Can I Strip And/Or Use Offensive Language During a Karaoke Performance?

Karaoke_Gorman.jpg
Illustration by Mike Gorman
Karaoke can be a dangerous endeavor. What can you sing that won't make friends shun you? How can you go balls-out during your next performance? Each week in "Ask a Karaoke Host," RFT Music writer and professional karaoke host Allison Babka answers your burning questions about maximizing your melodious mutterings and minimizing your friends' pain. Ask her stuff by emailing rftkaraoke@gmail.com or hashtagging #rftkaraoke on Twitter.

See also:
-Ask a Karaoke Host archives
-Best Karaoke 2012: DD's Irish Pub & Karaoke

How many articles of clothing are too many to take off during a karaoke performance? -- Magic Mike

This seems to be a popular subject -- I'm often asked online and in person about karaoke nudity. I hate to disappoint you, but I've not had anyone take anything off at my bar -- yet (You volunteering?). My customers tend to be singers instead of performers, so they're relatively tame. Go to another area bar, though, and... well... let's just say I've heard stories.

That said, if you can pull off singing while simultaneously unbuttoning your dress shirt (t-shirt or tank top below) or hiking up your skirt (shorts or leggings underneath), I'm certainly not going to stop you. Pseudo-stripping is theatrical and fun, right? If you don't violate any indecent exposure laws, I'll be the one cheering the loudest.

What surprises you about the age demographics of karaoke? -- Hope I Die Before I Get Old

I think it all depends on the general demographics of your bar, really. My bar has a good showing of people in their 30s-50s, with some older and younger folks thrown in. Thus, I know that playing and performing 80s and 90s songs as a default will go over well.

I've been surprised to find, though, that once these customers guzzle some liquid courage, they'll venture outside of their age demographics when selecting songs. When this happens, the older folks sing current pop music (One of my regulars does "Call Me Maybe) and the 20-somethings sing oldies ("Runaround Sue" is a hit every week). I don't pretend to understand it, but it's fun for me because I can slot different genres "sets" and keep the night moving.


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11 comments
DivaKatrina
DivaKatrina

@AMBabka I'll be making it down to stl if the Cards make it to the Series again! #karaoke #stlcards #rftkaraoke

chowspecial
chowspecial

@AMBabka @rftmusic I stripped to reveal a magic markered "lai" to this song at a Chinese karaoke contest and LOST... http://t.co/VVgO8sXD

videocrime
videocrime

For raps, especially Dre-era gangsta rap, it is effective to use the word "chicken" in place of the usually-prosribed N-word. You can also substitute the word "nickel" though a mis-hearing of that might cause you harm.

Ed_Cunard
Ed_Cunard

Your column reminds me, @AMBabka, of the night I stripped at karaoke.

AMBabka
AMBabka

@divakatrina Ooooh, which days are you planning to be here? Be in town for #Fraileyween! http://t.co/1fmAGLBo #karaoke #stl

rftmusic
rftmusic

@chowspecial @ambabka THAT IS PREPOSTEROUS! RECOUNT! You are a karaoke legend.

allison.babka
allison.babka topcommenter

 @videocrime I'd not heard that tip before and no one has used it at my bar. I'll try suggesting it. Thanks!

AMBabka
AMBabka

Do tell! No one strips when I host! RT @ed_cunard: Your column reminds me, @AMBabka, of the night I stripped at #karaoke.

DivaKatrina
DivaKatrina

@AMBabka Very cool...it's possible!! #Fraileyween #karaoke #stl

AMBabka
AMBabka

@ed_cunard Forgive me. My brain is 100% addled and on overdrive this week. I likely will remember Friday afternoon when I can breathe. :(

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