As an actor, singer, and comedian Weird Al Yankovic has seen and done just about everything. He’s poked fun at the King of Pop, starred in his own movie, and wrote a children’s book, all while maintaining his quirky – mostly annoying – sense of humor.
In the 35 years he’s been at it he’s quietly put together a solid resume, which unbelievably includes three Grammys and six platinum albums. He is the quintessential ‘B-list’ celebrity. And as crazy as it sounds, a future lock for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Much of his success has to do with timing. He was a fixture during the ’80s, and greeted every major pop star with his brand of green slime humor. MTV was the only outlet and nobody came close to what he was doing. And then the ’90s hit, and he exploded with two of his biggest hits “Smells Like Nirvana” and who could forget “Amish Paradise:” [LISTEN]
A local boy kicked me in the butt last week
I just smiled at him, and I turned the other cheek
I really don’t care, in fact I wish him well
‘Cause I’ll be laughin’ my head off when he’s burnin’ in hell
After a while it did get old. YouTube all of sudden became a playground for people like Al, and then seemingly overnight he just disappeared. There were albums in between, but no one seemed to care. So when he decided to release eight music videos over the course of eight days in promotion of his newest album Mandatory Fun it was shocking to see just how much attention he got.
Maybe it’s the sheer workload or audacity of such an undertaking, perhaps even a calculated play at nostalgia, but one things is for certain – nothing has changed about Weird Al, not one bit. He’s still a corny hustle dork that is somehow kind of comforting – a reminder of the days when you were allowed to sit two inches away from the TV eating PB&J in nothing but your jammies.
On the album (his 14th) he takes a shot at some of the most popular artists of our day - Iggy Azalea, Lorde, Pharrell and Imagine Dragons amongst others. And he does it well, without mocking anyone but himself really, and in one case opening up an avenue for a whole new career.
“Word Crimes” (a spoof of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines“) is goofy, but at the very least informative and engaging. It screams of Schoolhouse Rock!, which could be a new outlet for him to explore because Weird Al’s humor has always been geared to the young at heart: [LISTEN]
I read your e-mail
It’s quite apparent
Your grammar’s errant
The timing and distribution of Mandatory Fun is pretty spot on – he knows the fickle nature of the internet so he’s bombarding it with consecutive projects. It’s not terribly interesting or funny, but it is a reminder that in America you can make a living off of damn near anything so long as you’re committed and know exactly who you are inside.