Allow me to begin with a bit of unconventional news. It was a typical Friday night at a Karaoke Bar in Stamford, Connecticut when shit went south. When a 25-year old girl started singing a Juanes song, 6 bitches got hostile. First, the shouting and booing escalated…which is understandable. Then, these 6 women viciously attacked the singer–punching, kicking, chipping teeth and pulling hair. The woman wasn’t significantly injured, but judging by the mugshots, the 6 attackers were hit by a fucking bus.
I’d be amazed if this fight weren’t instigated in some way, but who cares? The truly terrifying post-script to this karaoke tragedy was the report that this wasn’t the first tone-deaf-related clusterfuck that made national news…and hopefully won’t be the last.
In 2007, a Seattle man was flogged after his attempt at a Coldplay song, and last November, a Wisconsin man was jumped after trying his luck at Ronnie James Dio. But, what if the last guy deserved it?
Karaoke is lots of fun, and if you’ve never done it, shame on you. Even if you have no sense of tone, pitch, or rhythm, karaoke can still be you’re friend. The beauty of karaoke is the fact that no one takes it seriously–but I suppose that the previously mentioned individuals were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s not about talent, it’s about having fun–but that being said–let’s go over some important ground rules that will prevent you from making the biggest mistake of your life, or…getting yourself killed (which may also be a mistake).
1. Pick a song that you can sing–and even if you can’t sing it–know you can’t sing it. Power ballads and epic heavy metal triumphs are always beautiful karaoke staples, but if you can’t sing it, don’t try. If you happen to pick a 6-minute Meatloaf opus, get drunk, have fun with it, and fuck off before everyone in the bar finds out where you live.
2. Try to stick to songs that people are going to enjoy. Nobody wants to hear Don’t Stop Believin’ all night, but throw in some classic rock gems that won’t make people cringe. Furthermore, judge your audience before choosing your song. If it’s a hipster bar, you can pretty much get away with anything because they’ll just assume that you were singing that shitty song to be ironic.
3. Don’t sing Weird Al Yankovic. It’s important that you keep the novelty songs to an almost-invisible minimum. Show tunes and Theme Songs are acceptable sometimes, but karaoke is about having fun, not being hated by everyone in the room. The reason Mr. Yankovic gets particular mention is that his songs are parody-songs (the worst kind of novelty). This will infuriate your audience beyond compare. Have you ever heard the intro to your favorite song on the radio and when the voice chimes in, it’s Weird fucking Al? I rest my case.
4. Make friends, sing duets, and take requests. Unless you’re the most annoying person on the planet, people will clap for you whether you suck or not. Don’t take this to mean that everyone thought you were great. If people reallydug you, most of the time, they’d say it to your face. When everyone’s drunk, they get very complementary, or extremely critical; however, nobody wants to shit on another singer because no one has a “karaoke comfort zone.” If you’re fun, outgoing, and a semi-decent singer, maybe someone will say “great job,” “good song choice,” or, “will you sing this song with me?” And who knows? You may even get a date out of it…*
*You almost certainly won’t get a date out of it.
5. Don’t start shit during karaoke. When someone is standing in front of (or amongst) a crowd of people holding nothing but a shaky microphone, you’d only be more vulnerable if you were naked. This puts a certain responsibility on the shoulders of the audience and bar patrons to behave themselves for at least 4 minutes.
Don’t, for example, stand up and shout, “I will fucking fight you!” in a Canadian hotel bar while someone softly whispers Elton John lyrics, terrified that a fight may actually ensue.
And, unless you know the person who’s singing–and know that they’ll know you’re kidding–don’t “boo” anyone. Starting shit during karaoke is like shitting the bed and throwing someone under the bus at the same time (which is challenging if you’ve ever tried it). Karaoke is supposed to be relaxing and fun–and if you’re one of those people who simply choose to “opt out,” you’re probably not going to have a significantly entertaining evening.
…because the only thing that makes up for listening to four fat chicks wailing 80′s crap rock at the top of their lungs (with one fucking microphone)…is when you get your own opportunity to make an asshole out of yourself.
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