Darrin Granter – If you look at any Muppet production throughout the years, one thing you will find common in almost every single one is music. Whether it’s The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, or any one of countless TV specials and movies, music is featured prominently.
This is where I come in with my particular expression of Muppet Fandom. You see, for the past couple of years, I’ve become somewhat enthralled with the social activity known as Karaoke. Most of us have probably been at a karaoke bar at least once in our lives, as a spectator if not a participant. It’s like no other form of entertainment, as it instigates active participation from the same audience it’s trying to entertain. No matter how talented your voice may be, Karaoke encourages you to express yourself musically.
When I started attending my current Karaoke venue, I was pleasantly surprised to find a few Muppet songs on their extensive playlist. “The Rainbow Connection,” “Bein’ Green” and “The Muppet Show Theme” were all listed(among a few others), and I looked forward to trying these out. I started out singing some more mainstream songs, as a way to build myself up. But before I sang my first Muppet song, I noticed that they also had the Muppet version of Bohemian Rhapsody. This was it. I had to try this out as soon as possible.
Wearing a Kermit T-shirt and hat, I signed up for two songs. “The Rainbow Connection” and “Bohemien Rhapsody.” I honestly don’t recall which one I sang first, but I do recall being somewhat nervous that the songs wouldn’t be well received with an adult audience, especially those who had been drinking. But my fears were put to rest as I received a respectable amount of applause for both songs. It certainly helped a lot that I had a number of close friends there to support me.
As the weeks went on, my Karaoke visits became more and more frequent, until they started to become almost weekly. I would mix up my song selections with Muppet songs and mainstream songs, as I did not want to become too repetitive with relatively few Muppet songs to choose from.
Then, while checking their latest song list update, I saw they had added “Man Or Muppet.” Just like when the Academy Award nominations were publicized, I was somewhat surprised to see this song announced before “Life is a Happy Song.” But I still loved the song, and looked forward to trying it out. I decided to invite my friend Kate along to be my duet partner for the song. She was not unfamiliar to Karaoke, but not at this particular venue. We even used the alias “Wayne and Wanda” when signing up for the song. She changed up the lyrics a bit to suit her gender for her part, and it went pretty smoothly.
Also it was that song that also inspired what would become my regular Karaoke alias, “Muppet Man.” Every week I would show up with one of my Muppet hats and one of my many Muppet T-shirts. Occasionally I might wear a non-Muppet shirt, but I always make sure to the hat is still present. I also started actively searching out for other Muppet songs for Karaoke. The people that do the Karaoke are very good about buying requested songs. But they will only get officially released Karaoke versions (no bootlegs). And I was able to track down some more Muppet songs, including the long anticipated “Life is a Happy Song.” I sent them an e-mail with links to purchase the songs and true to their word, they bought them.
And for my most recent birthday, I decided to go one step further. I borrowed my friend Doug’s Muppet Whatnot, and used him for my song selections that evening including a clever Rick-Roll(look it up if you don’’ know what that means).
So that’s the story of my journey as a Muppet Karaoke fan. Hopefully I’ve inspired some of you to try a Muppet song at your next Karaoke visit.