Get weird – The many faces of Kingsized
By: Carey O’Neil
Mike Geier doesn’t quite know why a nearly 7-foot-tall clown with a gloomy demeanor resonates with so many people, but he’s enjoying the adventure Puddles has launched for him.
The stoic, silent clown has appeared in acts related to Geier’s Atlanta-based Kingsized Entertainment for years, but the character recently hit it big with his YouTube cover of Lorde’s “Royals.” The video has more than 7 million views. The clown also recently toured with the alt-rock band Eels and as a part of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force live show.
“It’s a new thing. It’s really weird,” Geier said. “It’s so fluid.”
Geier is no stranger to the stage. He’s performed in various bands and MCed burlesque shows to great success through Kingsized Entertainment. He’s played bars, parties, private events, has regular Elvis tribute shows and an annual Christmas show around Atlanta, but Puddles seems to have struck a unique chord.
Geier uses his height and big personality to great effect in most of his shows, but things are different with Puddles. So different, in fact, Geier insists he isn’t Puddles.
“I am not Puddles,” he said. “We get mistaken for each other often.”
The clown doesn’t speak, except for when he sings. His performances are demure – just the clown standing on stage with very little movement, belting out his songs with all the emotion he can muster.
“I don’t completely understand it, so I get that some people don’t understand it,” Geier said. “It’s hard to corral a character that’s just about the wandering.”
It’s easy to think of the two as different people. Geier is warm, quick to laugh and passionate about his projects. That passion has helped him and his wife and co-owner, Shannon Newton, grow Kingsized into an Atlanta mainstay since its inception in 2006.
Visitors wouldn’t expect the Kingsized’s flashy, vibrant shows to come from its out-of-the-way Avondale headquarters and recording studio. Geier and Newton renovated an old storehouse for their space and say it’s perfect for their rehearsals, if a bit small.
“It used to be in our living room, so this is a lot better,” Newton said.
Newton is also a performer – the two met when she danced for the burlesque show Geier MCed – but she now finds herself focusing more on the administrative side of the business. She gets help from Geier and a few friends, but is ultimately responsible for the bookkeeping, event booking, payroll, and all the other administrative tasks that keep the business afloat.
“It seems like every year we grow 25 to 30 percent,” she said. “We’re learning as we go.”
Newton said the business is at tipping point. Kingsized has a good reputation for treating their talent well, she said, and that has helped them develop a core group of performers who stay involved with their various acts.
But both Newton and Geier would prefer to focus more on the creative side of the business and avoid getting bogged down in the details of keeping the business running smoothly.
“We just need to fortify ourselves up here,” Newton said. “We need to spend a little more time creating and a little less time administering. We do have awesome people in place now, but we will need help and they will need help.”
With Puddles’ success and steady growth in the other aspects of the business, Geier said he’s excited for Kingsized’s future. This summer he plans to hang around his studio and record some ideas bouncing around in his brain before he launches on possible tours and his regular fall and winter shows.
“It’s got to be magical and sustainable,” he said. “We don’t know what’s around the corner, which is really thrilling.”