Joey's Soapbox
July 4, 2000

W e have all seen in either magazines, Web pages such as this or in individual Karaoke Hosts song books, something with a title like ... "The Do's And Don'ts Of Karaoke". Here is another one ... "Karaoke Etiquette".

The entreaties by the Hosts seemed just a little one sided to me, when I was checking out the various Karaoke gigs in search of my evenings entertainment, to always put the onus of responsibility on me - the one who is the reason they were there.

Now, as a veteran K.J. (yeah right - for all of 2 years) - Okay, let's say as a new Host who has gone into what feels like major debt to provide good quality sound for my potential customers, I have a better feel for what concerns the other hosts had, but I still feel the other side of the coin should be advertized.

So here is what I have come up with. Feel free to write in and add to this list.

  • Mr./Ms. K.J., please DON'T sing out loud as I sing my song, but DO feel free if I ask you to pick up the Mic. to help. (GUILTY)

  • Also DON'T chat with co hosts or other customers so close to me since I find it so distracting. DO take them away from the 'stage area' and let me have the opportunity to do the best I can.

  • DON'T critique my singing or stage presence while I am performing the song. DO offer suggestions if I ask you.

  • If I ask, DO be helpfully honest. If I hit some bad notes, crucified the phrasing or could use to alter the key to enhance my performance, I would appreciate some gentle coaching, but DON'T utter the words,.. "WONDERFUL", while pasting on a false ear to ear grin to go with the glazed over look to your eyes.

  • DO feel free to use an APPLAUSE SIGN since I know that a few of us need a little prodding now and again. Besides, I don't know just how legal cattle prods are in the city, but please use it for EVERYONE OR NO ONE. DON'T make me feel conspicuous, since it probably took me quite a bit of courage to get up there in the first place. If you have to use it for me and I notice that it is only used for the .... ahem ... less than perfect performances. Or vice-versa, if I don't get one and I see you doing it only for those few who are hoping (for good reason) that there is an agent in the audience. Am I being too sensitive? Sorry, but I AM the reason you were hired, so it won't hurt to cater to me, will it.

  • While we are on the subject of Applause Signs, DO it just once! DON'T get them to clap as I come up, then while I sing and then again when I finish. It is so embarrassing when no sound emits because the audience has blisters on the palms of their hands. Need another reason? Okay, and maybe this is a bit obscure as far as reasons go, but there are quite a few out there who have arthritis, fibromyalgia or some other pain that repeated pounding of the upper limbs aggravates. I want to participate but respect my judgement in this.

  • Alright, I will get off the subject of Applause Signs after one more brief comment. DO use them, as I said, but DON'T try to make me feel guilty if I exercise my desire to curb clapping. Keep this in mind - Encourage, Don't Discourage.

  • The last one I could think of, ... what was that? A collective sigh of relief? Mr. Sound-man ..... (thought I was gonna leave you alone eh? Not a chance) ..... here is some advice. A few times during the course of the evening, DO LEAVE. Yes you read correctly, leave the room or leave the building during one of those songs that were made for washroom breaks. You know, invariably someone always sings Desperado, Bohemian Rhapsody or American Pie, so take advantage of it by leaving and letting your ear drums settle down. Just before the song ends, come back in and adjust the volume to something less than deafening. Besides, I am a firm believer that the excessive noise in bars or halls is a major factor in the decline of the art of communication in these establishments. DON'T forget that this noise desensitizes you to the volume.

  • Well, that's all I can think of and as I said, feel free to add to the list.


    Happy Warbling!

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