Everything is wrong with me
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
 
karaoke
On Saturday night I went to a birthday party for a female friend (actually, two female friends) at a karaoke bar. That means tons of drunk girls with full access to a very loud microphone. Yikes.

Now I’m not one to throw stones and come down on karaoke. Last August, I gave arguably the greatest performance in karaoke history in the Bahamas, actually threatening the structure of the hotel because I received such thunderous applause. It was, and always will be, the greatest moment of my life. So before we continue, know that I like karaoke.

However, on this particular night, I wasn’t “feeling it.” I was suffering some several gastrointestinal distress (thank you Pomodoro’s vodka slice) so I couldn’t get drunk enough to let my inhibitions fly and sing my enlarged heart out.

But the good news is that I was able to sit on the sidelines and ponder. When I wasn’t thinking about the gargantuan breasts of the bartender and waitress (seriously, they were SPECTACULAR – and you know I’m not fucking around when I use capital letters like that), I took notice of all the people singing karaoke, dividing them into the ten main types of karaoke-ers below.

The group of screaming girls
By far, the most abundant source of noise, I mean, singing, at the karaoke bar. The group can consist of anywhere from two to ten girls standing on stage, screaming like a gang of deaf mutes to a girl power song (number one example: “I Will Survive”). Those girls that didn’t have the cajones to get one stage to sing will stand in front of the stage and root on their friends wailing their hearts out. Just a messy, messy scene. If I weren’t so lonely, I’d say that I couldn’t date a girl who partakes in this, but times are tough.

The black guy who can really sing
Every karaoke bar has one. He’ll get on stage and do a random D’Angelo, R. Kelly or Gerald Levert song just go OFF, singing every note perfectly, getting way too into him, and doing every noise, squeal, and extended “Oh yeah” and “Yeah baby” that his hero sings.

But however good his singing voice, he is looked down upon by the audience. His intense effort, seriousness, and high pitched “Oh yeaahh, yeah-yeah-yeah, you know I’m gon’ love you right, girl” turns the audience off. Instead of getting compliments like, “Man, you sound exactly like R. Kelly!” he hears, “Man, you need a hobby or some shit” and countless American Idol jokes. Poor guy.

The fat chick who can really sing
The fat chick who can really sing is closely related to the black guy who can really sing, with one main difference: he’s black and she’s fat. But another example of someone getting on stage and going for at all, leaving the audience feeling more saddened than awed.

The unattractive girl who after she sings is much hotter
One time, many years ago, I was at a karaoke bar in Boston and this chick got up on stage. She was somewhere between not good looking to average, but didn’t have any major physical deformities (giant head, one arm, moustache, tail, etc).

Anyway, she got up there and did a near-perfect Janis Joplin impression to “Piece Of My Heart” and every single guy in the bar was in love with her from the first note. It was an incredible transformation from meek average girl to sexual angel of sin and lust (or something). She didn’t have the scratchy voice like Joplin, but she nailed it. I remember my friends and I got quiet when she started singing and when she was finished, my buddy Tom broke the silence saying, “Well, that was just about the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.”

I didn’t see her on this particular Saturday night, but I know she exists. Keep an eye out for her. In fact, you might want to hit on OK-looking girls at the karaoke bar hoping that they get on stage and do something hot. That’s called buying low and selling high.

The random Asian/Southeast Asian guy who lives for the stage
A karaoke bar staple. This is arguably my favorite character at the karaoke bar and this guy was in full effect on Saturday night. Up to the stage went a conservative looking bespectacled Asian guy in a red North Face jacket with the sleeves rolled up, and he proceeded to bring the house down with an impassioned performance of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. When it was over, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Just tremendous in every way.

The clown
This would be the category that I fit into, I think. The guy who gets up there to do something funny, like dedicate a song to a girl or sing something retarded (i.e. Tiny Turner’s “Private Dancer” or The Scorpion’s “Winds of Change”). Of course, this has varying degrees of success and can either be an enjoyable experience or leave the singer and audience feeling awkward and ashamed. With me, it’s mostly the latter. Damn.

The group of douchebags/guidos/meatheads who sing a popular song
These guys will get on stage to show off their new striped shirts (which of course are opened to reveal their pumped pecs and white beaters), their awesomely gelled hair, and their muscles and sing something dumb like “Hit Me One More Time” or another corny pop song.

Of course, the performance stinks and anyone with an IQ over 90 and a moderate amount of self-esteem either shakes their head in disgusts or laughs at these guys, but what amazes/saddens me is how many dumb (yet super hot) girls go nuts for this stuff. I mean, it is a rule that really hot girls have to be dumb and go for dumb guys? Did I miss this somewhere along the line? If I were a dumb hot chick, I’d think that maybe I’d think to myself, “I’m hot, but very dumb. And being dumb sucks. So since I can have any guy I want, I’m going to go with a smart guy, a guy who knows that ‘longitude’ is not a way to brag about the length of one’s penis. This way, maybe my kids will be smart and won’t have all the problems I faced in my dumb life.” But I guess that never happens and if I ever want to fulfill my dream of making it with a hoop-earring wearing, busty and tan hot mama, I’m gonna have to hit the gym, salon, and Banana Republic. Crap.

The drunk guy who has potential but then it gets sad
This is my other favorite character. This is the blitzed guy who gets up on stage to the cheers of his friends, who are expecting a stellar, alcohol-fueled performance. The drunk guy who has potential but then it gets sad will soak in the cheers, waving to his buddies as he slowly rocks back and forth on stage, drunk off his ass. Now is his time.

Then the song will start, and it’s all downhill from there. He’ll mumble through the most of the song and forget the rest, not realizing that the words appear right on the screen in front of him. His friends, who had been cheering, will look at him in disgust and start heckling him as he struggles through “Billy Jean” in a monotone voice. Most of the time, disappointed with his performance, he’ll simply walk off the stage mid-song. And everyone is sad. Except me of course, who is standing by the bar laughing and looking at the bartender’s cleavage, wondering why I woke up in an abandoned car that morning. But that’s just me.

The guy/girl who gets way too into it
This guy (or girl) can take my different forms. Perhaps, like two examples above, he can really sing and gets very emotional and into the song. Or perhaps, this guy can’t sing but still gets into the song anyway, because he thinks he sounds exactly like Robert Plant. Or perhaps even this guy is so wrapped up in the majesty that is “Closer to the Heart”, he starts dancing around and doing the air guitar.

Any way you cut it, he needs to relax, come down of the stage, and sit the next few plays out. There’s a little bit of this in every karaoke performer and that’s ok, but when you rejoin your friends at the table and they say, “Dude, what the fuck was that?”, you’re doing something wrong.

The professional
This guy is the perfect combination. He knows his voice and range, has good stage presence, has his timing down, and delivers a smooth performance. Rare is the person who can make everyone at the karaoke place happy, but this guy can do it. “Magic” is the only word that comes to mind.

[I read the above a paragraph over and debated changing “guy” to “guy/girl” and “his” to “his/her” to lessen the homoerotic overtones, but fuck it. I stand by everything I write. Mostly.]

******

So there are the ten types of karaoke-er. The question is: which one are you? I would say you’re probably The random Asian/Southeast Asian guy who lives for the stage, only because over 87% of my readers live in Asia, Southeast Asia, and Eurasia. Christ, I’m like a god in Hindustan. Or maybe it’s one of the other “-stan” countries. Whatever.



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