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March 23, 2010 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
posted by Greg Nog (82 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ha.
posted by phrontist at 8:35 AM on March 23, 2010


"You're all a bunch of slaves!!!" totally made me laugh out loud.
posted by josher71 at 8:35 AM on March 23, 2010


NO WAI?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:36 AM on March 23, 2010


Awesome.
posted by kanata at 8:36 AM on March 23, 2010


You know, as a kid, I was a huge fan of Weird Al. I had all of his albums at least through Smells Like Nirvana. This parody is kind of funny, and I dig the Dr. Demento plug, but I'd be genuinely interested in a Behind The Music on Weird Al.
posted by KGMoney at 8:37 AM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Weird Al playing a parody of himself is pretty hard to wrap my head around. Also sometimes I wonder what Patton Oswalt does all day.
posted by Damn That Television at 8:38 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weird Al and Wilde Ol

I'll buy that for a dollar.
posted by chavenet at 8:42 AM on March 23, 2010


Weird Al doesn't play Al in this, Aaron Paul does. Also: this is amazing.
posted by nitsuj at 8:43 AM on March 23, 2010


As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grain
posted by sallybrown at 8:43 AM on March 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


but I'd be genuinely interested in a Behind The Music on Weird Al.

You know that totally exists right?
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on March 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


KGMoney: VH1 did do a real "Behind the Music" on Weird Al. It was kind of boring, because there was no dirt to dig up on him.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:48 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unless my eyes fool me, Weird Al does appear as the record exec, however.

Gary Cole rocks, by the way; I came to that realization recently when re-watching an episode from Chuck Season 2 where he appears as Sarah's father.

I only "recognized" Olivia Wilde when I saw her credit. Strange, as I see her perform so often on House.
posted by The Confessor at 8:50 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really love how he has a torrid affair with Madonna...just think of the babies they could have made!
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:51 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weird Al doesn't play Al in this, Aaron Paul does.

Holy FUCK! I didn't even realize that was Pinkman!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:51 AM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


That gave me goosebumps.
posted by molecicco at 8:56 AM on March 23, 2010


I do believe that's Al playing the obligatory disbelieving record executive.
posted by jeffen at 8:57 AM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Olivia Wilde seems to do something every few weeks that improves my opinion of her. So congratulations, Olivia Wilde, you have now been upgraded to:

I would stop to see if you needed me to call AAA or something if I saw your car broke down by the side of the road.
from
I would swerve my car at you as a joke, but wouldn't feel too bad if I broke your leg or something by accident.

What a long, strange trip it's been, Olivia Wilde. You've come so far from Get This Rubberfaced Creature Off My TV and Burn It With Fire!. If only more interchangeable TV actresses had a tenth of your gumption and commitment to improvement.

(I'm looking at you, Summer Glau.)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:57 AM on March 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is this where we profess our undying love for Weird Al?

I think the first record I ever bought was Even Worse. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:59 AM on March 23, 2010


Gary Cole rocks

You mean Sheriff Buck? With a B? He sure does.
posted by theredpen at 9:00 AM on March 23, 2010


My favorite bit from the Weird Al Behind the Music is the anecdote about Al asking Kurt Cobain for permission to do a parody of "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Kurt gave his consent, unenthusiastically adding: "Is it going to be about food or something?" Al explained: "No, it's going to be about how nobody understands your lyrics." To which Kurt replied: "OK, that is funny."
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:02 AM on March 23, 2010 [20 favorites]


The only thing that trailer could use, in my opinion, is a splash of David Cross.
posted by theredpen at 9:02 AM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


That was great!
posted by brundlefly at 9:14 AM on March 23, 2010


KGMoney: VH1 did do a real "Behind the Music" on Weird Al. It was kind of boring, because there was no dirt to dig up on him.

Yeah, and he made a point of saying that his life was extremely normal. The only dirt was that he had a dip in his career during the "Bad Hair Day" years. BTM, before the commercial break: "Coming Up: Al's career goes into decline." Cut to Al, who's sort of crying: "And I had to buy the MEDIUM-sized jacuzzi!" Love love love Al.
posted by Melismata at 9:18 AM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I remember buying weird al cassettes as a kid and listening to them having never heard the songs they were meant to parody but loving them all the same just for being silly. There was some song were the lyrics discussed bathing in perrier. I had to ask my mom what that was and why it was funny.
posted by lucasks at 9:18 AM on March 23, 2010


Between seeing this trailer in the morning and watching his 1984 performance on Japanese TV yesterday night, I think I have hit my Weird quota for the week.
posted by Monster_Zero at 9:20 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weird Al's a dude. I remember a few years back he issued this statement after both his parents died. He also went on to play a show almost immediately after learning of the news. I can't even imagine.
posted by gman at 9:22 AM on March 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is this where we profess our undying love for Weird Al?

YES

A few months back, I was able to see Weird Al play on the Jimmy Fallon show! I didn't think my adulthood would ever involve asking my boss for the afternoon off so I could go see my childhood idol, but life has a way of surprising us, I guess.

After we sat through the requisite hour of Jimmy Fallon, the ushers herded the Weird Al fans up to the stage, and put us on these risers on either side of his band. As we walked back there, Alec Baldwin (who was presumably in the building for a filming of 30 Rock) came in to shake the hand of Hulk Hogan, who was one of that night's guests. Being six feet away from Alec Baldwin greeting Hulk Hogan while walking toward Weird Al was one of those odd moments where I wondered if maybe I'd finally just retreated into my own psyche, and had abandoned reality entirely.

So we all go up to the risers, and we're standing there nervously, shuffling our feet, and Weird Al comes out and sees us. And in an effort to get us to move around excitedly during the song, he ebulliently says, "Okay, when the music starts, I need you guys to just GO NUTS!" and we all murmur our assent. And then there's a slight pause, and the guy behind me tries to pipe up -- in a voice that I think was supposed to sound super-enthusiastic but cracked due to his evident anxiety -- "I'm going a little nuts right now." And then there was another slightly awkward pause.

Anyway, here's the video; I'm the guy goonishly boppin' his head, closest to the band on the upper right. You can't really tell in that video, but I'm wearing my nicest Hawaiian shirt underneath my suit jacket.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:26 AM on March 23, 2010 [31 favorites]


gman: "He also went on to play a show almost immediately after learning of the news. I can't even imagine."

His show the day after it happened was in North Dakota. My brother was there. He said the only difference was that there was an "In loving memory" slide at the beginning, before he came out onstage.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:28 AM on March 23, 2010


six feet away from Alec Baldwin greeting Hulk Hogan while walking toward Weird Al

I am in reasonably good health, but this would have almost certainly caused me to have some kind of life-altering cardiovascular episode.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:32 AM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Was that Sevan Najarian?!
posted by kenko at 9:33 AM on March 23, 2010


Alec Baldwin and Hulk Hogan need to do a buddy cop movie together.

Hogan would be the uptight, by-the-book cop, while Baldwin would be the alcoholic loose cannon.
posted by brundlefly at 9:38 AM on March 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Man, greg_nog is like 9 feet tall.
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 AM on March 23, 2010


I'm not! Everyone else was just short, apparently!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:42 AM on March 23, 2010


Is this where I get to tell you guys that my first concert was Weird Al
opening for the Monkees? I'm pretty proud of that.
posted by Brainy at 9:42 AM on March 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Stop going on Hobbit night. You're gonna hurt someone.
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 AM on March 23, 2010


OMG me too Brainy!!! :) He sang all sorts of greatness, including a medley with "I Feel Like Throwing Up..."
posted by Melismata at 9:56 AM on March 23, 2010


Is this where we profess our undying love for Weird Al?

YES


He tends to do Summerfest, one of Wisconsin's big outdoor music festivals, so I've seen him, probably a half dozen times or more. And as someone who's been to a lot of concerts, I can honestly say that Weird Al has got to be one of the hardest working people in music.

His shows are always amazing, there is no sense that it's all a joke, he's seriously putting on one of the best performances you're going to see that day. Add to that, the fact that, his band is made up of amazingly talented individuals, capable of performing nearly any musical style with great skill, and you are just bound to be blown away at any viewing.

Olivia Wilde seems to do something every few weeks that improves my opinion of her.

I had no idea who she was until just this last year or so, but she's quickly becoming the Megan-Fox-that-it's-ok-to-like for me. I've seen her in a handful of things now, and each time I'm more impressed.
posted by quin at 9:56 AM on March 23, 2010


Truly Weird: The Frankie Yankovic Story
posted by Faze at 9:59 AM on March 23, 2010


I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead is every bit as relevant today though the 70s be gone lo these 30 years.
posted by whuppy at 9:59 AM on March 23, 2010


On the content side, I'd watch the shit out of that movie, but I think they blew an opportunity by going with "alcoholic" instead of something more, well, Weird Al to be addicted to. Fun Dip or something. I get the "Al-coholic" joke, but it just seemed kinda easy.

On the share-the-love side, my last year of university involved an internship at now-defunct Attic Records in Toronto; they, among other things, were the distributors of now-defunct Scotti Bros. records in Canada, and therefore the Weird Al gatekeepers for the entire nation. They also distro'ed Metal Blade, Mammoth, and a bunch of other labels, which resulted in weird juxtapositions like spending an afternoon alternating between writing a bio for Deicide while sending out mailers of Alapalooza and dubbing a hundred copies of the video for Type O Negative's "Black No. 1" using two retail VCRs wired together.

The highlight of that year was backstage passes to a Weird Al show. I bought a copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra for him to sign, which he did when everyone was just kind of hanging out after the show. Best live band I've ever seen in my life; Al himself was a really nice, quiet, calm guy -- really pleasant but totally unflappable and not what I, a relatively young kid without much knowledge of what it takes to be "on" all the time as a public persona, was expecting. At the time, it was kind of a letdown for me, but in retrospect I think getting to hang out with an intelligent, considerate guy whose trod-on ground I worshipped was probably better than hanging out with a manic dude that would honk my nose or whatever the hell I thought should happen.

He mentioned the Thus Spoke Zarathustra thing a few years later in an interview I read where somebody asked him what the best things he ever was asked to sign were. That made my day. I still have it sitting on my shelf at home, and always put it in the same relative position (leftmost bookshelf, third shelf up, far right on shelf) every time I move so I know where to grab it if there's ever a fire.
posted by Shepherd at 10:04 AM on March 23, 2010 [15 favorites]


One of my stranger musical finds in recent memory: Laura Barrett's somber kalimba cover of "Smells Like Nirvana". Yep, a straight-faced interpretation of a silly parody of a serious song. Still trying to wrap my mind around that one.
posted by naju at 10:08 AM on March 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Brainy & Melismata: I also saw Weird Al opening for the Monkees! I was in 5th grade, they played at Astroworld in Houston, TX. Yay!
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:10 AM on March 23, 2010


I think the first record I ever bought was Even Worse. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I'll tell you how I feel about that... very very old.

Weird Al opening for the Monkees?

That's a better match than their 1967 tour when Jimi Hendrix opened for them, I think.

Seriously, if you like Weird Al and you haven't seen him live, GO! See him once before either you or he dies. His shows are tight, well-performed stage music masterpieces, played by one of the most versatile bands around today. I saw him several times back in the mid-80s (he used to play Ft. Bliss, El Paso frequently), and then again about 7 years ago, and he's refined his craft even more since then, I'm sure.

I had heard that Al was doing another movie, and that it wasn't a sequel to UHF. Sadly, it doesn't look like this is actually that new movie. There is no mention of it in IMDb anyplace. *sigh* This actually looks like it would be one hell of a movie, but it isn't real!
posted by hippybear at 10:19 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I worked a Weird Al show at SCSU in Minnesota back when I was in high school. Talking to the tech crew afterwards, it sounded like he had one of the highest-dollar touring shows they had seen in a long time. All computer-controlled, all shiny and new. Fantastic show, with an interesting mix of people in the audience.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:19 AM on March 23, 2010


I’ve enjoyed Al’s music since the very beginning; I heard some of the first recordings originally on the Dr. Demento show. Then he released Eat It and he became somewhat of a household name. I’ve liked everything I’ve ever heard. Still, I always kind of brushed him off as a novelty act. I never bought an album and never listened to anything besides what MTV or Dr. Demento played.

Recently though, in trying to find new ways to feed my son’s Star Wars addiction, I downloaded The Saga Begins and Yoda. After my son listened and enjoyed these, I bought The Essential Weird Al and pretty much everything on it blew me away. I’ve always known that Al was considered to be somewhat of a musical genius but I never before experienced that first hand. He really is amazing and I’m glad to say I’ve finally learned to give Al the full respect he deserves.

Another thing about Al’s music is it’s a good way to introduce kids to some classic music as well as the concept of parody. First they get into the Al version, then you play the song that’s being parodied and it opens up all sorts of discussion about the original song and what Al did to it.

For what it’s worth, my son thinks American Pie is “meh”, but The Saga Begins, oh man. Now that’s a work of art.
posted by bondcliff at 10:27 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


My first concert was Weird Al when I was nine. I went with my best friend, Sam and my mom. It was one of the best nights of my life. We went to Denny's for sundaes after and it was suuuuuper late.

It was also awesome because I had written and voice acted a commercial FOR THAT VERY CONCERT on KidStar Radio. This is that part of the Weird Al thread where I offer a great reward for any internet detective that can find a recording of that Radio Ad. It aired around 1993, the promo was largely based around his "Achy Breaky Song" parody that had just came out.
posted by piratebowling at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ha! Awesome.

Have never seen him perform live before, and I just bought tickets to see him when he hits town on tour in June. Really looking forward to it.
posted by zarq at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2010


His Youtube channel has a bunch of videos and interviews.
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on March 23, 2010


Weird Al was the first concert I ever saw. I think I was 9. This was on the Alapalooza tour, and my dad took a friend and I to the PNE Forum in Vancouver. A crowd of about 20 punks were going to the show. They were super nice to my friend and I, asked if it was our first concert, and generally made us feel cool.

There are still songs where I know the Yankovic verses better than the original ones.
posted by awenner at 10:43 AM on March 23, 2010


Teal and Orange. God damn it.
posted by lore at 10:57 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll tell you how I feel about that... very very old.

Actually, this was probably the first record I bought. That probably doesn't make you feel any less old.

Al really does hold a special place in my heart. I've said it on MeFiMu before, but a large part of the way I think about music, and pop music in particular, comes from listening to, and "getting," Weird Al when I was a kid.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:02 AM on March 23, 2010


Walk Hard was better
posted by A189Nut at 11:03 AM on March 23, 2010


Also sometimes I wonder what Patton Oswalt does all day

Makes awesome movies that remind you of DeNiro in Taxi Driver.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:04 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw Weird Al in a National Park amphitheater two days after my 21st birthday. There were large, park service beers involved. (Those of you who lived in DC in the early 90s...you know the ones I mean. The big ones.)

The show was only about half sold out, so I was sitting front-and-center. Al came out into the audience and actually put his arm around me and sang to me during "One More Minute".

It's all been sort of downhill ever since.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:22 AM on March 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I remember a few years back he issued this statement after both his parents died. He also went on to play a show almost immediately after learning of the news.

Man, I thought he had a hard enough time when he played a show here in Seattle just a few days after Kurt Cobain's death. About halfway through the set, the lights were dimmed, and in the dark, Al said simply, "this performance is dedicated to the memory of Kurt Cobain." The lights came up and he launched into "Smells Like Nirvana." Expertly handled, I thought.
posted by mgrichmond at 11:31 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Weird Al Effect: When a parody remains popular after the original works being parodied are no longer known to the audience.

Use it on kids! It's fun!
posted by Pronoiac at 11:38 AM on March 23, 2010


This whole thread is just making the inside of my soul glow with pleasure. Weird Al is a gem, and for those who haven't heard it, his "Peter and the Wolf", with father/mother of electronic music, Wendy Carlos, is an amazing thing. I was lucky enough to grab it while it was in print - it's now a total collectors item. I also saw Al in concert in Marin County Civic Center back in October 1999, the show was taped and was released on DVD, and yes, the whole thing just rawked.
posted by dbiedny at 11:42 AM on March 23, 2010


It should also be remarked that while his parodies are the work of a twisted genius, his original stuff is also just, flat out, awesome. For those that have only experienced him by way of his singles, check out some of the original works. You will be impressed.
posted by quin at 11:46 AM on March 23, 2010


My first concert was also Weird Al & The Monkees. I've since seen many, many shows, but that remains one of the best.

My five year old daughter has Weird Al's complete video collection on my old iPhone she carries around with her.

As a family, we watched UHF together on Christmas Day.

Yeah, we're also Al-coholics.
posted by ewagoner at 12:19 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. The first album I ever bought was Weird Al's "In 3-D".
2. I would so see the crap out of that movie if it was real.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:19 PM on March 23, 2010


The man is a living deity to the chronically silly -- thanks for the post...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:20 PM on March 23, 2010


Damn That Television: Also sometimes I wonder what Patton Oswalt does all day.

He stares.

I didn't recognize him or Olivia Wilde - cool!
posted by Pronoiac at 12:36 PM on March 23, 2010


Back to the content -- Who is the assistant to the record exec (played by Al)? He looks really familiar but I can't get a good enough view.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:37 PM on March 23, 2010


Weird Al was not my first concert (that honor goes to Hall & Oates, and Corey Hart opened), but he was my second. It was the Dare To Be Stupid tour, and I freaking loved it.

I still remembered being deeply disappointed the day I learned that Frank Yankovic was not, in fact, related to Monsieur Al.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:41 PM on March 23, 2010


Saxon Kane: I'm pretty sure that's Brian Huskey. If you're American you may recognize him from a long series of Sonic commercials.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:12 PM on March 23, 2010


Whenever I think of Weird Al now, I think of that threesome with Emo Philips that never was.
posted by yeti at 3:03 PM on March 23, 2010


Meant to link to the comment. Damn 3 minute editing window (that also never was!)
posted by yeti at 3:04 PM on March 23, 2010


If you have no love for Al, then I never want to have anything to do with you.
posted by cerulgalactus at 3:15 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I met Weird Al at LaGuardia Airport when I was thirteen. One of the nicest celebs I've ever met. he signed autographs both for me and my Uncle Geno in Illinois, who I was visiting.
posted by jonmc at 5:17 PM on March 23, 2010


I just sent this to robocop is bleeding via MeFi mail, but since more than a few have mentioned Olivia Wilde here, I figured why not share:

If you want to up your opinion of Olivia Wilde even more, check out her twitter account.

Some goodies:

Very hot. if you see me swimming in a public fountain, or puddle, just pretend it's normal.

it took everything i had not to steal this goat. http://twitpic.com/1a3bnr now i know why they only let kids in the petting zoo. dangerous.

Thanks for the B Day wishes! I'm one lucky girl. But really, shouldnt we be congratulating my mom? my head is huge. it couldnt've been easy.

Presenting at Indie Spirits tonight with the amazing John Waters. Eddie Izzard is hosting. If he wears the same dress as me, i SWEAR TO GOD...

If they really wanted high school students to study History, they should call the text book "Crazy Shit That Really Happened"
posted by tzikeh at 5:20 PM on March 23, 2010


Oh, ffs. Three minute editing window, where are you -

Olivia Wilde's twitter account.
posted by tzikeh at 5:21 PM on March 23, 2010


Thanks, MeFi. I had no idea there was so much to know about Weird Al.
posted by acrasis at 5:43 PM on March 23, 2010


What was the significance of the elaborate gesture of Olivia waving her hands over her face after she threw the object? Is that a "famous" gesture of Madonna's? If so, where from?
posted by The Confessor at 5:48 PM on March 23, 2010


I gotta say I love Weird Al. I still think that "Yoda" is better than "Lola".
posted by Vindaloo at 8:08 PM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love weird Al. I loved his stage appearance with the Presidents singing "More than a Feeling" even though all I've seen and heard is ultra crappy cell phone video.

PUSA and Weird Al. together would be a show I'd travel a fair distance to see.
posted by maxwelton at 8:18 PM on March 23, 2010


What was the significance of the elaborate gesture of Olivia waving her hands over her face after she threw the object? Is that a "famous" gesture of Madonna's? If so, where from?

Vogue
posted by various at 8:26 PM on March 23, 2010


The Weird Al Effect: When a parody remains popular after the original works being parodied are no longer known to the audience.

I thought that was the Tom Lehrer effect. As a teen, my friends and I made some serious pre-internet efforts to find out who Alma was. And MLF too.
posted by Melismata at 9:45 PM on March 23, 2010


This is just my opportunity to post a link to Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung
posted by destro at 10:18 PM on March 23, 2010


My interest in all things Weird Al probably lasted from about 1984-1986. However, one of the highlights during that time was when he "took over" MTV for a day or so. It was pretty awesome because in addition to having Weird Al as a vj, the videos he played were pretty deep cuts from the video catalog.

I also ordered the Al TV t-shirt which was in my proud possession for years until it was lost in the sands of time.

Youtube video of Al manically peddling his t-shirt on Al TV.
posted by jeremias at 5:02 AM on March 24, 2010


I thought that was the Tom Lehrer effect. As a teen, my friends and I made some serious pre-internet efforts to find out who Alma was. And MLF too.

Hear, hear. I need to dig up some links for a proper Lehrer FPP.
posted by grubi at 7:07 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]



Between seeing this trailer in the morning and watching his 1984 performance on Japanese TV yesterday night, I think I have hit my Weird quota for the week.
posted by Monster_Zero at 9:20 AM on March 23 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


This is awesome! The look on his face through the whole thing is priceless - what a surreal experience that must have been.

I wish there were subtitles to English.
Can anyone tell us the general gist of what the Japanese hosts are saying at the beginning of this?
posted by smartypantz at 9:14 AM on March 24, 2010


Brainy, Melismata, Saxon Kane, ewagoner: That was my first proper Rock Concert too! I'm astonished by how much I remember about it. We should have a secret sign or something.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:36 AM on March 30, 2010


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