Monday, July 15, 2013

No Business Like Show Business

It's been a while since I did a karaoke-esque post.  My experiences last night led me to reflect on some of the special circumstances that folks in the entertainment business have to deal with that would really be considered unusual or a double standard if applied elsewhere.  So I'm working on a Top list.  Let's see how far I get.

5 Annoying Personalities You Meet In Show Business

1.  The Spokesman/Spokeswoman

Think lawyer...just not as adept at lying.

Where he/she appears: Anywhere there's music being played.

The Spokesman/Spokeswoman is a person people like me are very familiar with.  I'm going to shift into DJ mode for this one.  I'm playing a set when out of nowhere Spokesman/Spokeswoman appears and tries to convince you to play a certain song or even switch your genre.

Typical lines: "Everybody in hear wants to hear this.", "All my friends are here and they'd go NUTS if you played this.", "The girls in here would go crazy if you played this." (You get the picture by now)

Why they're lame: Because they have absolutely NO idea how to read a crowd and see where the music takes them.  Give them what they want and they'll be the only person jamming in the middle of the dance floor while a confused crowd stares at you wondering exactly what just happened.  Also because they put forth no effort to get such song played (i.e. bribery).  And if the crowd is really hype it's going to take a damn good bribe to put that song up.

2.  The Creep

Where he/she appears: Typically the owner or the manager of the establishment

When I say 'creep' I'm actually referring to scope creep.  But yeah, given what The Creep does the definition you were thinking of works too.  Everyone in the business has had to deal with The Creep at one point or another.  What The Creep does is attempt to change the scope of your agreement  based on what events transpired over the night.  It usually results in them trying to pay you less for the gig.  It's a weird double standard because The Creep treats live entertainment like an odd job.  It's like hiring security for a night and deciding  you shouldn't pay them because nobody showed up.

Typical lines: "If I paid what you asked for you'd be making more than I made tonight.", "You brought in less people than you said you would."

Why they're lame: Because they want the big score but they aren't willing to pay for it.  Live entertainment is not cheap to provide.  People who do live entertainment generally make very little for their services.  What's more, The Creep eventually gets blackballed by the rest of the local entertainment so he/she has to start bringing in more out of town acts eventually costing THEM more.

3.  The Memory Hog
C'mon, you know you were thinking it.

Where he/she appears:  Mostly at karaoke, but may also appear at live bands

I have a confession to make. I'm horrible with names.  I recognize faces very well but names come and go.  Hey I have to work with dozens of people a night for karaoke.  Just gimme a break and I'll get your name right all night long.  The Memory Hog doesn't like to play this.  They expect me to remember who they are every time they see me...and are genuinely offended if I don't.  Even worse some of them want me to remember what they sing.  Yeah, good luck with that buddy. 

Typical lines: "I was here last week!", "I was here last month!", "I was here last year!".

Why they're lame: Because they expect me to have eidetic memory.  True some singers stand out more than others.  True I do remember some names to a T.  But I'm only human and if you're the average visitor to karaoke I have very little incentive to remember who you are beyond the night you actually visit.  Maybe if you dropped something into my tip jar every now and again I'd have an easier time remember you. ;)

4.  The Backup or The Collaborator

Where he/she appears: Anywhere there's access to a microphone

So you've got your formula for how things should progress for the night when into your life walks The Backup (or The Collaborator...pick your favorite).  What this person wants is to do what you do without actually knowing any of the technical particulars.  If you have a spare microphone, you'll be forced to hide it or turn it off because this person will insist on being your frontman/frontwoman ALL NIGHT LONG.

Typical lines: "Let me get on the mic man, I'll hype up this crowd for you!", "Yo, just let me hold on to this mic.  I'll blow you up!"

Why they're lame: Because you're not part of the show.  You'll never be part of the show.  In fact, with you as part of the show now you're not part of the show.  What you are is annoying and killing my timetable.  Now I'm not a dick.  I'll humor you for a couple sets.  But a back and forth dynamic doesn't just happen.  It takes practice and seeing as you're not here every night and I won't be paying you to maybe you should just go practice and home.

5.  The Fifth Wheel
Some kinds of trucks are referred to as fifth wheel trucks.  This is absolutely useless trivia that I stuck in here so I could put in a picture.

Where he/she appears: Mostly at band events, but can also show up at karaoke

From what I hear this rides a fine line between awesome and lame.  We're going with the lame angle here.  The Fifth Wheel  is the aspiring musician who inexplicably produces and instrument during your event and insists and playing with you.  The key word here is 'aspiring'.

Typical lines: "Hey, I brought my *instrument*.  Can I jam with you?", *says nothing and starts playing on the side*

Why they're lame: Because they're horning in on your paying gig to express what for them at this point is a hobby.  Not to mention it's kinda rude.  If you want to jam with the band, ask them if you can come over to their studio when they're practicing.  And for pete's sake don't bring an instrument to karaoke.  It makes you look like a douche and you're taking time from people who want to sing badly.

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