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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

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 (like an all-polyester leisure suit or 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.

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.


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  • 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).

    Films — 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 hooks up with a female lounge singer — though she’s not noticeably bad at her job.
  • 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, which is a model for many instances of this trope — but Tom Jones is a good singer.
  • 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 Dan Cortese portraying one while singing "Jolly Green Giant."

    Live-Action TV 

  • "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 and Fishing with John fame) are named after this term but have absolutely nothing to do with it otherwise.
  • Depeche Mode's "It's No Good" has lead vocalist Dave Gahan playing a sleazy lounge singer in its music video.


    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • When the protagonist and title character of Melody go to see Melody’s favorite band, this seems to be the future of the opening act. The two of them agree that this band is going nowhere.

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

    Western Animation 
  • In The Brothers Grunt, there's an Asian lounge singer dressed as David Byrne who is...very bad at his job.
  • The DuckTales 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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