The Blogtown Karaoke-a-Thon rolls on, visiting a different Portland karaoke hotspot every night and reviewing the best and worst places in town to sing your heart out. We also decided to ask the experts — the KJs who emcee the magic night after night — about what makes a karaoke performance a hit or a flop, how the hell they decide what song to put up next, and why it isn't yours. Next up is John Brophy, the KJ at Baby Ketten Karaoke.Baby Ketten different from other karaoke?
JOHN BROPHY: I love all the unique songs that we have, and all the people who come out that actually care about them. The singers here are badass. I love making new tracks every single week that no one would find anywhere else and having people who want to sing them. That makes us different. That and all the meowing.
What's the worst thing someone can do at karaoke?
Get pass out drunk.
I just want to recognize that, as we say this, you and I are both very drunk right now.
You can look at me, you know. You don't have to look at the microphone. It will keep recording. What would you say to people who think karaoke sucks?
Well, that depends. Do they think karaoke sucks because it has bad music? Because we've got that covered. Or do they think karaoke sucks because the singers are bad? We've got some really great singers. People who hate karaoke because they have fear in their face? I will punch it out of their face.
I never sang karaoke until I was like 25 because I was afraid.
If I had met you when you were 24 and 9 months I would have punched the fear out of your face. I would have done that.
[We talk about acid for five minutes]
John, do you know that you've been the most difficult of all the KJs I've tried to interview?
I feel like my nose is greasy. No, wait — not anymore. Write this down...
I don't need to write this down. I'm recording this, remember?
What do you think makes a performance at karaoke good?
Someone who cares. If someone really cares about a song, no matter how shitty it is, if they give it their all then that's awesome to me. Pick a song that you actually care about — not a song that you heard was the jam for singing at karaoke.
What do you wish people knew before they came to karaoke?
Is this knowledge they'd share with me?
Then the meaning of life.
OK, What do you wish people knew about karaoke before they came to karaoke?
I wish that they knew how to handle a mic. And I wish people knew that no matter what they sing — we love them no matter what.
So why do you do this? Why do you love karaoke?
It's good. It's fun.
Can you break that down a little further?
I don't think I can.
I think you can.
No, I can't. I'm a simple kind of man. [sings "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd] I'm so bad at this. Just make up whatever you want, it's ok.