The Ten Commandments of Karaoke With Colleagues
Etch these in stone, put them next to the water cooler, and remind the interns. By Sam Grobart
① It’s hard to get totally sober people to start singing. Spring your karaoke idea on coworkers after they’ve had a couple of drinks at the regular after-work local. They’ll be hogging the mic within the hour.
② Karaoke may seem like it’s about the person whose song is up, but it’s really just a big singalong. Get things started right by picking a crowd pleaser like We Built This City by Starship, Freedom! ’90 by George Michael, Waterfalls by TLC, or Ignition (Remix) by R. Kelly.
③ If you’re the boss, you can come to karaoke, but you have to leave after the first 30 minutes or if it looks like someone plans to stumble through I Touch Myself by the Divinyls— whichever comes first.
④ I Touch Myself is a bold move.
⑤ Given that office karaoke is, effectively, a team-building exercise (see No. 2), check your esoteric personal favorites at the door. No one wants to hear that deep cut from the Smashing Pumpkins; everyone wants to hear We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off by Jermaine Stewart.
⑥ Pick songs that speak to every generation, because
an office crowd is usually more diverse by age than
your group of friends. Young folks, remember, the senior gang may not share your affection for Ciara; old-timers, go easy on the Gordon Lightfoot, OK?
⑦ Nervous about belting one out in front of co-workers? Don’t worry—certain artists are failproof. You can speak your way through anything by Lou Reed. The Smiths lead singer Morrissey slides from note to note so much, you never actually have to land anywhere.
⑧ Before you started your job, were you a trained chanteuse? Were you the star of every high school musical? Keep your Equity card (and the cast album of Cats) to yourself. Just like in the office, it’s better to work well with others and not take yourself too seriously.
⑨ Keep that corporate card close by. Those pitchers of Sapporo add up faster than you think.
⑩ Discretion is the better part of valor on the day after karaoke. No need to relive the previous night when you get to the office. Just meet eyes with your fellow singers and exchange a knowing nod.