It’s hard to stand out in today’s crowd of pop divas, but Dan Finnerty is making himself heard. Start with the obvious fact that he’s a man, then add that he belts out covers of girl anthems, from Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” to Britney Spears‘s “Slave 4 U,” and smears obscenities over the lyrics.
As comedy—maybe even as pop—it works. Finnerty, 34, with his group the Dan Band, memorably wailed “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in 2003’s Old School. Since then, the Bath, N.Y., native has become one of the hottest, weirdest club acts in L.A. Fans include Mike Myers, Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz and Steven Spielberg, who gave the sometime actor a part in The Terminal and coproduced his concert special, airing on Bravo in 2005. “He’s a surprisingly good singer,” says David Spade. “And they’re secretly songs you like.”
He discovered his talent in 1998, after having one too many and belting out “I Am Woman” at a karaoke bar. Making a show of it was the idea of his wife, actress Kathy Najimy, 47, whom he met at a party one night in 1995 and, next morning, took skydiving. “When we landed,” Finnerty says, “we were like, T love you! We’re alive!’ ” Thanks to her, he also has a CD due in March—and a daughter, Samia, 7, whom he tries to shield from his R-rated act. Too late, he realizes. “The other day she said, ‘My daddy sings girl songs and swears.’ ”