Improv 101 — Lounge Lizards

Whenever I introduce this game to new kids, I always tell them that this will either be their favorite game or the bane of their existence. Personally, this is one of my worst games by virtue of the lack of life experience I have that this game requires, but it’s always a lot of fun as long as you have a few people that know what they’re doing.

Lounge Lizards is a singing game. The beauty of this one is that this can be played with any number of people, though the less you have the more skill is required in order to make things entertaining for an audience. The concept is simple: one person is singing, and as they sing, somebody else cuts them off and starts singing a completely new song with the last word the original person sang. Imagine one song fading out as another fades in, and the pivot point is that one word they both have in common. You can cut people off mid lyric, or start singing a new song mid lyric. If you’re playing with enough people, you might also want to call ‘Freeze’ to tell them to stop singing before you begin.

This game can be played as elimination (taking out people that can’t think of a song or mess up) or just for fun. Since its so simple and can be played with so many people, there are so many ways you can play it, it can easily be tailored to the group playing.

The reason many people may not like this game is because you have to be at least somewhat okay with singing in front of people. I used to hate the very idea, but being a part of improv so long has made me not care. This still isn’t my favorite game, but only because most of the songs I listen to don’t have lyrics, aren’t in English, or are heavy metal, meaning I can’t sing most of the stuff I know and thus I am terrible at it.

When I introduce this game to people, I often force them to sing. They may hate me, but leaving your comfort zone is often a good thing, and sometimes people just need a nudge. If you’re as unfamiliar with songs as I am, though, there is a hint I tell people: Pretty much every song in the universe contains the word I, You, or Love. If you’re not savvy enough with songs to think of them on the fly, its okay to think of a song you know and simply wait for the other person to say one of those really prevalent words. If you do play this way, however, it should probably be with a large group of people, as when you’re playing elimination style with a time limit it probably won’t be enough to ‘wait’ for the word you want.

And that’s it. That’s the whole game: sing songs, cut people off and start new songs with the same words. Change the rules or make up new ones depending on how you want to play and how many people you have.

Whenever this game is brought up for the first time, the ‘riff off’ from Pitch Perfect is always brought up. It actually is pretty much the same thing, as in the scene they cut off people and start singing new songs (only this game doesn’t necessarily have a ‘category’ they must pick their song from). The biggest difference is that when you’re playing Lounge Lizards, you’re not going to have an acappella group as backup, you’ll be singing one person at a time. This means the game won’t seem nearly as good as the scene in the movie, but it’s an unfair comparison. Also, I put the link to the scene here, but also very slight content warning. (One of the categories they use is ‘Songs about sex’.)

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