Monday, June 2, 2014

Everybody Was Karaoke Ranting

Hah!  See what I did there?  Meh, probably not.  This'll help:

But look at that I've managed to burn this much space and I haven't even gotten into what this entry is about.  Obviously, it's my karaoke rant.  It's actually been quite a while since I posted anything karaoke related in my blog, so let me just jump right into the ranting.

1. I've had a rash of people in related fields (including other karaoke hosts) visit my show.  Most of them are ok.  I do like meeting other KJs and even DJs.  A lot of them though don't know their boundaries.  Last night for instance I had this one older fellow who decided he wanted to designate himself as the Official Intro/Hypeman for everybody.  I have another friend.  I love him to death but when he gets drunk he palms a mic and does pretty much the same thing.  All of them swear they're helping me.  They're all wrong.  What they ARE doing is burning valuable time where I could be getting someone on stage to sing.

2.  Guy #2 in #1 up there insists my show is "boring".  Which I guess is his nice way of saying I'M boring.  Honestly, I already knew this.  I'm not a showman and I don't pretend to be.  I'm a host and I know what my job is: a) Call people to the stage, b) Do my best to get them to sound good, and c) Encourage the audience to applaud them when they're finish.  Repeat steps a-c for each person.  Meanwhile manage a fair rotation that gives everyone a turn.  I know hosts who get chatty and don't seem to realize they have a long list of people who want to sing and not a whole lot of time to get them on stage.  Likewise I know hosts who insert themselves way too many times in the rotation.  The goal should be getting as many people on stage during the course of the night as possible.  I just came to the realization a long time ago that the show isn't about me, it's about YOU.

3.  Dancing on the bar.  Ain't nothing wrong with that.  Just don't do it around my equipment mmkay. :)

4.  Drinks near my equipment.  If you leave them there I WILL move them.  The only drinks I trust around my equipment are my own and even those are in peril.

5.  Freestylers, people who play instruments and people who want to sing their own songs.  Occasionally I'll allow it as long as the rotation is slow.  If I'm running the same 3 people over and over again, I don't mind.  If I'm managing a large rotation, forget about it.  I can't bump people who haven't even gotten on stage yet for karaoke for someone who's NOT SINGING KARAOKE.

6.  That doesn't mean I can't be bribed into it though.  This brings me to my tip jar.  I think my tip jar is the only tip jar where "tip jar" is just one of the functions it serves.  Let me elaborate:
  • In tip jar mode, it's just a tip jar.  Thanks for your appreciation. :)
  • In bribe jar mode, tips have the potential to get you on stage faster.  The bigger the tip, the quicker your turn comes.  Heck one guy tipped my my hourly rate once and I gave him and friends the VIP treatment.
  • Extra hour mode!  This mode is hidden.  I only tell very select people what this entails.  It's very simple.  If I make enough in tips to cover my hourly rate, I will (provided there's a crowd still there) stay an extra hour.  If the bribes add up then it's worth an extra hour too.

7.  Don't use the tip you left earlier to guilt me into doing stuff for you later.  If it was a really big tip, yeah I might allow it.  But $5 is only going to get you so far.  Also, tips you left at my last show count for nothing for this one.  Still love ya though. :)

8.  Don't tell me "I'm gonna take care of you".  When people are drunk they'll promise you the moon and back for their time to shine on stage.  Anytime I hear this I feel like the guy who let the hostages go before I actually got anything for them.

9.  I really pride myself on how I run a rotation.  I even have a few rules on how I work the rotation in the song books (which obviously nobody ever reads).  It's ok if you don't read them, I enforce them anyway.  Kind of how a cop will enforce rules you've probably never heard of.  That said, my rotation IS fallible.  Some of that things that buck my rules are bribes, people from St. John who need to catch the ferry, friends who know that you should only ask this favor of me if you really REALLY need it, sexual favors (hasn't happened yet but a boy can dream) and bribes.  Occasionally I'll do it for alcohol but I already have a free bar tab.  Some of the things that WON'T win my sympathy: a) I have to leave, b) My friends are leaving and I wanted them to hear my sing, c) I was outside when you called me.

10.  Don't ask me how you were.  My job is to encourage EVERYBODY. Even if you were bad I'll tell you you did good.  You get points for trying in this game.  Likewise, don't try to make me call anybody out for bad singing (because honestly bad singing is what karaoke is all about).  I do express some degree of excitement for really good singers when calling for their applause but I'd never comment on poor performance.  You tried.  I respect you for that.

11.  Occasionally, I will sing a song.  But on a busy night it's not unusual if I don't sing at all.  Like I said, this show is about YOU.  There's another reason I don't sing very often.  I'm trying to encourage people and it doesn't help if I show them I'm good at it.  Really good singers make it hard to get other people to sing.  I'm not saying I'M really good.  I don't suck, but I'm not great.  The going rule though is if you as the host rank in the top 10% of singers you shouldn't be singing.  Sometimes I'll sabotage myself with a bad song.  People are much more willing to sing after a bad song.

12.  Please treat my microphones as though they're little babies wrapped in swaddling clothes.  All that equipment you're using, it's mine.  I pay for it and if you drop and break it I sincerely doubt you'll contribute to its replacement.  Heck, some people aren't coherent enough to remember singing!  I know I don't make this easy seeing as I don't really have a safe place to rest microphones but at the very least put them back where you got them.  Also, DON'T keep the mics.  I need them for guests.  You ain't slick.  I know you want to jump in on somebody else's song and that's a no-no.

13.  I try to be as attentive as I can to everyone, but keep in mind that I don't have time for extended conversations while I'm working.  If you want to talk to me while I'm working, expect for me to break conversation frequently.

14.  No, I can't just pull the song off your phone and make it into karaoke.  It doesn't work that way.  No I can't plug your phone into my sound system.  If I'm feeling nice and we have WiFi I might find you the song on YouTube but you're going to be singing with all the vocals in it.

15.  I don't have any fricking room on my powerstrip to charge your phone!  I'll point you to where the free outlets are around the building so you can babysit it yourself.

16.  See where the speaker is?  Good.  Don't sing directly into it.  Speaker + microphone + your singing = FEEDBACK!  Also, kindly sing into the top of the microphone.  If you hold the mic to your chest nobody is going to hear you and no amount of my futzing with the volume is going to help.

17.  What's with all this screaming into the mic?!  Don't cop an attitude with me because I had to turn you down.

18. Don't name drop.  I don't care who you know.  Who you know doesn't affect what I'm doing.  And don't even tell me you're going to get me fired.  I didn't luck into this job.  There's a reason I'm the one doing it.

19.  Don't assume karaoke is what I do for a living.  I would like to.  Really I would.  However I like the security of my well paying 8-5 job (don't ask me how I like the actual job though).  Yes, I have a real job and I have to get to it right after karaoke.  Just one of the small sacrifices I make to show you guys a good time.  That said...

20.  Last one, I promise.  It's appropriate too.  It's something I like to call The One More Game.  When I decide the show is over (and you're not giving me a reasonable incentive to keep it going) it's over.  Opening it back up for one more song has DIRE consequences.  Right off the bat if I give you one more song, it plants the seed in everyone else's mind that I'm amenable to keeping the party going when I'm not.  Also keep in mind that if I make an exception for you there was a whole list of people I told no to and they'll be back to ask me why I let you sing but not them.  Ultimately my own sense of fair play gets into the mix and next thing you know I'm working for a free hour.  Nobody likes to work for free.  Nobody.

Aaaaaand that's my rant folks.  I'm sure I'll be back for another one in a year or so.  Got any karaoke rants?  Feel free to share.