doing so, I got up from the table and ran down to the stage to blow one of those fucking horns, because why the hell not. God, that seems so long ago!

Probably because it was. It was 1990, for fuck’s sake!

Anyway, now I need to be drunk to do shit like that, and I unfortunately was not drunk on this particular night.

It was getting closer and closer to 8:00 and no one had joined us in our row. Monica kept looking nervously at the two empty seats to her right, but later she admitted that even though she was petrified of being singled out, she kind of hoped she would be. I hoped she would be too, because what would be the odds of Puddles striking twice in the same row of chairs?

Eventually, some single broad sat down at the end of our row. I half-noticed that she and Monica exchanged a few words, starting with “Is anyone sitting here?” and the next thing I knew, Monica turned to Chris and said, “Hey Chris, this girl had her car punched in L.A., too!” because Chris used to live in L.A. and had her car punched once. So then Chris and Single Broad started comparing car-punching tales and I thought to myself, “WTF could either of them had possibly said to each other to initiate the topic of car-punching?!” I asked Monica after the show and she sincerely couldn’t remember.

My theory is that the broad thanked Monica for saving her seat while she was at the bar, and Monica said, “My fiancée had her car punched one time in L.A. TOO BAD I WASN’T THERE TO SAVE THAT.”

It was super random* and weird, which made Monica’s request to have Chooch swinging on a wrecking ball at their wedding seem reasonable.

*(Turns out, having your car punched in L.A. is actually not so random, according to Monica’s new BFF; maybe the next season of Serial should be about that.)

But then it was time for Puddles! He came in from the back of the room, carrying a suitcase and IMMEDIATELY pulled some man out of the audience. Without giving anything away, I will say that he mostly didn’t torture his non-consenting volunteers too much. Mostly he just sung Happy Birthday to them, but there was one old man who he made sing “Yesterday” and I was so thankful it wasn’t me. You guys have no idea how terrible of a singer I am unless you were around for the Blogathon days, then you unfortunately do know, and might even have waking nightmares of me singing Andy Gibb. I TRULY APOLOGIZE.

I wasn’t expecting to do so much laughing, but Puddles is a great entertainer! My favorite part was definitely when he sang Sia’s “Chandelier,” which I recorded a snippet of for Chooch:

At one point, he totally seduced this one older man in the crowd who could have been Henry’s brother.

“I REALLY wish Henry would have come!” Monica cried, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Oh Internet, can you imagine Henry getting pulled on stage by a giant clown?! UGH, Henry is the worst for not going! I’m glad I remembered that I’m mad at him!

And none of us ended up being traumatized by a stage summons! I do wish Monica had gotten picked though.

There were no openers so the show was just over an hour long, which actually felt just right to me. Afterward, we stood in line for free Puddles Cuddles, and my anxiety came back because I hate having my picture taken, but I HAD TO GET ONE because a picture of Puddles will look so wonderful in my future clown room. And then it ended up being OK, because I just made a sad face, which is more natural on me than a smile. So this is basically my regular face:


AND GUESS WHO LIKED MY PURSE, CHOOCH? Oh just my new friend, PUDDLES, no big deal!

On the way back to the car, we stopped at Le Petit Chocolat for cupcakes and chocolate, and I was pleasantly surprised! These were pretty damn close to my beloved Vanilla Pastry Studio masterpieces.

Clowns and cupcakes—what a night! I wouldn’t have known about Puddles if not for Chris, so thank you Chris! It’s always nice to go to a show that’s a bit out of my wheelhouse. #noscreaming

  8 Responses to “Someone Else’s Pity Party, For Once: A Night with Puddles”

  1. I really wanted to read this. Really. But I couldn’t get past the first clown picture. He’s like, the epitome of scary clown for me. *shudder*

  2. I. Love. Puddles. So inspiring. I just found out he’s coming to SF in a couple of weeks, thanks to you. Now to find someone to go with me…

  3. I wish I knew about Puddles, looks like you had an incredible time. And if he comes to town again, invite me. I love going on stage. If he picks you, I’ll volunteer as tribute.

  4. This is literally my nightmare. I am glad you had fun though.

    I knew a 7′ 1″ clown once. He used to go to this church I grew up in and one time he was doing a bit in service and tried making me go up on stage and I just sat there frozen and could not get up. Terrifying!!! This is not something I could ever do.

  5. “without telling my family I was doing so, I got up from the table and ran down to the stage to blow one of those fucking horns, because why the hell not.”

    You still have this. She’s still alive in you.

    But yeah, being called out by someone, it’s a different story. That’s scary no matter who’s doing it.

    Also, car punching in LA? That’s some culture shock for me.

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