Last night, I put on a happy face and ventured out to a birthday celebration of a co-worker, with other co-workers and their significant others. I'm lucky enough to work with some of the coolest, funniest and craziest women I have ever met, so I knew that no matter what, in the end, I would have to admit I had a fantastic time, as per usual. I was a bit weary about where we were headed to though, and as many of my friends know, I have a wee problem with a certain form of entertainment that has spiralled out of control in this fair City.
In my mind, a night of Kareoke should be a total laugh-riot, dancing and guffawing the night away, listening to drunken clowns belt out classic tunes that everybody has a soft spot for and can sing along to. You cheer on the tone-deaf girls with no rhythm, and rock out with the guys who belt out their best renditions of Axl Rose or Mick Jagger just to pretend for one night that they are rockstars, and not a Gen-X drone working for the man. Everyone is happy, scrappy, and insanely untalented.....but it's all good fun.
A few years ago, my clique of friends went through a kareoke phase. They headed out on the town to whichever bar was hosting the sing-a-long that night, sang a few songs, drank too many beers, and didn't leave 'til they had sung all the songs they requested. I went along for the ride quite often, even got up and sang when I had enough liquid courage in me on a few occasions. But after awhile, I began to notice that although we were regular kareoke-goers, there was a whole other clique that gave the air of professionalism in their stage performances, and never missed a high note, and had their rockstar moves down-pat. And once they made their presence known, some of my clique also started to become kareoke snobs, and that was that for me. I never went again. I felt inferior and got a strange pang of guilt every time I found myself enjoying the people whom couldn't carry a tune, but had a whole lot of soul. I will compliment someone on their talent and give credit where credit is due, but as my friend Miss Dreadlock said last night..."These people really take the fun out of singing Kareoke!".
And she's right. That's what I have been thinking for years. A group of friends, like the group I was with last night, who are just out for a good time, to make asses of themselves, and have a laugh-riot while singing out of tune to songs they don't even know the words to, just do not feel totally welcome, amongst the regular Kareoke Clique. You feel them judging you , and you know that they are not impressed by your Axl Rose impression, or your Running Man during the interlude. Not that I care all that much, but after a few hours of snotty, judgmental looks after you make your friends laugh their heads off, you realize that the fun is being sucked out of the art that is Kareoke.
I realize though, that for the members of The City's Kareoke Clique, practicing that same Top 40 song all week, getting everything just right, and heading out to a dingy bar to showcase their talents is a self-esteem boosting part of their lives, and for one night they get to pretend that they are a rockstar, a folk singer or a contestant on Canadian Idol. And good for you, whomever you are.
But I just want to make an ass out of myself and butcher some Carly Simon, so leave me be. Leave your judging eyes at home, and remember that some people really don't care if they are any good, and they don't care how good you are either. They just want to have fun with their friends, and clap and cheer for y'all.
Now go practice your Running Man.