Every month or so, the Trocadero hosts a karaoke night with a strange, glorious gimmick. The host is Skeletor — as in would-be evil overlord of the universe frequently thwarted by He-Man — portrayed by actor and improvisational genius Carmen Martella III in full fluorescent-skull-head, purple-underpants costume. The Overlord of Karaoke rules with an iron fist, hitting a gong with his ram-skull staff to indicate that a singer has tried his patience long enough — sometimes, cruelly, after only a couple of seconds. Skeletor also torments the audience with his own evil versions of Phil Collins and Enrique Iglesias songs with lyrics like, “I will take / your breath away / (with my magic powers) / (and you’ll die).” Skeletor’s five-year anniversary show is this Friday, and sufficient groveling earned us an interview with the plague of Castle Grayskull himself.
City Paper: So, what are your opinions on Phil Collins?
Skeletor: (Gushingly.) He is one of the most evil songwriters that has ever lived. Actually, I wouldn’t say he’s evil — he just lurks in the back of your mind, and when you least expect it, he’s there, waiting for you. And he does have an invisible touch.
CP: You also have strong feelings about Billy Joel.
S: It’s an automatic gong. If you want to hear Billy Joel or Pearl Jam, just go in your car and turn on the radio.
CP: What else will get a person auto-gonged?
S: Anything from Grease. … Not the country, the musical.
CP: What do you have against Grease?
S: (Defensively.) Nothing, nothing! I have nothing against Grease. It’s just too painful. You have to keep your audience. Alive. For most of the show.
CP: Any recommendations for someone who wants to make it through a whole song without getting gonged?
S: Pick something absolutely cheesy, something you’d hear at the dentist’s office as you’re getting drilled — John Denver, Barry Manilow, you name it. The audience must be covered in hot, molten cheese. The slime pit has run dry, we have a molten cheese pit now.
CP: Could you talk about some of your own songs?
S: Oh, like Enrique Iglesias’ “Villain”? Well, I originally wrote that as “Villain,” but he took it and changed it to “Hero.”
CP: What a jerk!
S: Oh, there’s no hard feelings. All is fair in art and war.
CP: You also do one by Prince, right?
S: “Purple Chain”! Rather, I recommended that he call it “Purple Chain,” but Prince went and made it about rain. How many songs do we already have about rain — “Red Rain,” “Purple Rain” … Phil Collins does “I Wish You Would Rain Down,” but he doesn’t talk about colors.
CP: What songs are we likely to hear from you at the five-year anniversary show?
S: I’m a big fan of … what’s that song … the one that what’s-her-name did
CP: (Excitedly.) “Call Me Maybe”?
S: No! My goodness, no! … Adele, that’s it! But we can’t sing any Adele, she’s the new Billy Joel. I think the audience should know that by now.
CP: What are your feelings on American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman?
S: Oh, Christian Bale, the little boy from Empire of the Sun who became Bateman and then Batman! I’m spot-on with Bateman’s love of Phil Collins. But he doesn’t like Huey Lewis and the News. Or, rather, he likes Huey Lewis and the News, but he denies Huey Lewis and the News by the third cock’s crow! It’s like that thing in the Bible! That has to be one of my favorite scenes in all of cinema, when Willem Dafoe asks Christian Bale if he likes Huey Lewis and the News.
CP: How are you feeling about the upcoming election?
S: (Scornfully.) Oh, I don’t get involved with Earth politics, come on! I’m the ruler of the universe, I don’t care who’s in charge here!
CP: Are there any things you particularly don’t miss about living in Eternia?
S: That would have to be … Orko.
CP: We thought you would say that.
S: (Disgusted.) Of course it’s Orko. He’s so inept he should have been one of my minions; you’d have no idea if he was a double agent. I, Skeletor, will claim Orko!
Karaoke Gung Show five-year Anniversary, Fri., Oct. 5, 10:30 p.m., free, Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., 215-922-6888, thetroc.com.