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Lounge Lizard

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Thank God you don't have to hear him.

Ryan Stiles: Thank God you're here, Captain Lounge Act.
Colin Mochrie: [puts on smarmy face] Have you ever felt it as hot as this. It's amazing, isn't it? And where are you from?
Greg Proops: There's no time for that! The temperature's getting too hot! Can't you see?
Colin Mochrie: [singing horribly off key] It's too hot!
Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Superheroes
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For decades, clubs and hotel and airport lounges have hired singers for entertainment. In the 1960s and 1970s, a lot of them incorporated the jazzy style of singers like those in the Rat Pack.

Now according to Sturgeon's Law, some were better at this than others.

In the world of fiction, not only does that 90% rule apply, but it seems that lounges give this job almost exclusively to people (sometimes Casanova Wannabes) who are not only insufferably smarmy, but their fashion sense (particularly a Tacky Tuxedo) seems to have a bet with their singing and facial hair to see which can be more godawful.

Some standards for this character include The Love Boat theme.

Yet this seems to be mostly that way in comedy, where it's meant to be a caricature. A club singer who simply appears in the background will likely be much better than you'd expect in real life.

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Note that this has very little to do with the original twentieth-century meaning of "lounge lizard" in British English (a sleazy, would-be "sophisticated" seducer, with implications of social-climbing), though the two can overlap.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Comic Books 
  • Lucifer averts this in The Sandman - several characters remark on how very good he is. (It doesn't hurt that he knows things like the songs Cole Porter only ever played for close personal friends and such.)

     Film (Animated) 
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     Film (Live Action) 
  • A subplot in Ernest Goes to Camp concerns a Lethal Chef with Mad Scientist tendencies trying to perfect a dish called "Eggs Erroneous" (which doubles as high explosives). In The Stinger, he force-feeds the final batch to his assistant, who is transformed into a lounge singer.
  • In Lost in Translation, Bob nearly hooks up with a female lounge singer.
  • Give 'Em Hell, Malone: Frankie the Crooner spends his time badly singing to either a disinterested club crowd or the senile residents of a retirement home.
  • Freddy Fredrickson, singer of the lounge hit "Mr. Downtown", in the movie That Thing You Do!.
  • Mars Attacks! ends with Tom Jones singing "It's Not Unusual" in his stage-act garb.
  • In Airplane II: The Sequel, Stryker is trying to escape from prison and is dodging the guards' searchlights. In one searchlight beam he sneaks around, a Vegas performer is singing The Love Boat theme.
  • When Joliet Jake and Elwood are trying to put The Band back together in The Blues Brothers, a group of former band members has put together a lounge act (Murph and the Magictones), complete with amplifiers upholstered in thick red shag carpeting. "Murph" seems to have fully embraced the Lounge Lizard trope; the others appear to be going along with it mostly because hey, a paycheck is a paycheck.
  • In Repo Man, The Circle Jerks appear As Themselves as a lounge band.
  • In Demolition Man the Taco Bell has a guy singing the "Jolly Green Giant" song.

     Live Action Television 
  • Lorne from Angel (not quite an actual lizard, but a green scaly demon) turns out to be a subversion. He sings in a club, and dresses the part, but while he at times makes some questionable/dated choices of songs, he is actually quite a good singer (and "Spin The Bottle" shows he can play the piano as well) who at one point has a fairly successful career in Las Vegas (he had huge numbers of fans, even if he did end up being kidnapped and imprisoned) and has released at least one album. He's also a Nice Guy who isn't really smarmy or sleazy and is much more intelligent than first impressions might suggest. Also, no facial hair.
    • Even the Impossibly Tacky Clothes are downplayed. During performances, he often wears something painfully sparkly, but the rest of the time he tends to wear suits that wouldn't be too bad if not for the overly bright colours. (Like this: [1]) They tend not to have the cheap, ill-fitting look of more stereotypical examples.
  • One of these (wearing a truly awful suit) sings during the opening credits of The Fast Show.
  • Bill Murray's character, Nick Winters, on Saturday Night Live is probably the quintessential portrayal of this. In one episode, he murders the Star Wars theme With Lyrics. In another episode, Murray wore a leisure suit that matched the wallpaper.
  • Vic Fontaine in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is played by singer James Darren.
  • This is the job of the main characters' mother in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. She does, however, dress fashionably for every show, is good looking, and is actually a good singer.
  • Occasionally turns up in the "greatest hits" game on Whose Line Is It Anyway?. The page quote is from "Superheroes", and other games dip into it on occasion, like "Scenes From A Hat":
  • Frasier: "The Barracuda", an incredibly slimy Latino cruise ship crooner with whom Maris nearly sleeps.
  • Taxi had Andy Kaufman's character Latka to have multiple personalities, one of them being Vic Ferrari (an Expy of his Tony Clifton alter ego), who ironically was relatively normal-dressed compared to other examples.
  • Its A Living was about the wait staff at a restaurant and also one of these, Sonny.

    Music 
  • "Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine" is a band that plays many types of songs, including rock and metal as if they're lounge music. It's all done for the lulz, of course.
  • Pat Boone released a 1997 album titled "In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy," in which he covered metal songs in his signature style.
  • The term lends its name and music style to the satirical band The Austin Lounge Lizards.
  • Even The Beatles got into this, with John Lennon and Paul McCartney suddenly adopting sleazy nightclub personae about a third of the way through "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)".
  • "America Drinks & Goes Home" by The Mothers of Invention.
  • Avant-Garde Jazz/Rock outfit The Lounge Lizards (headed by John Lurie of Down by Law fame) are named after this term but have absolutely nothing to do with it otherwise.

     Stand Up Comedy 
  • Andy Kaufman's Alter-Ego Acting character Tony Clifton is a particularly repellent version. Since Andy always presented/claimed him as a separate person, Tony engendered true hatred from audiences who didn't know he was a character (which was Kaufman's goal).

    Theatre 

     Video Games 

     Web Original 
  • Sockbaby. We don't know if Ronnie Cordova can sing, but he dresses the part.

     Western Animation 
  • The DuckTales (1987) episode "The Uncrashable Hindentanic" was a pastiche of 1970s disaster films, complete with an actual lizard being a lounge lizard.
  • Subverted in Rocko's Modern Life, where Filburt turns out to be a fairly good singer — though he is a turtle, not a lizard.
    • Played straight with his idols, who are actual lizards.


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