Lip Sync For Your Life

For some unknown reason, I am a fan of lip syncing. Since I’ve been a kid, I’ve been amused by people mouthing along to popular songs. Perhaps this is because at an early age I realized that I have absolutely no musical talent and lip syncing allowed me to pretend for a brief moment that I actually could sing. Whatever the reason, there is nothing that I find more hilarious than someone busting out a lip sync routine. It just hits my particular sweet spot.

I don’t know if my fascination with lip syncing predates the 80s TV show Puttin on the Hits, but that talent competition definitely solidified my interest. It’s hard to believe that there used to be a weekly competition where people would lip sync on national television, but it did indeed happen. The eighties were a different time. Part of the fun of the show wasn’t just that people were lip syncing, but seeing the costumes and theater that they brought to something as simple as pretending to sing a song. People really went all out and really committed to this foolishness; it was immensely entertaining for an eight year old little girl and played right into my creative side. I do love me some pageantry and commitment to a theme. You don’t even want to know how far down the YouTube rabbit hole that I fell looking for clips from the show.





I assure you, I had a “Material Girl” concept all planned out in my young brain that would have brought the house down. That sh*t would have KILLED. In the spirit of full disclosure, though I obviously never competed on Puttin on the Hits, I did put on numerous lip syncing shows for my family and my parents’ friends. Thank God my family didn’t have a camcorder when I was growing up.

You’d think I would have outgrown this weird fascination, but that absolutely did not happen. Though lip syncing was harder to come by after Puttin on the Hits went off the air on 1988, I still occasionally stumbled upon it – mostly in talent shows or at concerts where the artist was not supposed to be lip syncing, but obviously was. YouTube helped fill the void a bit; any given night you can discover all sorts of people lip syncing. I must have watched the Harvard baseball team lip sync “Call Me Maybe” a hundred times (I wish I was exaggerating). One of the reasons that I dug RuPaul’s Drag Race, other than its obvious awesomeness, was because contestants facing elimination had to “lip sync for their life” to stay on the show. Lip syncing with consequences? Sign me up!


This is how we should settle all conflicts.

Jimmy Fallon proved that he can read my mind in 2013 when he and John Krasinski introduced a new bit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – the lip sync battle. Just when I thought that I couldn’t love Fallon any more, he pulls this out of the hat. That dude just gets me. And how freaking adorable is Krasinski in this?


Fallon brought the bit back with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stephen Merchant and Paul Rudd and it continued to be awesome. Frankly, if I had my way, they would be doing this every week.

Up until last night, the lip sync battles have been a boys club; no female guest has participated. But in striking a win for feminists everywhere, Emma Stone changed all that last night by stepping into the lip sync octagon. She was great – and bonus points for using a song from Blues Traveler. I don’t care if everyone else hates them; that band reminds me of college.


I’m glad that lip syncing is enjoying a bit of a renaissance thanks to RuPaul and Jimmy Fallon; I really don’t foresee a time when the sight of people – especially celebrities – lip syncing won’t make me happy. If Fallon ever does an audience lip sync battle, I’m ready. I’d hate to see my epic “Material Girl” routine go to waste.

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