Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friends don't let friends sing sober

Been jonesin' for karaoke lately, or so I've been saying. What does this actually mean? That I simply haven't been in a while, or that I recently discovered a great song I'd like to sing? It means nothing.
Wong made it up to my place in time to see both kids put to bed. We hit the streets at around 9:00, and headed straight for the Korean joint on 32nd St., which is apparently called "Chorus Music Studio." I'm still not entirely sure where it is, even though I've been there at least fifteen times.

Wong's a karaoke purist at heart, but always willing to slum it at second-rate K-joints for the sake of the song. This place is totally weird: complementary cheese balls, a communal sink, and a framed Before and After Science out in the hallway. One has the absolutely same experience every time one goes here, whether one knows it or not.

I showed up armed with several aces up my sleeve, including "Here Comes the Rain Again," "Cocaine," and "Money for Nothing," none of which were available to perform. I threw down a tenner for 6 bullshit K-tickets and started the utterly pathetic charade of looking for songs in the binder. Like the addict ransacking his dresser drawers for that miracle stash, this search is invariably fruitless. I settled on "Nights in White Satin" and a Springsteen and bought myself a Diet Coke.

We submitted at around 10:00, and were still twiddling our pickles at 11:30pm. To make matters worse, the same five or six lame-o's were prancing around singing about 85% of the night's material. I asked the KJ/barwench about where we were on the evening's docket, and she chop-talked something about "ten more songs."

What she didn't clarify is that we would always be ten more songs away from singing. The only thing keeping us from going on a murderous rampage through the karaoke complex was the presence of the Daily Show's Rob Riggle (pictured above) and John Oliver on the couch next to us. Rob sang a few numbers and was a generally good sport about things... he didn't seem to mind that I air-tazered him every time he walked by us. He appreciated my cleverness, no doubt.

After complaining like a couple of losers, we finally got our moment just before midnight. Wong spent most of the evening watching the two microphones like a hawk, performing endless sound-analyses comparisons between each mic. I had every confidence in his ability to not only identify and select the superior sounding microphone in a split second, but also to share his information. There was no way I was going to sing Bruce through a wool sweater.

Wong picked the wrong mic for his opening rendition of "Jump"-- this became apparent when his usually spot-on Rothian yelps came across like smothered gerbils. Wong commandeered the good mic right before the beginning of the second verse-- a point of no return if there ever was one. Wong salvaged the song, but moved our small group from "hey, those jerks over there that keep ruining our songs can actually sing!" to "those jerks aren't even all that good."

I did far worse than Wong, delivering an anemic "Dancing in the Dark" that actually left me gasping for air. I can't fucking believe how out of shape I am.

I broke the only rule of Karaoke that actually matters by not drinking all night. Alcohol is the best (although not only) way to mask the horrors of karaoke: sad and talentless people pretending to be happy and possess talent. And if you've ever been sober when a genuinely happy person that actually can sing gets called to the mic, then you're not reading this because you're being hospitalized for severe depression. Never, I repeat never, go to a karaoke bar without drinking at least five drinks. Never.

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