Friday, December 5, 2014

Part 3: LOOK AT ME!!

Since I started writing these pieces, I’ve heard the same question from hundreds of strangers..

“Who are you and why are you calling my home at this hour?”

The answer is simple: I crave attention, but only when I am doing something relatively well.
Here's me, presenting for the ladies.

You probably do too, and that’s okay.  That’s why we do this, you and I.  We’re a lot alike, only you obviously spend a lot more money and attention on your appearance.  But we share a common goal: We want to be noticed and admired for about four minutes, and then a little bit after that. (Is the whole “Four Minute Rock Star” thing starting to make sense yet?)

Attention is the basis of karaoke.  Nobody sings so that people will leave them alone.  We want to be noticed, admired, perhaps even idolized, but only for a scant moment in time.  Then, we’d like to go home, drink a lot of water and go to bed.

But how much is too much?

There are many types of karaoke singers, and they all crave the love of the crowd.  Here they are, with pointers on how to handle them.

1. The “Look At How Much I Don’t Care That I Can’t Sing (hiccup)” Guy.
You know him well.  He’s young, possibly so young that this is his first time in a room full of adults with alcohol.  He’s so excited to be a part of the grown-up party that he wants you all to know that he’s gonna rip into Hotel California for the sole reason that it’s about a hotel in California, and he has no idea how long it is or how it goes.  He will also shout very loudly into the microphone, possibly damaging it.  He craves your attention because this is his moment, BAYBEE!  Check him out and buy him a shot! (Don’t.)

2. The “I Can’t Sing But If Somebody Buys Me A Drink I’ll Go Up” Chick.
I think it’s just great when a girl gets up there and clearly states, before her song even starts, that she has no idea how this song goes and she’s only up here because some guy dared her to do it.  Oh please. What’s he giving you for this?  A shot and his undivided attention?  You would have gotten this anyway by just sitting there and talking about shoes all night. Tell you what, I’ll give you ten dollars cash right now to put the microphone down and go put on a sweater for crying out loud.  This singer craves your attention because she craves everybody’s attention all the time (and tragically, she is crucial to the karaoke bar ecosystem).

3. The “I’m Gonna Do My Old Standard Even Though I Clearly Have No Grasp Of It” Guy.

A personal favorite.  When the evening began, he remembered he wanted to do that same old chestnut he tackles from time to time, because THIS TIME it’s gonna be GREAT.  Seven beers later, he’s lucky if he can remember how legs work and he stumbles his way through a song you used to really enjoy a few minutes before he began.  But he’s happy he got through it, you’re happy YOU got through it, and NEXT TIME, he’s gonna be GREAT.  He craves your attention because this is all he has, and he needs you to justify that for him one more time, he’d really appreciate that. (Go ahead and high five him gently, then help him back to his stool.)

4. The “Bachelorette Party” Chicks.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory.  Pour any gaggle of women together in a large shaker with two gallons of Appletini and serve over ice.  Regardless of the event they’re here to celebrate, the eight of them will undoubtedly get up there with two mikes, and the two holding the mikes won’t sing or think to hold the mike in front of the ones who do, but there will be at least one part of the song they all know, and they will make up for their earlier silence by yelling that part extra loud directly into your brain.  They crave your attention because SHOTS! BRITNEE JUST TURNED 22!! (Clap politely for them, but keep your distance at all other parts of the evening, because drunk women are even more dangerous in packs.)

5. The “Deep Cuts” Guy.
He’s a great singer, and has amazing range, but you’ll never know that, because you have no idea what this song is.  He craves your attention but wants it to be “earned” by doing the b-side from a single that was only released in Slovakia in 1975.  (He gets a nod and a “nice job,” but he’ll be back again, digging even deeper, because we deserve to hear what Emerson Lake & Palmer were doing before they got all “commercial.”)

6. The “Discover Me” Chick.
This is Jewel in disguise, look it up.
She’s amazing.  She’s incredible.  She’s completely unaware of the fact that nobody here can help her with her career, and she is waiting patiently to be noticed by a major record label, or at least a dude with a cell phone camera and a YouTube account.  She craves your attention only if you know someone who knows someone who works at Warner Brothers. (Applaud her, but don’t approach her unless you offer her a business card first.)

7. The “Game-Show Host” Guy.
He knows his material, and he’ll make it sound great, often getting everybody looking his way involved by walking up to them or asking for some noise mid-way.  He may show up by himself, often wearing an ironic t-shirt or even one of those really obnoxious LED light-up shirts, just to get a reaction.  He can sing, and you’ll enjoy it, but it will undoubtedly leave a bad taste in your mouth because his entire performance just screams, “trying too hard.” He craves your attention because you are his only outlet for it, and if you ignore him, he will undoubtedly leave the bar in a huff and go home all upset like a girl.

Oh, crap.  I just described myself.

Um.. I think we’re done here.

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